Thursday, 8 June 2017

Pitsford update


Yesterday on a blustery, but thankfully dry morning two Wildlife Trust staff and five willing volunteers met just behind the Lagoon Hide at Pitsford Reservoir to spend five hours to use their joint expertise and log as many of the species of all disciplines in this previously under-recorded corner of the reserve. This was another Pitsford Bio-blitz day! The Trust have been lucky enough to benefit from photographs taken with a drone showing the current extent of the vegetation and water levels and the team happily ventured through the undergrowth attempting to identify everything from the major trees in the area – many of them good size oaks and willows – right down to the bryophytes and all the insects and birds on the wing – even the massive deer flies survived in the interests of science!

It was not possible to identify everything in the field, or even back at base afterwards.  Many little glass phials were brought home to be studied and their contents correctly classified using reference works too cumbersome to take into the field.  A comprehensive list will be compiled later for anyone who is interested and also for adding to the Trust’s records and similar events are planned to attend to more corners of the reserve which escape the attention of the other major recording sessions.

Today (Thursday) and Dave Francis completed a Constant Effort Site ringing session in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford resulting in the capture of 68 birds made up of 13 Great Tits, 11 Blue Tits, 9 Blackcaps, 6 Dunnocks, 6 Blackbirds, 4 Robins, 4 Wrens, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Bullfinches, 2 Garden Warblers, a Kingfisher, a Coal Tit and a Chaffinch.

The powerful weather of the last few days has caused Swifts to gather at Pitsford to find their insect prey, nothing like the absolute clouds of a decade ago when a cold June day would attract literally hundreds of these birds, but a considerable congregation nonetheless. Traditionally there are casualties on the Holcot to Brixworth road causeway and sadly a bird was found dead in the road there this evening (the buffeting wind, low level flight and moving traffic creates the recipe for disaster).


Neil M

Of course this is very
much the nesting season
as exampled by images from
Chris Payne of a Swallow nest
with eggs and a Reed Warbler
nest with young.

Large Red Damselfly, image
by Helen Franklin.

John Showers shows how it should
be done! How to net a flying insect
and transfer it to a viewing phial as
part of the bio-blitz!
Images courtesy of Helen

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