Wednesday 27 May 2015

Springwell Forest 27/05/2015 + Dippers

Todays visit to Springwell Forest was to attempt to catch the 3 Cuckoos spotted by John and Ken earlier in the week.  The three of us were on site for 7am and set a couple of nets along a track through low scrub, with a decoy Cuckoo and tape lure (with endorsement).  The weather was overcast and a little breezy.

                        Sedge Warbler               © JC

On arrival we were greeted to the sound of lots of Warblers with Grasshopper, Sedge and Willow Warbler plus some Whitethroat amongst the regenerating conifer plantations full of Willows.  Whilst waiting for a Cuckoo to show up, we put up 2 low nets at the edge of scrub.  This proved worthwhile with a nice Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler, although we didn't catch any of the smart male Whitethroats singing above the nets.   

                     Grasshopper Warbler               © JC

There were also plenty of other birds about with a flock of 12 Crossbill, 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, 2 Stonechat, 4 Jay, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Grey Wagtail, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and a Dipper.  The Dipper seemed strange at the time, flying across forestry scrub but we later found a nest with 4 chicks (which we ringed) under a culvert on a small stream. 


                       Dipper pullus                 © JC

Two male Cuckoos appeared and spent a while flying around the nets and calling back to the tape but unfortunately, as with previous attempts, we didn't manage to get any birds in the nets.  The nets were a little exposed to the wind but we may have another attempt soon. 


   Ringing Totals 27/05/2015

                                        New        Pullus
Dipper                                                4
Grasshopper Warbler       1
Robin                                1
Sedge Warbler                  1
Song Thrush                     1
Willow Warbler                 2
Wren                                1                                                        

Total                                7               4              
Earlier in the breeding season Ken had been busy studying the growth rates of Dipper chicks between lowland and upland areas.  This involved locating nests (also with 17 nest boxes) and visiting daily to time the laying of the eggs and hatching.  Once the study nests had been selected the chicks were weighed everyday until fledging.  We will share the results in due course. 
The photos above are the copyright of Ken Perry

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