This is foreseen to be an occasional blog relating to bird ringing at Abbotsbury Swannery. The site has operated as a BTO Constant Effort Site since 1995 and has taken part in the BTO Swallow Roost Project. In recent years we have concentrated in the autumn with both Yellow and Pied/White Wagtails. In 2009 we joined the Woodcock Network.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Swannery update

Over the past two days habitat management at the CES site has taken place.  The most important  side of this is the regular coppicing of the withy bed.  Important to keep the vegetation height down - nothing over three metres and also to prolong the life of the sallow and willow stools.  A further beneift is the flooding of light  into the ground around the stools which promotes plant growth and provides opportunities for nesting birds.

Coppiced sallow and willow stools

To further enhance the condition of the reed beds certain areas of reed have been cut by the Swannery staff. This promotes good healthy new growth. Some years the reed is burnt after cutting and this removes all the rubbish at the base of the reed bed and helps maintain a good healthy environment.

Recently cleared reed bed

Of course during all this work the nets were opened where they could be.  The first Chiffchaffs have been trapped for the year and also a few odds and ends.  Just on finishing a Blue Tit was extracted from the net-  a fine male with an interesting plumage variation. Clearly it had been visiting nearby daffodil flowers.

The first Chiffchaff of the year

During the coppicing considerable evidence was found of the presence of the Lunar Hornet Clearwing moth. In one instance the saw just missed this larva stage

Lunar Hornet Clearwing larva in situ

Whilst working on another stool a fabulous excavation was seen

Larva excavation

Over the next few days the CES site will be brought back to  optimum conditions with the usual annual  management.  Then we will be ready for the returning Reed and Sedge Warblers in the reeds and the more usual fare in the withy bed.