A nice early start at 5:45 this morning led to a pleasant session at the Meadow Pond area at Ravensroost. I was joined for the morning by Andrew and Lucy. We set up my normal nets for this site, plus I tried a new net position, since the volunteers kindly cleared the bank at the back of the pond:
Their work has also meant that I can have a straight run of 3 x 18m nets along the field boundary hedgerow. I am sure they haven’t done it specifically for our benefit, but I am still very grateful.
Every net, except the 9m on the spit of land into the smaller pond, caught something. The most productive nets were the 6m and the 12m net at the side of the pond. The causeway 12m net will come into its own as and when the Swallows and House Martins turn up.
The morning started with a Wren, a Robin and a Chiffchaff. It continued with small numbers of birds being caught in each round until we drew a blank at 11:15. We agreed that we would take the net bags with us for the next round, at 11:30, so that, it it was also empty, we could take down and head home. That was the case.
It wasn’t a huge catch, but it was reasonably varied: Blue Tit 1(1); Wren (2); Dunnock 1(1); Robin 2(1); Blackcap 4; Chiffchaff 4; Willow Warbler 2(1); Goldfinch 3; Reed Bunting 2. Totals: 19 birds ringed from 8 species and 6 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 25 birds processed from 9 species.
Lucy’s highlight of the morning was to ring her first Reed Bunting:
This rather magnificent male. The two we caught were a male and a female. Both were in breeding condition and we thought that they were almost certainly a pair, if you can ever be that certain. They were in the same net, less than a couple of feet apart, so we released them together and they flew off together.
Apart from the ringing we had a couple of Mallard flying around the area and, somewhat more intriguingly, a couple of Moorhen chasing after each other. When I first started birding in the Ravensroost complex, back in 1998, they were a common sight, along with Sedge and Reed Warbler in the breeding season. They were to be found in the larger pond. Unfortunately, as you can see from the aerial shot, this is no longer a pond. It is a dried out marsh, overgrown with Typha, and now with Willow carr encroaching. It is in the condition that Red Lodge Pond was in when I first started ringing at that site. Forestry England, in response to my raising concerns about it, put in a digger to re-establish the pond. Unfortunately, I have never been able to persuade the Wildlife Trust to do the same thing. (To be honest, they are probably sick of me going on about it, but I am sure it would massively increase the wildlife value of the site.)
Odd statistic for the day: my last 4 sessions have each resulted in exactly 19 birds being ringed! (From 9, 8, 10 and 8 species respectively.)