Monday, 20 July 2009

Slapton calling...

Slapton calling to the faraway lands
Now autumn's declared - migration's at hand
Slapton calling to the travelling birds
Get into my reedbeds, you boys and girls
Slapton calling, they're looking at us
Sedgers and Chiffies with wanderlust
Slapton calling, see we ringed up them birds
Better stop now 'cause I'm all out of words...

And I probably could never apologise sufficiently to The Clash for that mangling. Oh yes.

A good weekend's ringing, especially considering we could only use one day of it - the rest was too windy. We managed a whole 50 new birds and an additional 9 which had been ringed before. The bulk of the catch was, as expected, Reed Warblers, but evidence of autumn migration came with the first juvenile Sedge Warblers - five sparkly-fresh buff and black smoothies. One of my favourites; hence the eulogising! Beyond that, the day was quite well packed with an assortment of juvenile residents (no, not referring to the inhabitants of Slapton village - what a suggestion!).

Not content with the day, we trundled off to Prawle Point to try for Storm Petrels. This was a bit of an experiment, particularly as Nik's always said he's caught very few there. True enough, we caught only 13 over 3 hours, but of those birds, one had a Portuguese ring and another a British ring. Even more interesting, the British ring proved to be one we'd ringed ourselves over the midsummer weekend, on the Land's End peninsula! Nice to have a movement like that within the same year.

Waking up at 6:30 the next morning to a panorama of wildly-waving willow (it's not what you think, officer, honest) was a bit of a relief really. We cleared up and out, and I set myself the geeky challenge of 'let's identify everything you possibly can between France Wood and base, via the seafront and the nature trail'. Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, come to look at that. Oh well. I botanised my way to oblivion - 203 species, whilst the fauna came out a very poor second, with something like 40 species identified. Given that normally I'd expect more than 50 species of bird in that area, it was a bit poor, but a force 6-7 wind didn't help matters much, I suppose.

Anyway, a few piccies of the days:

Storm Petrel. This one sans carrot, unlike the Cornish birds.

Baby 1: Chiffchaff

Baby 2: Goldfinch

Baby 3: Great Tit

Baby 4: Robin

Baby 5: Reed Warbler. Notice the emerging quasi-Bluethroat tail... Who's yer daddy??

Yeah, well there were Swifts there earlier.

Wet woodland. Lichen-rich. Now, if I could ID them, I'd be quids in.

Lichens. Pretty patterns to me, but that's all, I'm afraid.

More of them. I know they're crustose and leprose growth forms, but no more than that

A potentially interesting (no, really) trefoil. Looks like it's Hairy BfT, and keyed out to that species in the field. Will be looking for confirmation!

The particularly exciting Strapwort Corrigiola litoralis. Get's worse, doesn't it?!

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