This morning heralded the first of the Constant Effort Site (CES) ringing sessions at Pitsford Res, which takes place in the Scaldwell Bay. The general idea is that ringing takes place regularly at a site that remains much the same habitat-wise, with a consistent number of nets positioned in exactly the same manner during the relevant season and every year. A number of schemes are managed up and down the country and it is a powerful tool in assessing numbers of adult and juvenile birds, breeding productivity and relative abundance and survival rates. However all this means being at the ringing hut in the Scaldwell Bay for a 5am start! On my cycle down there, a roadside Little Owl 'gave me the evil eye' whilst it was being mobbed by a Blackbird.
The local Cuckoo was on the go from before dawn and small numbers of common warblers were in song. Some 50 birds were caught during the morning with half of them birds previously caught on-site. Blackcap and Long-tailed Tit were the most numerous species, and among these two species there were relatively old birds, initially ringed in 2009. Eight species of warbler sang from the bushes including a phyllosc singing both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler songs and sometimes mixing them together in the same delivery. This isn't as unusual as it sounds; most years there are a couple of 'confused' birds that do this. A single Siskin didn't stay long but a Tawny Owl was out hunting until mid-morning.
Harrington Airfield was very quiet this morning with no new birds of interest and the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton was much the same.
An evening walk at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell provided a brief view of the Short-eared Owl again, plus a Barn Owl and a Hobby.
E & N