With thoughts of ringing this weekend, I've been checking out the forecast for this weekend since Thursday and it was constantly changing. By Friday night it looked like Saturday would be the better morning for ringing, dull with light westerlies, so I left home at 5am to set some nets up. When I pulled out of our street the wind turbines on the horizon were moving too quickly for my liking and it was glorious sunshine.
And so it was... bright and breezy with the wind out of the west. The worst conditions to ring at Druridge. I persevered, but gave up by 9am having only caught 6 birds.
Today was supposed to be bright and breezy again, but the wind was to be stronger and move more southerly. I didn't wake up until 7.30am (it had been a late night) and looked out of the window - still calm and overcast... I was at Druridge and nets up by 8am.
Despite the late start, I caught 20+ birds, mostly juvenile warblers.
There were two highlights. The first was catching a whitethroat that we first caught in July 2014 as an adult female - so the bird was at least five years old. Not a record by any means - the BTO record longevity record is seven years and nine months, but it does man that this little bird, weighing only 13 grams had crossed the Sarah desert at least eight times.
|Five year-old whitethroat
The second highlight was controlling ( this means catching a bird that has been ringed elsewhere) a reed warbler. We will have to wait to hear from BTO exactly where it was ringed. Reed warblers are a bit of a success story at Druridge. They started breeding in the little Phragmites reedbed in the south-east corner of the big pool about six years ago with one pair, before that they were a passage migrant.This year we have already ringed six breeding males and three females and today, our first juvenile of the year.
|Controlled reed warbler
Offshore, a good flock of common scoter has built up in the bay, numbering up to a thousand. They were dispersed into several smaller groups on Friday, here are some of them...
|Some of the 1000 common scoter in the bay at the moment
On the Budge fields there were two wood sandpipers, a little ringed plover and 15 black-tailed godwits. These waders were joined by a whooper swan on Saturday that has been knocking about on the bay. A water rail was calling from the corner of the big pool this morning and a few whimbrels were in the silage fields with the curlews
Ian Fisher and I have been checking the egrets and herons in the shelterbelt this year, we did our final check tonight but I'll write about the outcomes next time.