Owing to a big event being held at the Water Sports Centre last weekend we went for a midweek session at Holme Pierrepont this week. Duncan, Gary and I set all but one of the usual nets under a grey sky with a light breeze blowing. The site and particularly the reed beds sounded quiet. Catching was steady but not spectacular and the breeze increased during the session but we ended on 56 (45 new/11 retrap) made up of: Blackbird 1/1, Dunnock 1/1, Wren 3/0, Robin 5/0, Blackcap 8/1, Garden Warbler 5/1, Whitethroat 2/1, Reed Warbler 4/2, Sedge Warbler 2/0, Chiffchaff 1/0, Willow Warbler 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/1, Blue Tit 5/2, Great Tit 3/1, Bullfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 2/0. The oldest retraps was a Blackbird from 2009, which we had not seen again until today.
We were pondering on what was missing and having had a quick look at the last two years catches at this time of year and one from further back I came up with the following:
Today 56 birds, 28 of which were warblers (50%) and 57% of the warbler catch were juvs.
2014 94 birds, 61 of which were warblers (65%) and 75% of the warbler catch were juvs.
2013 88 birds, 53 of which were warblers (60%) and 66% of the warbler catch were juvs.
2009 140 birds, 101 of which were warblers (72%) and 80% of the warbler catch were juvs.
So not only did we catch less than other years but the number of warblers is well down on previous years and the percentage of warblers that were juvs was also down. Particularly noticeable was the lack of Reed Warblers, at this time of year they would normally make up 30-60% of the total catch but today it was just 10%.
Other birds around were Oystercatcher, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Cetti’s Warbler and a calling Cuckoo.