We didn't arrive at the ringing site until after 8am but we soon set about erecting two 18m nets in a likely spot close to lough shore. It was clear that it was a going to be a good session as we had managed to capture 14 birds before we had actually opened the nets fully! After 3 hours we packed up and headed for home but had caught a massive 83 Sedge Warbler, 13 Reed Warbler, 6 Reed Bunting and 2 Willow Warbler. The catch 13 Reed Warblers is probably a record for a single day catch in NI and 83 Sedge Warblers is by far our biggest. The vast majority were birds of the year including 79 of the Sedge Warblers. A 6am start would have easily produced double the numbers. We were surprised not to get a control amongst the big catch but there is a good chance of one or two being recovered on the way south.
The gun club have recorded up to 6 singing male Reed Warblers in the direct vicinity so there is probably a sizeable population across the greater area. An estimate of 1000+ Sedge Warblers wouldn't be far off the mark for the same area. It was also a great spot for wildfowl watching with plenty of Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Mallard on the water and a Black-headed Gull breeding colony on the offshore island.
On Monday the 17th John, Ken, Nick and I had the second go at catching Storm Petrels this summer in good conditions. We had the net open between 23.30 and 01.30 and managed a catch of 9 birds. There didn't seem to be too many more Stormies about but we will hopefully hit better passage in the coming weeks. An extra bit of interest was the capture of a Common Pipistrelle bat early on which is a fairly regular occurrence - potentially the same bats/family each time!
Myself, Ken and Nick