An excellent first Constant Effort Site session for 2018 at Lower Moor Farm (LMF). I was joined by Ellie and Jonny at 5:30, to get the nets set and ready, and we caught our first bird at 6:00. It will be interesting to see how this year’s catch compares with previous ones. Over the winter two of the net rides have been widened, by the cutting in of “scallops” to open butterfly glades. Whether this will have an impact on the bird catch only time will tell. This first catch was a bit down on session 1 last year: primarily because we failed to catch any Willow Warblers or Chiffchaffs – despite there being several singing male Chiffchaffs in the immediate area. However, last year was considerably down on the same session in 2015, although the final numbers were relatively close for both ringed and recaptured birds. We shall see how the season progresses. That is the purpose of CES: to see how bird populations fluctuate over time within a relatively constant environment.
We had our first Whitethroat for the site for this year. Hopefully it will be a better year for them at Lower Moor this year: we only had one specimen there in the whole of last year. At our session on the 21st April we did catch our first Garden Warbler of the year, a retrap ringed at LMF in 2016. This session we caught our first new Garden Warblers of the year, two of which were sporting quite obvious “pollen horns”:
The list for the session was: Blue Tit (2); Great Tit 1(1); Long-tailed Tit (1); Wren 1(2); Dunnock 3(2); Song Thrush 2; Blackbird 1; Blackcap 3(2); Garden Warbler 4; Whitethroat 1; Lesser Whitethroat 1; Goldcrest 1; Bullfinch (3). Totals: 18 ringed from 10 species; 13 retrapped from seven species, making 31 processed from 13 species.
There were plenty of butterflies around, with several specimens of Orange Tip, Brimstone, Small White and Common Blue flying about the ringing site. We were joined for a while by Neil Pullen, the Wildlife Trust’s reserves manager, and whilst we were discussing aspects of how we work with the Trust, he pointed out a solitary Holly Blue flying around. With the cracking weather this morning, and interactions with a range of interested people, plus some excellent birds, it really was a very pleasant way to spend a morning, whilst contributing to the national data set.