Monday, 15 September 2008

Weekend update

Pfff.... Briefly, spent the weekend helping on a ringing course at Slapton, which coincided with the largest ever catch of birds at the site - we ringed a total of 732 birds, with 60-odd recaptures and a French-ringed Sedge Warbler also caught. Busy times, coping with all that and about 10 complete novices being trained in some of the basics of ringing! Much of the catch was Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), about 400 of them, in fact. The only reasonably scarce bird caught was a Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia). A couple of highlights away from the birds in the hand were a flock of Brent Geese (Branta bernicla) flying past to the north on Saturday, then another flock of 16 close ishore on the Sunday - these identifiable as Pale-bellied Brent (B. b. hrota). The first flock of Wigeon (Anas penelope) arrived on the Ley on Sunday and a couple of Hobby (Falco subbuteo) were hunting hirundines and invertebrates each morning. Best of all, however, was to round a net on Sunday and come face-to-face with an Otter (Lutra lutra)! We're seeing them increasingly on and around the Ley now, so it wasn't that unexpected, but very pleasant nonetheless.

Star bird from this morning is this female Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus): the first I've ringed in this country. Feisty girl, that one!

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