18th and 25th May 2019

Garwa 1
Garden Warbler, 25th May  2019

It’s difficult to generate much enthusiasm for keeping the blog up to date at this time of year. Spring migration is all but over and the hope of an exotic, off-course migrant has passed. Being located in a bay, the Ley will never attract the numbers and variety of migrants drawn to a coastal headland so it’s bread and butter ringing for the next couple of months. By that I mean concentrating on the breeding birds and their offspring and dealing with a high proportion of re-traps compared to new birds.

Dawn is currently around 05:30 and the early starts and long hot days don’t improve my creative writing skills either! There are advantages though as the ringing tails off by midday, giving me the opportunity to maintain the net rides at my leisure. I currently use 210m of net ride and the damp conditions in the reserve lead to prolific plant growth, despite the surrounding countryside starting to wither as we experience a prolonged dry period. I have ringed 17 Blackbirds this month – all adults – presumably seeking softer ground at the Ley due to the lack of rain elsewhere. Back to the point. All this plant growth needs to be kept under control or the reedbed rides can disappear entirely within a month or so and I’m feeling quite self-satisfied that they are all fully operational. Marsh ride requires a bit more work to clear the grass that springs up between and ultimately obscures the boards but, that apart, the rest of the rides are looking pretty good.

Crake Crest

Crest Ride (left) and Crake Ride (right)

I have lumped together the totals for the last two visits. There’s nothing out of the ordinary but I have been able to confirm that there are at least two pairs of Cetti’s Warblers present in the ringing area and that a pair of Garden Warblers appear to be breeding for the second successive year. 88  birds of 15 species were trapped: 12 Blackbird, 5 Blackcap, 4 Blue Tit, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Dunnock, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Great Tit, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 31 Reed Warbler, 1 Robin, 9 Sedge Warbler, 2 Song Thrush and 5 Wren.


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