Tuesday 10 August 2021

Back in Action - early April 2021

The Covid-19 Pandemic halted play again at the turn of the year meaning that ringing outside of our properties was not possible, until the restrictions eased on the 4th of April.

Having not ringed any birds since the 12th of December, I was keen to get out on the first chance I got. The forecast on the 11th of April looked fine, so I headed for the dunes at Portstewart Strand to kick off the season. The weather wasn't playing ball and it decided to snow on route, leading to a stalled start. I waited a while and eventually opened two nets through the gorse scrub along the shore. In the cool, dull conditions it was quiet and just five birds were caught - a Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird and a retrap Blackbird and Wren. The ominous dark clouds started to build at 8am, so the nets were taken down promptly, just before a heavy and prolonged snow shower set in.

The following Saturday I was back down along the estuary shore on a dry morning but in slightly breezy conditions. Three nets were erected in sheltered spots with a catch of 10 birds including the first migrants of the year with 3 Willow Warblers. 

A Short-eared Owl being mobbed by the gulls (patch tick), a Grasshopper Warbler and 3 Tufted Duck were new for year patch list. I also undertook the annual spring clean along the shore after the winter floods.

On the 24th April, I returned to Portstewart Strand and was again struggling with breezy conditions.  The easterly winds delivered some migrants early doors with my first Whitethroat of the year, 2 Greenland Wheatears, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 LRedpolls + 9 other birds before packing up at 9am. I also sighted an Otter & my first GVW butterflies of year.

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