Monday 31st August 2020

The first Whitethroat ringed this year!

August has been a month of extremes with a heatwave at the start, followed rather unseasonally by two named storms, and concluding with one of the coldest bank holidays on record. It certainly felt more like the end of October when I arrived this morning. With the weather so unsettled and a busy diary I have to grab whatever opportunity arises to ring at South Milton but the heavy rain since my last visit had flattened a lot of vegetation into Marsh Ride, which had to be cleared before I could get the nets up. It always seems to take longer than I expect and what should be a thirty-minute job can sometimes take nearly an hour.

Nevertheless, with sunrise at 06:30, the first birds were being processed by 07:30. Nothing spectacular to report with the reedbed proving particularly quiet. However, the nets around the perimeter were more productive producing a steady catch of, mostly male, Blackcaps together with a few Willow Warblers and Chiffs. Highlights of the day were two Tree Pipits, my first Whitethroat for the year and a single juvenile Linnet caught in the reedbed!

On a non-avian note, I spotted a new plant species for the reserve, growing out of one of the perimeter paths, Cyperus eragrostis or Pale Galingale, a non-native garden escape.

58 new birds of 12 species: 28 Blackcap, 1 Blue Tit, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Dunnock, 1 Linnet, 6 Reed Warbler, 1 Robin, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit, 1 Whitethroat, 7 Willow Warbler and 4 Wren.

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