Monday 23rd and Friday 27th August 2021

It’s been relatively unusual for me to manage two visits in the same week this year but a stable high pressure over the UK provided a welcome weather window. I was joined on both occasions by Paul Salaman and his wife Sara. Paul has a long history in British ornithology and rang on occasions at South Milton with Bob Burridge before transferring his interests to South America, which culminated in the creation of a national park and a network of private nature reserves in Columbia and the description of four bird species new for science. As CEO of the Rainforest Trust from 2012-2019 he raised $118 million and allocated $105 million in project funding to purchase and to protect over 40 million acres of critical wildlands to save endangered species in 60 countries across the tropics. By comparison, the 42 acres at SML and my own contribution to conservation seem like small fry but I guess it all counts.

Unfortunately, despite favourable winds from the NE, Sunday night had been cloudless with a full moon and most birds seemed to have taken advantage of the opportunity and cleared out by Monday morning, resulting in what was probably my lowest ever catch in August. Just 15 new birds and no Sedge Warblers at all: 1 Blackcap, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Reed Warbler, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Tree Pipit, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Wren.

Sod’s law being what it is the woodpecker and Sparrowhawk both turned up in a net within 20 minutes of Paul and his wife leaving.

Friday was a little busier but certainly not up to the usual pace of a morning in August with 34 new birds including: 2 Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 1 Blue Tit, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Great Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 5 Reed Warbler, 2 Robin, 4 Sedge Warbler, 1 Tree Pipit, 5 Willow Warbler and 3 Wren.

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