The last five days have turned into a bit of a Ringathon with me having a good amount of time off to run around catching up on nests, a rescue and a ringing demonstration as follows:
19th - Only four birds ringed on this day. A walk with my inlaws around my home patch was rewarded with a Spotted Flycatcher calling on a wire with food which disappeared into an old wooden barn and then came out without it. A quick turn of pace to get back home rustle up a gooseberry crumble for dinner (keep the family happy!) and a drive round with rings and a knock on the owner's door. Very happy to oblige, the owner allowed me access to the barn and on entering immediately spotted the nest with four ringable chicks. Shame I forgot my camera!! Also three yearling Mute Swans turned up at Warnham LNR today and Sue managed to read the ring that was on one and was one of the cygnets that was born here last year. Good to know that it has survived.
20th - A brief morning ringing in the garden was back on form after very little recently catching 28 birds with 18 new including ten Greenfinch and two juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker.
21st - RINGATHON
Part 1 - Louise and I started at 3.15am at Chesworth Farm setting the nets and was later joined by Eddie with nets down by 11am. A total of 103 birds with 83 new including a juvenile Treecreeper, 11 Greenfinch, ten House Sparrow and a Jackdaw (first caught here - above). The only interesting retrap was a Blue Tit ringed in October 2007.
Part 2 - Louise and I then went to Horsham Hospital to collect a female Mallard that had nested in one of the enclosed courtyards having seven ducklings and were unable to get out. Between us and the help of Linda from the hospital Mum and all were gathered up, ringed and taken to Warnham LNR to be released.
Part 3 - Then we made a quick visit to Horsham Park where Louise managed to bag one of the Canada Goose goslings.
Part 4 - Returning to Warnham LNR a newly fledged Magpie (above) was walking around the courtyard and I very quickly managed to pick it up, Louise ringed it and then released it out of harms way with parents nearby. Unfortunately, five minutes later a Crow came down and carried it away!
Part 5 - The main reason for returning to Warnham LNR was to then venture out onto the Millpond to ring the three Common Terns on one of the rafts (above and below), for which we were joined by Jake. The second raft wasn't so lucky with the female found dead on the raft completely emaciated leaving three unhatched eggs - possibly not being fed enough by the male?
Part 6 - A quick trip to Rudgwick by Louise, Kevin and I to meet Aston and Chris to ring another Spotted Flycatcher nest in Aston's garden which held just two young and three unhatched eggs. I remembered my camera this time (below).
Part 7 - The only unsuccessful part, was a trip to the Heronry back at Warnham LNR where there has been a lot of late breeding activity. Joined again by climber Gary we checked a nest that should have been ready for ringing, but had been predated and then found another new nest that when climbed the chicks were too old! A further new nest was also found but again just too old! A bit frustrating, but the Heronry here is now realised to be much larger than ever thought with an estimation last year of 17 nests with this year holding at least 28 nests making it the biggest in the county!
22nd - In the morning I ringed the last of the Warnham LNR nest boxes resulting in five Great Tit chicks. In the early evening Wes, Jake and I ran a public ringing demonstration at Warnham LNR which was hosted by the Friends group mainly focused on the reedbed area and with a good attendance and near perfect weather caught 25 retraps and 19 new birds of 14 species. Highlights of new birds included another Magpie, two Garden Warbler, three Blackcap and two Reed Warbler (including the first juveniles of the year) and a juvenile Kingfisher which was a real spectacle. Another amazing find was of a Golden-ringed Dragonfly in one of the nets which was the first record of this heathland species for this very non-heathland reserve (below) bringing the site odonata total to 25 species.
23rd - Another Blackbird nest of four in my garden was ready to ring this morning and a post breeding check of the nest boxes at Warnham LNR, unexpected turned up a second brood of six Great Tit and of the 40+ occupied boxes on the reserve just a single dead chick was found making this by far the most successful year!
Birds ringed: (retraps in brackets)
Spotted Flycatcher - 6 nestlings
Dunnock - 5 (4)
Goldfinch - 3 (2)
Blue Tit - 17 (7)
Robin - 4 (3)
Great Tit - 32 + 11 nestlings (6)
Chaffinch - 3 (1)
Blackcap - 3 (4)
Garden Warbler - 2 (2)
Reed Warbler - 2 (6)
Treecreeper - 1
Chiffchaff - 6 (2)
Wren - 1 (1)
Jackdaw - 1
Magpie - 2
Mallard - 8
Canada Goose - 1
Common Tern - 3 nestlings
Kingfisher - 1
Greenfinch - 21 (3)
House Sparrow - 10 (2)
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2 (2)
Blackbird - 5 + 4 nestlings (6)
Mute Swan - (1)
Long-tailed Tit - (3)