We had a bit of a frustrating session in the meadow at Ravensroost this morning. This time last year we were catching 140 birds, including Swallows and House Martins. This year just 33 birds caught with no Hirundines. We had a few flying around but nothing like the numbers previously. Here’s hoping that they are all still feeding third broods and delaying their departure that bit longer. The team was geared up for the higher level of catch with Jonny, Ellie and David joining me for the session. The Wildlife Trust’s latest employee, Emmeline, also came along to see what it is all about.
With just 9 birds before 8:30 and none at all between 8:30 and 10:30. Whilst we were looking at empty nets, I decided we would pack up if the next round was empty. So, 20 birds later we decided to leave them open for a bit longer. We didn’t catch many more so packed up at 11:30.
One of the birds caught at 10:30 was the first ever Whinchat caught and ringed at the Ravensroost complex. I have had it confirmed that this is the first ever record of any sort for this species at the site. It was quite a surprise to find it there as it certainly doesn’t seem like typical Whinchat habitat, even on migration.
The list for the day was: Blue Tit 10; Great Tit 2(1); Wren 4; Whinchat 1; Robin 2; Blackcap 8; Whitethroat 2; Chiffchaff 1; Willow Warbler 2. Totals: 32 birds ringed from 9 species and 1 bird recaptured. Of the birds caught 6 were adults: one each of the Great Tit, Robin and Willow Warbler; the Whinchat and 2 of the Blackcaps.
The Wrens were interesting: two of them were in full juvenile plumage with no indication of their having started their post-juvenile moult. These are quite late for second broods. The first fully juvenile Wrens caught were caught mid-June in the neighbouring Ravensroost Wood. BTO Bird Facts credits them with having 2 broods per year: from egg laying to fledging is about 5 weeks. Excitingly, doing the maths, it is entirely possible that these youngsters are third brood birds: further investigation required! I have asked the ringing community if they have any hard evidence of third broods in Wrens.