Friday 17 July 2015

Portstewart Strand 15/07/2015

It was a 06.30 start this morning in fine conditions but a cool start for mid July, at 9°C.  The cloud broke up through the morning leaving fine sunny spells and the temperatures reached 15°C by my departure at 11.30.  The wind picked up to around 8-10mph blowing from the East.  I operated west ride and the gorse nets.  Literally as I drove out the gates the heavens opened and it continued for much of the day.


Many of the species are starting to gather into larger flocks with hundreds of Starlings, up to c40 Linnet and smaller groups of Lesser Redpolls, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits. 
The flies are also gathering and drove me to the point of madness.  At first it was the midges but the insect repellent kept them at bay.  The House-fly type flies didn't leave me alone all day and at times I had over one hundred over my head and landing all over me; especially when extracting birds from the nets.  Thankfully my normal summer nemesis - the Horse Fly (Cleg) was absent but for one individual.  To top things off, all four Dunnocks I caught each had a flat fly that decided to jump host, I managed to squish two... 

Sedge Warbler

The catch was one of the best of the summer with plenty of juvenile birds and only two retraps.  The total was 23 birds of 11 species.  The best bird was a male Sedge Warbler, which is a first for the site.  It has been singing right above the 3 shelf gorse net for the last few sessions, so it was nice to finally catch it.  There were a few juvenile Swallows knocking about and they took a liking to sitting on the gorse net poles and guys. 

  Ringing Totals 15/07/2015
                                        New         Retrap         
Blackbird                           1                1
Blackcap                            1 
Dunnock                            4              
Lesser Redpoll                   1     
Linnet                                 5
Reed Bunting                     1
Robin                                 1
Sedge Warbler                   1
Song Thrush                                        1                
Willow Warbler                   5                                                    
Wren                                  1

Total                                21                 2 

The wildflowers are still looking fine and in combination with the sunny spells, they are proving irresistible to the insects.  The butterflies put on a good show with c50 Common Blue, c20 Ringlet, 7 Meadow Brown, 4 Dark Green Fritillary, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 Small Tortoiseshell.  The swathes of Wild Thyme attracted hundreds of Bumblebees of different species.  I finally got around to checking out the Bee Orchid patch, although I was a little late in the season.  They seemed to have had a poor year and I only noticed two finished flower stocks and one just passed its best.  The Thyme Broomrape has come into flower and looks great in combination with the hundreds of Pyramidal Orchids. 

  Bee Orchid
Thyme Broomrape

Common Spotted Orchids

Common Blue Butterfly

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