After another unproductive session on the 26th March, which certainly wasn’t worth blogging about, with just three new Chiffchaffs ringed, and with a forecast of a clear skies and no wind I was anticipating a decent day at SML and it started well. Arriving at 07:00, there was still a thin layer of frost on the ground and on the mist net poles, and I made my way to Marsh Ride to erect the nets when I was amazed to hear the unmistakeable whiplash call of a Spotted Crake just a few metres away from me. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t see the bird although it responded well to my attempts to imitate its call. It called again briefly a couple of hours later and that was it. I am reliably informed that this is the first spring record for the area.
On the ringing side, things weren’t exactly hectic with 19 birds trapped of which 12 were new including 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler and 1 Goldcrest. Re-traps included a male Cetti’s Warbler of unknown origin and female ringed as a 1st year bird at SML in 2016. This is good news as Cetti’s have been very quiet here for the last couple of years and it’s nice to know that a pair is present at the start of the breeding season.