On the 14th August 2018 I ringed a number of Sedge Warblers at South Milton Ley. I’ve just heard that one of these, a first year bird, was controlled at Sandouville, Seine-Maritime, France, 311km ESE just two days later and then, amazingly trapped for a third time at Mars-Ouest, Sant-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, Loire-Atlantique, France, a further 330km SE on 23rd August. What are the chances of that? Time to buy a lottery ticket I think!
With high pressure well and truly established, a sharp overnight frost greeted me when I arrived at South Milton this morning. After a bone-chilling hour erecting seven nets with cold, ice-covered poles, the sun rose to herald a beautiful spring day. Birds were few and far between, with no visible migration and the weather giving little reason for migrants to linger anyway. Despite this, 28 birds were trapped: 2 Blue Tit, 3 Cetti’s Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Cirl Bunting, 3 Dunnock, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Great Tit, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Robin, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Wren. The two Cirl Buntings, both males, are the first for two years and the Willow Warbler is the earliest one I have ever caught at SML.
- The first Willow Warbler of the year
A newly arrived Chiffchaff with its face encrusted with pollen.
The spring equinox heralded an end to the string of storms, high winds and wet weather, which had been battering the SW for the previous four weeks. With the jet stream finally moving north and benign weather forecast, I made an early start and headed back to South Milton Ley. In the event the forecast was off the mark and I was greeted by low cloud and persistent light drizzle. Arriving at 06:30, it was two hours before the weather cleared and I could open the nets.
The conditions were not conducive to migration and just 15 birds were trapped, half of which were retraps. Amongst them was one lingering, wintering Chiffchaff and one obvious newly arrived spring migrant, its face encrusted with pollen, presumably picked up somewhere in southern Iberia. The total included 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 3 Long-tailed Tit and 1 Blackbird.