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.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

They're back!

After getting concerned about the lack of Yellow Wagtals at the site- only 2 observed till start of this week last night  the nets were set for a roost and 9 were caught from about the 30 birds present along with a good number of Swallows and odds and ends in the withy bed.. We were joined by  a member of the Axe Estuary Ringing Group who wanted some experience with roost ringing ( and also the chance of yellow wagtails). Despite the light breeze the evening proved successful with two pied wagtails also caught and colour ringed. The Pied Wagtail roost is slowly building up now.

An early morning session at the end of last week was brought to  a sudden halt when from nowhere it rained. Just as things were picking up at 61 birds. The best bird was the first one out of the net at first light - a Grasshopper Warbler. Sedge Warbler fat scores usual for juvs at about 20 and the few adults caught heavy with 50.


Weather looks grim for this evening but end of the week looks promising with high pressure and low winds- at the moment anyway!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Not dead yet!

Luke apologies for a month off line I can only grovel for what must seem like an eternity. After the preparation of the site for CES the season kicked off very badly weatherwise and after a couple of aborted sessions I decided to pull the plug on CES this year.  The weather was dreadful week after week and the conditions underfoot in the reeds were up to the top of, and indeed over, the waders.  Not ideal ringing conditions and sinking in further each time you walked the net line.  The water is still top of wader height!

The decision to pull out this year was not taken lightly but for safety issues alone looking back it was the right decision,  However we are on track for completing the final 4 CES visits which can make a contribution to CES.  So we have moved the net to higher ground and carried on.  Reeds in water produce better catches so with the net out of the water but surrounded both sides we will see how the rest of the season goes

The repositioned net run

Two catches this month have been made to date but it is certain far fewer sedge warblers are about and nearly all the young sedge and reed warblers caught have growth bars on the tail.

Sedge Warblers are the bread and butter of Abbotsbury Swannery.

Adult Sedge Warbler

Last night we tried a test run for Swallow and Yellow Wagtail roosts. The nets seem in a good position and perfect reed height for a good catch. A very quick sample of 50 odd Swallows and 10 Sand Martins was enough and the nets shut down to avoid being swamped as over 700 Swallows were present. Ringing discipline essential on nights like that

A delightful Reed Bunting was caught this morning in moult. Attractive birds which I am still convinced have a moult pattern of their own!

Hopefully will be trying a few more roosts this week and mid week winds are south east. Aquatic time- have to catch up the guys in Cornwall!!