Tuesday 14th July 2020

Net rounds, during what was a steady morning’s ringing, were punctuated with various bits of essential maintenance. A willow tree had fallen across the path at the east end of the reserve and badly bent one of my mist net poles, which had to be straightened by levering it between two fence posts. I also had to replace a snapped shelf string as well. It takes an age and a lot of concentration to thread new string through every other mesh for 60 feet, especially as the wind gradually strengthened! Unfortunately, my garden at home is too small to erect even a 40 foot net so the work had to be done on site.

Nick Townsend had already cleared the remnants of the willow, which was much appreciated, but the paths and net rides at this end haven’t been cut at all this year and are barely accessible with bramble trailing across at head height. The contractor was supposed to have been this Monday but apparently has a problem with his tractor! With a whole season’s growth waiting to be cut, doing this by hand is beyond me and it may be some time before I can erect the full suite of nets.

However, Marsh Ride is now almost back to pristine condition and at least a foot wider than a month ago. Just a bit more cutting is required to reveal the last of the boards there. Other than that the flow of birds gradually tailed off as the morning progressed with nothing out of the ordinary. Unknown to me (and coincidentally now that I’ve cleared the rides at the ringing hut end) Dave Scott was down there for the first time this year and caught 23 birds. These are our combined totals for the day.

80 birds were trapped of which 68 were new. New birds included: 1 Blackbird, 8 Blackcap, 4 Blue Tit, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff, 2 Dunnock, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Reed Bunting, 18 Reed Warbler, 3 Robin, 5 Sedge Warbler, 3 Wren and the first Willow Warbler of the autumn.

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