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Archive for April, 2013

Saturday 13th April
A trip to Wraysbury to prepare the rides for the forthcoming CES season and put up a few nets to see what was about. Not a great number of birds caught but I did manage to process my first summer migrants of the year, 2 chiffchaff.
Saturday 20th April
Second visit to Tadworth Meadows south field on LBF with Skylark in mind again. Carl pulled into my drive under clear chilly skies at the agreed met time of 0400 hrs. A quick unpack of kit from the boot and a short 5 minute walk saw us in the middle of the field ready to set up. We decided on 3 lines of 2 nets and set up. We were ready and waiting by 0500 hrs, We didn’t see any birds on the wing until about 0600 hrs, it seems as though the birds had decided on a lie-in! At 0700 hrs and after plenty of marching around the field we finally caught 3 birds, unfortunately as we approached the net to extract 1 of the birds flew off. The 2 remaining birds turned out to be our total for the session.
Skylark on the farm

Skylark on the farm

We packed up at 0900 and headed back to my house.
Sunday 21st April
Windsor. A rather cold start with the need to de-ice the car before leaving home. A large team of 8 assembled at 0545 hrs ready for the final preparations for the CES which starts in May, this included hammering in the Willow stakes that we had chopped down forming the rides at BCA in the Willow plantation a couple of weeks ago, the replacing of the old guy ropes and some final reed flattening. We set nets up in the reed beds as we went, nets were also deployed in the wood area too.
There was very little wind early on and the early chill was lifted as the sun started to rise, by 0900 hrs it was fairly warm and very pleasant.
There was plenty of bird activity in the reeds and we could hear plenty of singing migrant Warblers including Sedge, Reed and Cettis. The first bird processed was a Wren caught in the wood. The first bird of the season extracted from the reed nets, which I did, was a ringed Reed Warbler, turns out we were old acquaintances having met last summer when I had attached the ring! To think this little 11g bird had flown to Africa from Windsor at the end of last summer and was now back in the same reed beds this spring ready to mate and raise its own offspring, truly amazing! A further 7 birds were processed throughout the rest of the morning including another amazing bird, a 7-year-old Reed Warbler first ringed in 2007 and subsequently re-captured every year since bar one, a fair few miles on the clock!
We set down around 1300 hrs having had a very productive morning. We left site and retired to the pub for a well-earned pint.
In bed at 6am!

In bed at 6am!

Prepped reed beds

Prepped reed beds

Taking down the mist nets

Taking down the mist nets
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Saturday part 1 saw us in the middle of a Willow plantation at a new site in Berkshire. Carl had been there midweek cutting a couple of rides through the Willow in readiness for a weekend session.

Clear early morning skies meant a cold start to the day with a definite need for the thermals, Carl, Marie and myself arrived on site at 0615 and set up 2 2×60′ nets in the 2 new rides.

Once the sun was up it did start to warm a little and we saw plenty of birds flying about but unfortunately only a single Jay managed to land in the net, the field is rather large so much longer rides are probably required.

We left site at 1100hrs.

Processed totals

Jay x 1

Saturday part 2 was a visit to Woolley Firs to number up our bird boxes, gps any that were missing from our map and record any activity in the boxes. This took the best part of 3 hours and we left site around 1430 hrs. There was good signs of nesting activity with a few of the boxes with fresh nesting materials.

Sunday was another first for us with a visit to my ‘patch’ and an attempt to catch some of the many Skylark in a field close to my home. Carl pulled into my driveway at 0515, another rather chilly start with cloudless skies.

We set 2 lines, line 1: 2 60′ singles & a 60′ double, line 2: 2 40′ doubles. We didn’t have to wait long before we had our first ever bird on the farm in a net, a beautiful Skylark. We stayed out on the field until 0830 and managed to catch a further 5 Skylarks which was a great way to start our ringing on the farm.

Processed totals

Skylark x 6

LBF Skyla 02

Skylark

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