Saturday, 11 July 2009

Holme Pierrepont - 11 July

Well, our purple patch continues. Near perfect conditions once again and young birds were everywhere. We met at 0600h and packed up at 1300h having processed 142 birds. It's satisfying to have sights like this when it's gone 10 in the morning:
Blackcaps and Reed Warblers continued to dominate the catch but both Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler fledglings started to appear, the latter getting into double figures. Here are young Common and Lesser Whitethroats, both undergoing post-juvenile moult already:
We are still catching the occasional unringed adult Reed Warbler. Whether such birds have been here for a while and somehow managed to evade the nets or they are wandering failed breeders, or even possibly very late arrivals, who knows? Below are two adult Reed Warblers showing extremes of coloration (yes, notch, emargination and wing length all checked...). The right hand bird is, in our experience, more typical, being more cold greyish-brown and faded and the left hand bird seems to have retained the warmer brown of a fresher bird (seen now in the juveniles).
OK - so perhaps it's not that obvious here, but it was fairly striking in the flesh...
We caught the first decent tit flocks of the season but remarkably in the last three weeks of enormous catches we have not caught a single Long-tailed Tit. We hear a few around, but you have to wonder whether they have had a poor year. We'll have to wait and see. Perhaps we'll catch 50 next week.
Lots of birds are beginning to moult now and you wonder how some can even fly enough to find their way into the nets.
Little chance for birding again, but a Curlew was heard. Butterfly numbers have increased steadily and both Ringlets and Gatekeepers were present in good numbers. Here's one of the latter:
Brown Hawkers were also much more in evidence:
And there are still tiny toads wherever you walk in and around the reedbeds:
More soon. Pete

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