I was absolutely made up that I found out I would be able to be back out ringing again after Peter finally returned from six weeks in Portugal. I wasn't that sure how the day would go and didn't think we would get too much, but almost straight away I was proved wrong. Birds are of course on the move and migration starts earlier than you think.
The start of the session wasn't as early as before, as it is lighter a little later now; however I still had to jump myself out of bed at 2.30am. The first net round proved great, and I knew from that moment that the session was going to be great, as all the nets had caught something. One of the birds from the first net round was a Garden Warbler, the first I'd seen of the year. Rubbish picture below that Dad took as he'd messed the settings up ! doh !
As the session developed, we were catching steady numbers of birds, i.e good numbers of Black Caps and Robins with most being young birds. After the first couple of net rounds I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, two birds perched in a dead tree, occasionally flitting into mid air and back to the perch. Spotted Flycatchers!
I was so excited as they were right above the line net. It was great to see them back, as last year one of them just hopped over the net so I never got to study it up close. But we had better luck this time and when we got one out of the bag it was so amazing, suddenly seeing all that detail in the hand.
Over the course of the morning we were lucky to catch two Spotted Flycatchers so Dad and I got to ring one each. We wondered whether these birds had bred locally or had moved a distance already?
Both these birds were juveniles, the plumage looking very fresh.
Spotted Flycatchers have quite a broad bill and have a look at the marking on the head.
It wasn't just birds we were catching today, my dad found a very unique spider upon his shoulder, so took it back to the ringing station to observe. When we got back home I found out that it is a Four Spot Orb Weaver Spider (quite a name) this species isn't rare, however is not found in gardens or sheds so might not be commonly seen.
This spider also had quite an aggression to it, as every time our finger approached it, the gnashers on it went for them!!
At the end of the session we counted up the ringing totals, and the results were 132 birds ringed. The birds included 52 black caps ( which we caught in one morning compared to not many more for our Blackcap RAS which was many many more hours of effort ) Also of course there were the 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 5 Wrens, 6 Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs which were good numbers; 2 White Throats (that we have barely caught any of this year), 36 robins (which I have never seen or witnessed as many in a single session), 9 Blue Tits, a couple of Reed and Sedge Warblers, a few Great Tits, a solitary Garden Warbler, a solitary Chaffinch, and finally another good bird for the site, a Bullfinch.
With the volume of birds today and the variety it was a great learning session with all types of plumage and moult on display, a great session and so good to be back out there again.