Not a Quiet Day!

Monday, May 2nd 2016

Bird ringers arrived at Foxglove with the sun rising across the reserve.  It was the first day of CES.  A 0530 start. (Constant Effort Site - where the same nets are put up for the same length of time, 10 1/2 hours on the same day for 12 days during the summer.)

Sun rising

The sun was catching the tops of the trees.

Sun catching the top of the trees

There was a Tawny Owl calling and the Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming.  Greylag Geese were on the lake and shouting as they flew overhead.

CES nets were raised first.

Raising the nets

All was calm. The ringers carried out net rounds as they raised other nets.  Fifty bags were in the box and that was plenty.  A quiet day in prospect judging by the last few weeks and the fact that the Lesser Redpolls had moved on.   Some birds were returned to the ringing room and a request for more bags.  We had not needed more than 50 for several weeks.  Eventually all 150 bags were in circulation and the ringing room hooks were filled.  It soon dawned on everyone that this was not going to be such a quiet day, but we knew that there would be fewer birds as noon approached.

The ringing room

During the morning our sausage rolls arrived.  They were very welcome.  Thank you so much Glennis.

Arrival of sausage rolls

Noon came and went and still the birds arrived.

The ringing room

By this time we realised it was going to be very busy.  Once the birds had been processed the data was entered into IPMR.  Thank you to Linda and Ken who helped with this task.

Usually there is time to take some photographs.  It just did not happen as everyone was so busy with net rounds, ringing and checking birds.  The last net round as the nets come down is usually bird free, it was not so and more birds arrived.  The ringers headed for home about 1800.

 Once Tony was home and caught his breath he worked on the data and sent this out to the ringers.

'Yesterday was quite a day. It was, rather strangely, the biggest day ever over the 24 years now we have been doing CES at Foxglove. It reminded me of ringing at foreign observatories which are designed to have the biggest possible through put of birds, and you probably heard me say it was the most consistent days ringing I have done for some time. It even exceeded the totals we did in a single day while the ringing courses were on going at Foxglove when we had every single net in the place open.

The nearest numbers we have ever achieved were 336 on CES 9 in 2011, and 310 on CES 1 in 2013.

I want to thank you all for your help and perseverance because it was a testing day. Among the retraps were no less than 5 Lesre controls (birds caught and ringed elsewhere and then caught at FGC) which brings the total over the past month to close to 20, which is completely unheard of.

I am grateful to everyone, Glennis for the hot sausage rolls, all of those that brought food in from home, Catherine who baked and brought in hot cookies, Ken and Linda who battled on all day providing tea, scribing and so on, John for emptying many of the bags at the end, and Sophie and Roger for coming in specially late on to help with the final tranches of birds. I can't afford to forget Elizabeth without whom I would have all these birds to put in here at home myself. It was a real team effort and one you should all be proud of. It was particulary useful to the newer members of the group who had lots to go at and an ideal opportunity to consolidate ageing and extraction skills. I doubt any CES yesterday in the country did even half that number and for many that would equate to the entire year's catch!'

Some of the numbers :-

Lesser Redpolls newly ringed - 89 (As we left the back garden was still full of Lesser Redpolls feeding from feeders and on the ground.  There had been very few during the last week, some had obviously moved on and some more arrived.)

Chaffinches 45 ringed

Willow Warbler 16

Siskin 13

There were 22 species caught, including the first Blackcaps, 197 new birds and 204 retraps giving a total of 401.

A very busy special day. 

Last night we received this comment

Thank you very much to all the ringers at Foxglove Covert today. In particular, I would like to thank Tony who patiently allowed me to hold some of the birds and let me release them. I was thrilled to be with you all today and to observe the birds so closely. You were all so incredibly busy which proves what a great success Foxglove Covert is. The range of species and numbers of birds must be very encouraging for you all. I hope I didn't get in the way.

Best wishes to you all.

Janet Hutchinson


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