We started ringing at our spring sites a little earlier this year because of an early finish at the Sutton Bonington winter site (owing to a lack of birds). We also had a number of new trainees start and needed to catch some birds prior to the return of the warblers. So we had three pre-CES sessions at Attenborough in March and early April prior to opening up the site at Holme Pierrepont on 10 April.
The early sessions at Attenborough provided a nice range of species including a couple of Blackcaps and ten Chiffchaffs but the most surprising bird in one of the nets was a Mallard, even more surprising was we managed to get to it before it extracted itself and escaped – as is usual with such big birds in superfine mist nets.
After a few early sessions at Holme Pierrepont we then prepared to start the CES at Attenborough only to be thwarted by Avian Flu restrictions. This meant we missed the first session of the CES but thankfully restrictions were lifted and we managed to complete all following visits. No real surprises on the CES but it was nice to catch a couple of Garden Warblers again and find a Willow Warbler in the net on one of the sessions. Overall the catch rate was comparable to 2021.
The scrub site at Holme Pierrepont is quickly disappearing as the vegetation thickens and increases in height. This summer we had an overall catch just over 100 higher than last year but that was only because we made nearly twice as many visits! A quick look at a few species seems to show a much reduced catching rate for all warblers in particular Lesser Whitethroat, only one captured this year and a big drop in Willow Warbler numbers. A slight increase in numbers was shown by Garden Warblers and Cetti’s Warbler. Resident species captures seemed to compare well with last year the only notable difference being a nearly ten fold increase in Long-tailed Tit captures.
Our other summer site at Ramsdale Golf Club showed lower capture rates for Chiffchaff but slightly increased rates for Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat. Garden Warbler and Blackcap numbers were comparable with last year. Resident species captures here generally compared well with last year the only notable differences being large drops in the numbers of Blue and Great Tits. Notable captures were a Reed Warbler, only the third one at the site since we started there in 2015 and a Swallow, the first at the site since 2015.
The mist netting above was of course interspersed with the checking and ringing of Owl boxes, Common Terns, Cormorants and Herons. I also managed a little garden ringing resulting in the unexpected capture of three Stock Doves in a Potter trap.Kev Hemsley