Saturday 27 May 2017

Attenborough Sand Martin Colony, Thursday 25 May

The first broods of Sand Martins have left their nests at Attenborough so I decided to make the first attempt at catching adults with the new mono-filament net. Phil, Pete S and I set the new and very fragile net in perfectly calm conditions and retired into the hide. We knew we would only be likely catch any number of birds at face’s B and C as face A had been affected by a leaking roof over the winter and there was only one active nest in it. We did have perfectly still conditions but the sun was out fully from the start so to end with a catch of 54 Sand Martins (including 24 recaptures), which is nearly as many as we had in 3 visits last year, suggests the new net is making a difference. Even better, 45 of them were adults including returning adults and pulli from 2016, 1 pullus from 2015 and a bird originally ringed at Redhill Marina in 2014 that was also caught at Attenborough in 2016. The French connection with the colony continued this year with the capture of another French ringed bird. The 9 retrap juveniles were all birds recently fledged from this colony.


Sunday 21 May 2017

Attenborough CES Visit 3 - Sunday 21 May

The third CES visit of the season to Attenborough was carried out on Sunday by Duncan, Gary, Sue, Alex, Jake and I. We were also joined by Trish Horlock. Much better weather than last week meant we could get the nets set immediately. It stayed relatively calm and mostly sunny throughout the morning. However, the better weather did not result in a better catch. It was quiet all morning and we ended with 29 birds (21 new/8 retrap) comprising: Great-spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Wren 2/1, Dunnock 3/1, Robin 1/0, Blackcap 4/2, Chiffchaff 2/1, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Great Tit 1/0, Treecreeper 0/2, Bullfinch 5/1. The oldest retrap was a Dunnock from 2015.


 CES nets (S. Lakeman)

Cetti's Warbler (A. Phillips)

Monday 15 May 2017

Attenborough CES Visit 2 - Sunday 14 May

The second CES visit of the season was carried out on Sunday by Duncan, Gary, Sue and I. The morning started overcast with rain but we continued down to the site as the rain was forecast to stop. We waited in the rain until 0635 when it did stop and then put up the nets. The skies soon cleared to blue with a light breeze. 
The catch was slower than last week. We ended with 36 captures (22 new/14 retrap) made up of: Magpie 1/0, Blackbird 3/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Dunnock 1/2, Robin 1/2, Blackcap 3/1, Chiffchaff 1/2, Blue Tit 3/1, Great Tit 0/5, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Treecreeper 1/1, Bullfinch 4/0, Greenfinch 2/0. 
The Greenfinches were only the fifth and sixth ever caught on our CES visits. The oldest retrap was a Dunnock from 2012.

 Blue Tit and Magpie (S. Lakeman)

Monday 8 May 2017

Attenborough CES Visit 1 - Sunday 7 May

The first CES visit of the season was carried out on Sunday by Alex, Duncan, Gary, Jake and I. We were also joined by Nigel Bosworth later. The morning started overcast with a breeze but the clouds started to break and the breeze dropped. The catch was steady throughout the morning and the highlights were a retrap Jay (that was originally ringed on the first CES session last year) and the first juvenile birds of the season: a couple of Robins and a Long-tailed Tit. 
Total catch was (new/retrap) 41/7 made up of: Jay 0/1, Blackbird 1/0, Dunnock 6/1, Wren 2/2, Robin 5/0, Blackcap 4/0, Chiffchaff 4/1, Willow Warbler 2/0, Reed Warbler 1/0, Sedge Warbler 2/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Great Tit 5/1, Long-tailed Tit 1/1, Treecreeper 3/0, Bullfinch 4/0. 
This was a really good start to the CES season, let’s hope it continues in the future visits. The Willow Warblers were the first caught on the CES since 2013 and the Sedge Warblers the first since 2012. The oldest retrap was a Wren from 2015. We also ringed a couple of Tawny Owl chicks in one of the boxes.

 Jay (K. Hemsley)