Wednesday 13 May 2015

Portstewart Strand 13/05/2015

The conditions this morning were near perfect (calm/dry/dull), although the light winds were of the northerly kind.  I was on site from 05.30 and set East ride, the gorse nets and the first 18 metre net of West ride (the best net), departing the site at 11.00. 


The site seemed quiet early on with the only noticeable difference being more singing Blackcaps.  As the morning went on things picked up a little with a couple of Swifts flying over, 7 Whimbrel on the estuary and a short appearance of a male Cuckoo late morning.  The first couple of Sedge Warblers started singing around 10am and there are at least four territories, although they are in the open scrub away from the nets rides.  One of the local Otters is out everyday at the moment and spends most of the morning fishing in the open, giving some great views. 

Song Thrush

The catch started well with 18 of the birds processed before 8am, 9 of those coming in the first round.  It slowed down after that finishing with 27 birds processed, of which, 16 were new.  The site is pretty prolific for Bullfinches with the new bird today taking the total to 28 since the 16th of September.  I also caught another smart male Reed Bunting today, which shows an even more complete black hood, compared to last weeks. 

Reed Bunting

Ringing Totals 13/05/2015
                                        New         Retrap
Blackbird                          2                 3
Blackcap                           2
Bullfinch                           1                 1                 
Chaffinch                          1
Dunnock                           1                 1
Goldfinch                          2                                      
Linnet                                                   1
Meadow Pipit                   1
Reed Bunting                   1                
Song Thrush                     1                                                                              
Willow Warbler                 3                  2                  
Wren                                1                  3             

Total                              16                 11                

In terms of the patch year list I have added three new species over recent days.  I picked up my first Swift on the 11th, a Merlin on the 12th and then todays Cuckoo.  The later two are both new species to the patch for me. 

Steve and I are heading back over to Copeland Bird Observatory this weekend and again full of optimism - a Spotted Flycatcher would be nice!  The forecast is once again looking windy and wet at times but the Island often gets better weather than the mainland, so fingers crossed.  It will be my first trip as ringing duty officer, so a new species would be a nice way to mark the occasion. 

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