Monday 17 August 2015

Mid August Update

UUC River Site - Saturday 15th of August

John went for a morning session at the river site in calm, fine conditions.  The site hasn't really be used since the spring, so the net rides needed a good bit of work to get the nets open.
The catch wasn't big (c15-20 birds) but he did manage to catch a number of juvenile birds including Song Thrush, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Robin and Chiffchaff.  Included in the other species caught was a Swallow, which is something we don't really catch outside roosts. 



Portstewart Strand -  Sunday 16th of August

I struggled to get out of bed this morning, so I wasn't on site until 06.45, arriving to find a search and rescue in operation.  The rescue helicopter had been brought up from County Sligo and various quads and groups of people were searching through the dune system/beach.  Thankfully the person was found safe and well some 12 hours after the search began.  The conditions were fine and sunny, with light winds. 

It was high tide on the estuary so it was very quite, although I did see my first 3 Little Egrets of the year (two years in fact) on the patch and the Grey Heron numbers have increased to 15.  It was weirdly quiet on the land with a lack of Starlings, Goldfinches and Skylarks, only 3 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit and 2 Lesser Redpoll.  Usually there are a few dozen of each species at the least.  The helicopter might have had something to do with it...   

Willow Warbler

The first net round was decent with 10 birds, but in the following hour or so I managed 4 retraps, so I packed up around 09.00 and headed for home.  Last week we had caught 17 birds by 8am, so I probably started too late.  Things should pick up when the berries ripen; perhaps in two weeks.

Sunny net rides

Ringing Totals 06/08/2015
                                        New        Retrap           
Blackcap                            2 
Bullfinch                             1              1
Dunnock                                             3              
Sedge Warbler                                    1                                         
Willow Warbler                  4                                                    
Wren                                   1              

Total                                8                5         

Storm Petrels - Tuesday 11th of August

John, Steve and I tried a sixth attempt at catching Storm Petrels this year at Rinnagree Point on Tuesday night.  The conditions seemed near perfect with good cloud cover, light winds, mild and no bright moon.  We opened up the net at 23.20, with the first bird flying in 6 minutes later.  We had caught 8 birds by around 00.05 but it then went quiet before another 4 birds came in around 00.30.  We caught just 3 more Stormies, coming at 01.07, 01.14 and 01.55.  In between the last two birds we had a bit of excitement when an Oystercatcher was caught.  It was almost followed by a second but it unfortunately missed the net.  In total it was 15 Storm Petrels, taking us to a meagre 92 new birds for the year, well down on regular totals.

John and the Oystercatcher

We have received some information back from the BTO on a couple of the controlled Storm Petrels caught last month. 
The first bird was caught on Ailsa Craig, in the Irish Sea on the 13th of July 2014.  This is the second exchange with the island, with one of our birds being re-caught there previously.  The straight-line distance between the locations is 100km, 389 days in between.
The second bird came from a new location for us and another bird from the east coast of the UK.  It was originally ringed at Kilnsea Clays, East Riding, Yorkshire on the 8th of July 2014.  The distance between the sites is 475km, 370 days between. 
We also received word from Declan Clarke from the Irish Midlands Ringing Group to say that he recovered one of our birds on the 11th of August at Portacloy in County Mayo.  We originally ringed the bird on the 26th of July last year and it is the second bird we have exchanged with Declan.  Distance  = 221km. 

I'll maybe map them later this week if I get a chance!

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