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28th April - Swindon STW

Due to our good efforts last night it was a relatively late start this morning, meeting at Swindon STW at 515. Just about the first bird heard was a reeling Grasshopper Warbler. The sky was grey and overcast but flat calm and after the fall at Portland yesterday we fancied our chances of a bit of an influx of migrants and so it proved as on the first round our nets had plenty of warblers in the bottom shelves including a remarkable 3 Grasshopper Warblers, a site record so lets hope that some stay to breed like they did last year. A Garden Warbler was the first for the year and is quite an early date considering that everything else is so late. Star bird of the day however was a Spanish ringed Sedge Warbler which made everyone’s day. We were all also delighted to hear that most welcome of summer sounds in the form of a Cuckoo that sadly did not grace our nets, and is now a site rarity. The temperature dropped and it became decidedly cold and birds stopped moving so we took nets down at about 11am when it started warming up and we caught a few more warblers in the last few nets. A few Swallows hawked over the lagoons and it would be great if they stayed to breed like they have for the past few years.
 3 Reed Buntings retrapped followed the same pattern as last week, with every capture being in the breeding season further justifying the view that they winter elsewhere; the oldest being four years old. The day also saw the first Reed Warblers of the year including an old friend back for its third year and a Whitethroat back for its fourth year.
 All in all, another excellent day of Spring migration with 56 ringed and 49 retrapped. MP,JN,PA,SW
Grasshopper Warbler 4, Sedge Warbler 14 (2), Reed Warbler 2 (1), Garden Warbler 1, Blackcap 5 (2), Whitethroat 7 (4), Willow Warbler 4, Chiffchaff 0 (1), Reed Bunting 2 (5), Chaffinch 3 (1), Lesser Redpoll 2 (1), Greenfinch 4 (2), Bullfinch 1 (3), Linnet 1, Blackbird 2 (2), Dunnock 0 (2), Robin 0 (2), Song Thrush 0 (1), Wren 0 (2), Long Tailed Tit 0 (2), Blue Tit 1 (5), Great Tit 3 (10), Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (1)
Wake up Jack.......ringing tick!
Jack sleeping-001

27th April 2013 - Kennet Valley

Paul, Jack, Olly and I comprised a good team lined up for another great session in the beautiful Kennet Valley, as one of the team said ‘it is a privilege just be here’. Nets were set with stunning efficiency and as day broke we were soon aware that the Redpoll flock was still present with many singing and they were hitting our feeders with fervour. Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were all conspicuous and the team were kept busy all morning with some really good work being done on ageing and sexing Redpolls. Mandarins were whizzing up and down the river and we can consider ourselves a bit unlucky not to have caught one. A female Barn Owl flying around at dawn, plenty of Swallows and a Swift helped the birding side of the morning.
We retrapped a pair of Marsh Tits and the female had a brood patch so it is good to see them breeding, but the lone Willow Tit that we retrapped was showing no signs of breeding activity. The Redpoll flock yielded more same winter retraps but also a bird ringed last winter and another control (ringed elsewhere).
The totals of 75 ringed and 39 retrapped made for another superb ‘spring’ morning ringing experience.
We met the river keeper on his rounds and he is always good value for a chat about the countryside and we passed him a big bundle of tree cuttings so that he can create yet more excellent habitat.
Most ringing groups would then probably go home or the odd person might slope off to let the others do the work but this bunch; We proceeded to Swindon STW and met Simon and we set 12 nets ready for the morning. MP/PA/JN/OF
Lesser Redpoll 31 (8), Chaffinch 12  (6), Siskin 1, Goldfinch 2, Blackcap 5, Willow Warbler 5 (2), Chiffchaff 2, Whitethroat 1, Great Tit 5 (9), Blue Tit 2 (2), Willow Tit (1), Marsh Tit (2), Coal Tit 1, Long Tailed Tit (3), Dunnock 1 (3), Blackbird 3, Nuthatch (1), Wren (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)

25th April 2013 - Nightingale Wood.

A bonus mid-week session today with mostly the same net set as Sunday. While setting the nets a Grasshopper Warbler started singing and was quickly encoraged into becoming the first customer of the morning. The second bird of the morning, a control Blackcap Y477147 kept the good start going. Most of the Willow Warbler's that were around at the weekend appear to have moved on but there were still plenty of Blackcap's, with birds singing from almost every bush. Three Sedge Warbler's were singing from the reedbed, the first of the spring and two Lesser Whitethroat's were singing from the hedgerows. Not too many birds caught, but a nice easy paced morning of coffee and biscuits in the sunshine. GD/OF

Wren (2), Grasshopper Warbler 1, Sedge Warbler 1, Whitethroat 1(1), Blackcap 18(4), Chiffchaff (1), Willow Warbler 2(1), Long Tailed Tit 2, Blue Tit 1, Bullfinch 1(2)


23rd April 2013 - Castle Eaton

We all know that spring or summer is about two to three weeks behind and tonight further proved the point. Jack and I went to the rookery where we usually ring the rooks on about 10th April but because we know the breeding season is behind we left it later than ever before. We managed to get to 14 nests to record their contents and thus start off our nest recording for the year. Most nests had warm eggs but we did find a couple of newly hatched chicks but it will still be 2 weeks before they are ready to ring which will mean that for the first time ever our rooks will be ringed in May which looks like three weeks late. MP/JN
mp rooking

22nd April 2013 - Salisbury Plain (east)

The 22nd April is normally the day when migrants really flood in and I often record my first Lesser Whitethroat on this day. Despite Grahams low number of migrants we set off for the Salisbury Plain at 3am. It soon became apparent that the site was virtually devoid of summer migrants but still we soldiered on to record a fairly meagre total of 31 new and 12 retraps. The highlight of the day was a Whitethroat that was ringed last summer. MP
Blackbird 0 (2), Robin 1, Dunnock 0 (4), Wren 1 (1), Treecreeper 1 ,Willow Warbler 2, Chiffchaff 2, Blackcap 2, Whitethroat 1 (1), Blue Tit 1, Great Tit 5, Coal Tit 1, Long Tailed Tit 2 (1), Chaffinch 4 (2), Bullfinch 3 (1), Yellowhammer 5

21st April 2013 - Nightingale Wood

By putting some nets up the night before meant an extra half hour sleep, but with the first bird of the morning being a Cuckoo calling in the pre-dawn gloom we wished we had got there earlier to set nets for it. By the time all the nets were open it was too light and the bird could see the nets. As we had set nets around the lake and in the willow plantations the catch was dominated by warblers with good numbers of Willow Warbler and Blackcap. There were quite a few were old friends with 2 Willow Warblers from 2011 and a Blackcap from 2010 the best of the retraps along with a Treecreeper from 2010. After packing up and while checking on the uptake of some of our nest boxes, a Redstart proved a nice find.  A nice easy paced moringing with 37 new and 25 retraps. GD/PD/OF

Wren 1(4), Dunnock 1, Blackbird (1), Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 19(5), Chiffchaff 2(1), Willow Warbler 7(5), Long Tailed Tit (2), Great Tit (2), Treecreeper (1), Chaffinch 1, Goldfinch 2, Bullfinch 3(3), Reed Bunting (1)


20th April - Salisbury Plain (centre)

With lots of quality migrants being reported around the county and with Matt's large catch at Swindon STW yesterday hopes were high of taking a good catch of migrants today, so we put up 17 60's. The first net round produced a few warblers including a Grasshopper Warbler along with a retrap Nightingale, our target species, that was originally caught as a juvenile in August 2010. Unfortunately that proved to be the best of it as once again the fog came down down for 2 hours and by the time it cleared up, all the birds had cleared off. A singing Redstart managed to give us the run around in the sunshine by avoiding the cunning net we had set for it, and the other 5 singing Nightingale's decided not to contribute any data to science. The first Whitethroat's of the year added some cheer late on and two more Grasshopper Warbler's were caught at a favoured site as we drove off the Plain. In all 40 new and 21 retraps were processed, a disappointing total for the time of year. GD/PD/OF

Willow Warbler 5(2), Chiffchaff 3(5), Wren 1(1), Goldcrest 1, Long Tailed Tit 1(1), Blackcap 11(1), Chaffinch 1, Grasshopper Warbler 3, Dunnock 3(7), Robin 2, Blue Tit 1, Linnet 1, Whitethroat 4(1), Song Thrush 1(1), Blackbird 2(1), Nightingale (1)

1 New folder

19th April 2013 - Coleshill

3 nets up for a short afternoon session between 1200 and 1600 in the garden after the week's strong winds had abated as there were still a few Lesser Redpolls and Siskins around. Not many Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps around at this time of day but the first Redstart of the year was an unexpected bonus. OF
Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (2), Redstart 1 (0) ,Blackcap 1 (0), Coal Tit 0 (2), Blue Tit 0 (6), Great Tit 1 (4), Chaffinch 2 (0), Greenfinch 4 (1), Goldfinch 5 (1), Lesser Redpoll 2 (1)
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