Monday, 1 September 2014

Spotted Flys and Spotted Spiders!

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 !

Garden Warbler

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.

Spotted Flycatcher

 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.


  1. Great session Findlay not sure what the ringing habitat is like but how have you faired with Sedge Warblers this year?

  2. Looks like you had a bumper catch and a busy day Findlay?
    Interesting to see the bill on the Spotted Flycatcher.
    Good find with the spider too, what size ring did it take?...[;o)

  3. A great catch Findlay. The habitat must be spot on to catch that number of Blackcaps.

    I hope you give Dad a few photography lessons.

  4. Great capture and a good number of ringed birds.

  5. Sounds like a good day. Lovely close ups of the flycatcher.

  6. Splendid work and what a joy to see the Spotted Flys.

  7. Your interests and getting up at 2:30 is something to be proud of!!! With reading what you've accomplished in this post I must send along my congratulations and a well done!!!

  8. Great close ups of the flycatcher and the beautiful orb weaver!

  9. I second that, great photos of both species!

  10. How wonderful about the flycatchers! Great up-close shots while you are banding them. Love it! The orb spider was also amazing, but I'm just happy he's in your yard and not mine! :-) Great shots!

  11. wonderful images of the birds...the spider not so much. lol.

  12. Very nice entry and my that is dedication to get up so early. Now then that spider, lovely it is, but I would be running from it ;)

  13. What a great day - it seems that Garden Warblers are no more distinctive in the hand than in the bush!!

    I think you should pursued your big people that they (and you) need to go to the Farne Islands next spring! I can recommend a good place to stay!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  14. WOW! You had a great day. Congratulations! Totally worth getting up at 2:30 in the morning.

  15. the Flycatcher seem very comfortable in your hand. :)