Tuesday 9th June 2020

The ringing table – now in the shade!

A relatively quiet morning with just eleven new birds trapped out of a total of 27. However, the relaxed pace gave me the opportunity to make some progress with the restoration of Marsh Ride. The vegetation either side of the ride is under control now but the boards remain hidden under a thatch of grass, making them invisible, slippery and all too easy to step off the edge into the mire, which can reach above the knee in the wettest areas. Using lawn edging shears and raking the cut material to one end of the ride, I have now exposed about a quarter of the boards – enough to operate safely. Just another 150 metres to go!

It was so hot during my last visit that I cleared some vegetation and moved the ringing table a few metres so that it is now under the shade of an overhanging willow tree. This makes all the difference to the temperature and prevents me from slowly cooking. It also keeps the bird bags and my digital scales out of the sun. Although today was cooler than of late, it was still too warm for any major work on the remaining, overgrown net rides at the eastern end of the reserve but, having just purchased a second lithium battery for my cordless hedge trimmer, giving me an extra 40 minutes of power, I felt up to making a start at the seaward end. The net rides here are exclusively reed, making them relatively easy to clear. The main issue is the depth of water, which is determined by the height of the sandbar on South Milton Beach. Although a little higher than usual at this time of year, it only reached mid-wellington and my feet remained dry. Forty minutes and one flat battery later all sixty metres were clear and ready for action, although I suspect that a quick trim will be necessary next time I visit.

Final totals: 3 Blackbird, 2 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Dunnock, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Great Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 6 Reed Warbler, 1 Robin, 3 Sedge Warbler, 1 Song Thrush and 1 Wren.

A freshly-cleared ringing hut ride

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