Somewhere in southern England... cool, still, sunny, sw 3 later - Set off early this morning with a car load of RM locals for a ringing demonstration. On arrival our hearing was assailed (or at least it was for the youngsters in the group!) with tapes of bird song, guaranteed to entice nocturnal migrants down to feed in the thick cover, and bounce into some of the 4,000 feet of strategically erected mist nests in scrub and reedbed. Our host for the morning was superb, showing us a range of migrants and resident species in the hand and giving us an insight into the tricks of the trade and results of their work. On average they ring over 40,000 birds a year (of which over 90% are trapped during the autumn) on a scale that is unmatched anywhere else on Earth, so it was odds on we were in for a treat. Half a dozen ringers were working flat out processing numerous warblers of which we clocked up nine species in the hand, including the elusive Grasshopper Warbler; of the `hundreds` (up to 800 some years!) of Groppers that are ringed here annually nearly all are caught during the first net round of the morning and in the lowest mist net panel. Was also interesting to learn than many juvenile migrants from western Britain and Ireland, `coast` eastwards so as to shorten the sea crossing, whereas the more experienced adults just `go for it`, so`s to speak.
As well as the warblers we also had Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart and Whinchat in the hand, plus calling Tree Pipit and Tawny Owl by the car park.
We than went for a wander racking several Buzzards, Hobby, an unusual leucistic Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Yellow and Grey Wagtail overhead, plus plenty of hirundines and Goldfinches,
Thanks are due to all concerned for a thoroughly enjoyable and informative morning.
Scotney - Back on the Marsh and a stop off produced a pair of Peregrines dicing with death amongst the wind turbines, Marsh Harrier, 3 Wheatears, Mipits, Yellow Wagtails, Sand Martins plus all the usual wildfowl including 2 Ruddy Shelducks and 7 Egyptian Geese.
A skirt around Galloways yielded nothing more than half a dozen Stonechats and a couple of Common Whitethroats.
ARC - A selection of waders on the shingle ridges included 50 Goldies, 5 Dunlins and singles of Redshank, Green Sandpiper and Greenshank, plus all the usual ducks and egrets; earlier this morning from the causeway road we also had a Merlin which made for a pretty decent raptor day to go with the warblers.