Ordinarily one might think a team of 11 people was a little excessive for a morning at Holme Pierrepont. Fortunately Sunday 28 June was no ordinary morning. After meeting at 6am, we had 20 nets up in 40 minutes and in the walk back to base we extracted 16 birds, the first of which was an R series Reed Warbler, more than ready for his bus pass.
The conditions were ideal – mild, overcast and hardly a breath of wind. By 09:00h we had already caught 95 birds. As scribe, I didn’t leave my seat until after 09:30h as a never-ending chain of groups took turns to process or go on net rounds. Even after that, things didn’t slow up that much and the following haul is from the midday round:
However, between twelve and one, the clouds broke, the roasting began and we soon began to pack up.
So – a few stats for the anoraks (there’s a bit of it in all of us…). We finished up on 173 birds and of this total:
- 77 % were new, 23% were retraps
- 63% were young birds, 37% were adults
- 72% were migrant warblers
- 43% were juvenile migrant warblers
Top species by miles were:
- Reed Warbler – 27 new, 31 retrap
- Blackcap – 41 new, 1 retrap
We also caught 3 Garden Warblers (inc 2 juvs), 3 Whitethroat (all juvs), 6 Willow Warblers (all juvs), 8 Chiffchaffs (all juvs) and 5 Sedge (all adults – juvs seem not to have fledged yet). It was particularly satisfying to retrap several young Reed Warblers that we had ringed either as pulli or 1Js in the previous month or so.
We didn’t have much time for birding, but the highlight was a pair of Sandwich Terns flying north at 09:50h. Blue Damselflies were numerous but dragonflies seemed notable by their absence and I think a single Common Darter was the only sighting of the morning.
It was great to see Inge again, back from Sweden for a short visit. From what she said it seemed as if not only was very little ringing going on around Stockholm, but also the winter snow had not long melted. Still – she showed us some great pictures and hopefully we’ll be able to persuade her to send us some to post here soon.
So, all in all, a great day and a reminder of what the right weather and the right season can bring us.