Saturday 20th April 2019

With crystal clear skies overnight, a full moon and a light NE breeze there was little reason for migrants to stop or linger at South Milton Ley this morning. Nevertheless, I was greeted by birdsong everywhere with the first Reed Warblers of the year and at least three Grasshopper Warblers reeling in different parts of the reedbed. The ringing was steady throughout the day but tailed off as temperatures rose. 34 birds were trapped in total: 7 Blackcap, 1 Blue Tit, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Dunnock, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Great Tit, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Reed Bunting, 3 Reed Warbler, 9 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler and 1 Wren.

 I had to make a temporary repair to the boardwalk across Marsh Ride as some of the pallets supporting the boards had rotted and collapsed, allowing the boards to sink and water to come perilously close to the top of my wellies. When I returned to admire my handy work, I spotted an eel in the vegetation. At first I thought there were two. It was so close I was able to touch it before it emerged and slowly made its way along the net ride. It was over a metre long, which is about as big as they get! Unfortunately my camera was back on the ringing table!

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Wednesday 17th April 2019

Another cold and blustery morning with a brisk NE breeze. Not many obvious migrants about apart from a group of Swallows and a few House Martins hawking for insects around the STW. 45 birds were trapped: 3 Blackbird, 12 Blackcap, 9 Blue Tit, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Dunnock, 1 Jay, 1 Sedge Warbler (the first for the year), 3 Willow Warbler and 1 Wren.

Tuesday 9th April 2019

A cool spring morning with a light NE headwind dropped a few migrants into SML today. 60 birds were trapped: 2 Blackbird, 11 Blackcap, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 5 Dunnock, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Robin, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Robin, 1 Song Thrush and 19 Willow Warbler. Most of the Willow Warblers were long-winged (presumed males) and laden with body fat. One bird with a 70mm wing, weighed 11.3g, the heaviest I have encountered to date and sufficiently heavy for me to check the calibration of my digital balance!