Minimal birding opportunities today I'm afraid, but a family party of Spotted Flycatchers around the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir this evening was a pleasant surprise.
The Pitsford Reservoir reserve as managed by Wildlife Trust wardens has for many years attracted a team of volunteers keen to monitor all aspects of wildlife on-site. We enjoy regular meetings, and it is a fine opportunity to share information and support one another in all aspects of wildlife disciplines.
Although a warm (and wet) summer, the numbers of moths captured and monitored on-site this year has only been about on par with average years. Two moth traps are run every night and all specimens attracted are examined, identified and released every morning. A Small Rufous moth captured on 1st August was a first for Pitsford, despite being a wetland species. A recent 'moth night' event held at The Fishing Lodge to coincide with National Moth Night was successful and well-attended, despite a very poor weather forecast.
National Moth Night for 2015 will be 12th - 15th September and again Pitsford will be holding an event on the reserve.
To date, about 1730 birds have been ringed at the reservoir this year which includes juvenile Common Terns on the rafts, juvenile Tawny Owls from the boxes, some waterfowl and of course plenty of warblers, tits etc. Ten of the required twelve Constant Effort Site sessions have been completed.
Other breeding bird monitoring requires eight Common Bird Census visits to the reserve, whereby a recorder walks a set transect around the whole of the reserve recording all relevant birds seen and heard in an effort to successfully plot breeding territories. All these CBC visits were completed by the end of July and these sheets will be scrutinised in an effort to evaluate such territories and the health of most species.
Plenty of other monitoring is on-going, which by example includes identification of freshwater plankton and the recent discovery of a very rare slime mould. Much of this activity is documented in an annual report which is due to be published this month.
To conclude, Sarah Gibbs the Senior Reserve Warden, took to the air recently on a private light aircraft flight and some of her images of Pitsford Reservoir feature as the footer to this blog (please scroll down to the bottom to view).