Sunday, 4 October 2020

Late September sessions

Skylarks end of Holme Pierrepont - Monday 21 September

The weather was calm with very little breeze but with clear skies. The catching rate was ok to start but soon dropped as the sun got higher. It was just Gary and me and we and finished with a catch of 43 including 7 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Robin 3/2, Dunnock 3/0, Chiffchaff 8/1, Blackcap 16/0, Reed Warbler 1/1, Cetti’s Warbler 0/2, Blue Tit 3/0, Lesser Redpoll 1/0, Bullfinch 0/1, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retrap was a Bullfinch from 2018. A much reduced, but not surprising, catch of warblers as we head further into autumn.

Skylarks end of Holme Pierrepont - Monday 28 September

The weather was calm and bright with sunny spells. The team was Gary, Duncan and me. Catching rate of warblers was quite slow as you would expect at this time of year and at this site, but then we found 10 Lesser Redpoll in the nets and decided at about 0900 to switch one of the MP3 players from warbler calls to Lesser Redpoll. This resulted in another 75 Lesser Redpoll being caught, including one ringed 6 days earlier in Yorkshire and a Siskin. We finished with a total catch of 120 including 6 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Robin 0/2, Dunnock 2/0, Wren 2/0, Chiffchaff 7/2, Blackcap 10/0, Reed Warbler 1/0, Coal Tit 0/1, Blue Tit 2/0, Great Tit 2/0, Lesser Redpoll 84/1, Siskin 1/0, Bullfinch 1/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retrap was a Robin from 2019. The Coal Tit is very interesting as we have not caught one at this site before, or at least since records were computerised in 1996, so to catch one with a ring on was a surprise. Even more intriguing was the fact that it was wearing a ring from an old sequence of A rings and no data has yet been submitted to the BTO for this ring – and it was a bird of the year with 3 old greater coverts (the ring and age confirmed by both Gary and me). We await a report from the BTO once they have chased up the ringer for the ringing details. I mentioned the catch of Lesser Redpoll to Mick P as he was going out to his site at Bestwood the next day. He said he would take his Lesser Redpoll sound lure and subsequently caught 53 and had to switch his player off a couple of times to keep numbers manageable. We thought this would be our last visit of the year here and we did bring back all the poles and guys, but if we get a suitably calm day in the coming days we may venture back with a couple of nets and MP3 players to see if the Lesser Redpolls are still around!

We have been restricted to the Skylarks end of Holme Pierrepont all summer because the car park at the rowing centre that we use to access the Grange end has been either shut during lockdown or opened too late in the morning. It struck me that some of our warbler numbers seemed high and some low this year so I looked on Demon at catches of new birds in the same period over the last three years just at the Skylarks end. Roughly the same number of visits each year, not exactly the same - but not different enough to make some of the significant changes shown below.

The good:
Chiffchaff - 522% increase on 2018 – 213% increase on 2019.
Willow Warbler - 36% increase on 2018 – 44% increase on 2019.

The bad:
Garden Warbler – 35% decrease on 2018 – 31% increase on 2019.

and the ugly:
Lesser Whitethroat – 41% decrease on 2018 in both 2019 and 2020.
Sedge Warbler - 82% decrease on 2018 – 77% decrease on 2019.

Blackcap, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler numbers were similar each year.


Redpoll & Siskin (K. Hemsley)