1st and 3rd August 2019

1st year Common Whitethroat

The first two visits in August produced nothing unusual but included a reasonable selection of the commoner migrants, including the first Whitethroats, Garden Warblers and Grasshopper Warbler of the Autumn. The commoner species such as Reed, Sedge and Willow Warblers were trapped in moderate numbers but I get the impression that the bulk of migrants have yet to start moving with swallows and wagtails still to arrive in the reed bed in numbers.

1st year Grasshopper Warbler

At least maintenance of the net rides becomes easier as the season progresses. The hemlock water dropwort, which is so difficult to control when it’s growing, has died back now and the only vegetation that regularly requires clearing is reeds which have toppled into the net rides as a result of wind or heavy rain. A small Elm tree had fallen right across Blaca net ride but I had anticipated this and arrived suitably equipped to clear it. These Elms self-seed and usually reach a height of about 4m before Dutch Elm Disease kills them off. Whilst unfortunate for the trees and the wider landscape, it does keep them below the optimum height for encouraging birds into the mist nets. In the event, I found that the tree was completely dead and the trunk had snapped at the base so it was easily dealt with.

1st year Willow Warbler

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