Sunday, 14 October 2018

Wilstone - Bounteous Blackcap Bonanza

Wilstone Reservoir - September 2018



New
Retrap
total
Blackbird
1
2
3
Blackcap
259
38
297
Blue Tit
12
13
25
Cettis warbler

1
1
Chaffinch
2
2
2
Chiffchaff
56
8
64
Dunnock
9
1
10
Goldcrest
3

3
Great Tit
2
8
10
Kingfisher
5

5
Long Tailed Tit
7
5
12
Meadow Pipit
4

4
Reed Warbler
60
23
83
Robin
10
6
16
Sedge Warbler
7

7
Sparrowhawk
1

1
Spotted Flycatcher
3

3
Whitethroat
3

3
Willow Warbler
14
2
16
Wren
9
6
15




Total
490
117
607



Four visits were made to Wilstone during September, two were calm and pleasant and two were annoyingly breezy.

Nevertheless, we had a very good number of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Reed Warblers. The month's total of newly ringed Blackcaps surpassed the annual totals of the two previous years. So far this year the total is 452 new and 16 retraps, last year it was 296 and in 2016 it was 216.

Why so many Blackcaps? The Elder trees are not particularly bountiful this Autumn and having taken out the mature trees between net ride four and five, I was expecting less rather than more captures in this first year. So, there just were more birds passing through at an opportune time, I guess.

Three Spotted Flycatchers and a male Sparrowhawk were probably the birds of the month but four Kingfishers together in the same net took some beating.

Johne 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Marsworth - 2nd September 2018 - Pied Fly Surprise

Nets: 240'
Tapes: Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit
Ringers: LL, MCC, PN


New
Retraps
Total
Dunnock
1

1
Chiffchaff
4
1
5
Willow Warbler
4

4
Reed Warbler
1

1
Blackcap
44
6
50
Blue Tit
2

2
Lesser Whitethroat
1

1
Pied Flycatcher
1

1
Wren
1

1
Robin
1
2
3
Goldcrest

1
1
Lotti

2
2
Bullfinch
1

1

61
12
73

Mike and I went to Marsworth with new (soon to be) trainee on their first taster session. It was the first day of being able to use tapes after finishing the CES ringing on Friday and we only put up four nets. It is clear that Blackcaps have had a good breeding season and the tape lures work...Luckily, our new member proved very capable and got stuck-in scribing - not usually a job for a beginner!!
A bird in net 4 caught my eye, brown with a white wing-bar, chaffinch? No! Pied Flycatcher, excellent!! A first for Marsworth. We aged it as a juvenile from the way the white on the tertials forms a step at the shaft. Svensson says the juvenile greater coverts should have large white tips often forming wedges or steps. Our bird had some inner GC's which matched the description although the outer ones were more buffy.  Svensson also says that it is possible to determine the sex of a few first year males from the black 1st - 3rd tail feathers and jet-black longest upper tail coverts and we felt ours were sufficiently black to sex it as a male.
Pied Flycatcher
Black upper tail coverts


White goes up the shaft on the tertials and inner GC

Lesser Whitethroat
We finished with 50 Blackcaps and it was notable that they were all juveniles and fairly low weights and only a small percentage were carrying any fat. We only caught one Reed Warbler which was strange but possibly due to much of the reed having collapsed in the heavy rain a couple of weeks ago. Three of the Chiffchaff were quite young and only just starting post-juvenile moult. We also caught a Lesser Whitethroat which appeared to have changed one outer tail feather, showing a nice contrast between the juvenile and adult type feathers.
Lesser Whitethroat

















Friday, 7 September 2018

Wilstone - 2nd September 2018





New
Retrap
Total
Blackbird
1
1
2
Blackcap
98
2
100
Blue Tit
7
1
8
Cettis warbler

1
1
Chaffinch
1

1
Chiffchaff
8

8
Dunnock
4

4
Goldcrest
2

2
Goldfinch
1

1
Great Tit

4
4
Kingfisher
5

5
Long Tailed Tit
2
2
4
Reed Warbler
32
7
39
Robin
4
1
5
Sedge Warbler
13

13
Spotted Flycatcher
2

2
Whitethroat
2

2
Willow Warbler
9

9
Wren
3
1
4




Total
192
20
212



A lovely calm early September morning. We got most of the nets up just before it got light. The first round of a half a dozen birds was followed by a second of considerably more and they just kept coming resulting in a catch of 212 birds in all.
One adult Blue tit and 211 juveniles. We tried to make some of the Willow Warblers into adults, but no, all juveniles! 
100 Blackcaps of which only two were retraps shows that a passage of birds is underway. Two Spotted  Flycatchers were very welcome as were five juvenile Kingfishers, four of which together in the same net.The female Cetti's Warbler ringed at the beginning of August was recaptured in net 8, which is hopeful for next year.
A couple of very noisy Hobbies occupied the cherry trees at net 1 all morning and a Green Sandpiper made a brief appearance over the reed bed too. Because of the calm, balmy conditions hirundine numbers were low, so no repeat of last week.
Early on we broadcast Tree Pipit song at net 1, nothing ventured nothing gained...
Johne



Photos by Ed