From Dawn till 5

Thursday, August 15th 2013

 Dawn was breaking as the bird ringers met at 6am to head to the Crater, out on the MOD training area.

Dawn at the Crater

From here Teesside can be seen.

Teesside from the Crater

It is not often that the weather is just right for ringing at such a height and conditions can deteriorate very quickly.  This morning it was just perfect!  At this time of year juvenile Meadow Pipits (we call them Mipits!) flock to the area to feed before heading south.  It is noticeable that there is a range in their wing size and weight.  Some are obviously quite young and still have some growing to do.

As this one was being photographed he looked up, as other birds were flying over and calling.  He was quickly released to join them.

Juvenile Meadow Pipit

The ringing room at Foxglove has excellent facillities for bird ringing.  Out on the moor some DIY has to be employed and the Landrover became an integral part for Sophie's hooks, on which to hang the bird bags.


DIY for ringing

 Over 100 Mipits were ringed today and a Willow Warbler and Swallow were caught too.


Overnight at Foxglove the moth trap.had been set along one of the paths.  A good place to catch moths!  Over 100 moths of 30 species were caught.  It was a marathon task to identify all these moths. 

There were many beautifully marked and coloured moths in the trap and when released some sat very still, so photographs could be taken.  This Swallow Prominent moth has lovely markings but when looked at head on he is furry, he even has furry legs!

Head on Swallow Prominent moth

Whilst having a break from checking dots and lines, square spots and round spots, the identifying team found yet another moth!

The moth ID team!

Peacock Butterflies put on a show for the many visitors who enjoyed walking around the reserve today.  There were many sightings reported back, but Kingfisher, Buzzard and Water Vole were the highlights. 

Later in the day this Speckled Wood was caught in the sunshine.

Speckled Wood

And finally a grasshopper who sat still!


Volunteers worked on many tasks yesterday and the variety of jobs continued today, bird ringing, identifying moths, meeting and greeting visitors, making tea, washing up, checking and repairing nest boxes and checking the orchards.  Many, many thanks to everyone who helped.

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