CES 5 returned to the disappointing levels of sessions 1 to 3, with half the number of birds caught compared to the same session last year. The shortfall was down to a reduced number of juvenile Blackcaps, Blue and Great Tits in the catch. 2, 2 and 1 compared to 6, 12 and 12 in 2017. There was also no catch of juvenile Lesser Whitethroat in this session, where we had 2 last year. On the plus side, we caught 4 juvenile Garden Warblers. They came from two broods in different parts of the site. We also continued with what is proving to be a very good year for Song Thrushes: with 26 ringed so far this year.
The list for the session was: Green Woodpecker 1(1); Treecreeper 1; Blue Tit 2(2); Great Tit 1; Wren 1(2); Dunnock 1(1); Robin 1; Song Thrush 2(1); Blackbird (2); Blackcap 2; Garden Warbler 5; Chiffchaff 5; Goldfinch 1. Totals: 23 birds ringed from 12 species; 9 birds retrapped from 6 species, making 32 birds processed from 13 species.
It was an odd session. I was joined, initially, by Ellie. As it was a very slow start, I suggested that her time might be more productively spent in her office, having exhausted our knowledge / interest in the World Cup. Within half-an-hour the session got busy, and I extracted two Green Woodpeckers, one unringed. Knowing that Ellie has only ringed one previously, I tried to get her back to ring this one, but could not get through. It turns out that she, the farm manager and the local vet were busy carrying out a Caesarean delivery of a calf from one of the Belted Galloway herd. All in a day’s work for a Wildlife Trust employee.
I was then joined by a group with the Well-Being Team, just in time for them to see the most interesting part of the catch. It is surprising how frequently I end up doing impromptu ringing demonstrations for both organised groups (like this one) and passing strangers, which I also did for two ladies who let me know that I had a Dunnock in one of my nets. Helping people to understand what we are doing and why we are doing it is an important part of the process.
The last two rounds produced the biggest catches of the day but, being a CES, time is limited to a standard set of hours catching, but also the wind got up and I had to close the nets to protect the birds.
One footnote to the last blog entry about Lower Moor Farm: I am pleased to say that the presence of Hairy Dragonflies has been confirmed. Not just that, but they have been confirmed breeding, as several people have now seen them emerge from the ponds in the education centre. This is a first for Wiltshire. We were also treated to Black Tailed Skimmer and Emperor dragons buzzing around the site and goodness knows how many Damselflies from at least 5 species (Common Blue, Azure, Blue-tailed, Large Red and Red-eyed).