Sunday, June 30th 2019
The first call this morning was not for a bird but a flower. Eleanor had spotted a Bee Orchid. To say that we were surprised is putting it mildly. This is the first ever Bee Orchid found on the reserve. How it has arrived where it has arrived will lead to much discussion.
After this excitement we returned to main event of the day, CES 6. It has been said before that bird ringing is not a numbers game, but the numbers caught do give indications of the populations of the species within the reserve. For several outings very few Bullfinches were seen, never mind caught but today 30 were newly ringed, which brings the total for the last few months to 121. I think from this we can assume they have had a good breeding season and are doing well.
Tawny Owls are usually ringed in the nest boxes, but there are always exceptions to the rule and over CES 5 and 6 we have processed three. Another call over the radio was to inform us that a female Sparrowhawk was in the net and would arrive shortly in the ringing room. Females are much bigger than males and tend to bounce out of the net. She is the only female caught in six years.
A juvenile Linnet received its ring and again it is the first for six years.
Redpolls can be seen in large numbers during the late winter but they then disperse for the breeding season. It was a surprise to see our first juvenile.
Careful planning between net rounds allowed the bird ringers to ring the Barn Owl chicks. As with all owls the eggs are brooded as soon as they are laid so the young hatch at different times. You can see that the eldest chick is beginning to show its feathers through the down, whilst the youngest is still covered in down. All four young were well fed, so the parents have been successful in finding plenty of food.
The vounteers had worked hard to ensure that the net rides were in perfect condition for CES 6. This was much appreciated by the bird ringers. Thank you also to John, Ken and Linda for their invaluable help during the day.