Out of the Ordinary

Sunday, September 11th 2016

It is the Mipit season so of course the weather forecast is usually for wind and rain, cold and the first frosts.  Not quite as bad recently, only very strong winds, which is not good when you are on top of the world!  Tony, who watches the forecast with eagle eyes, spotted a break in the weather so a late email called those ringers that could, to meet at the Crater at 6am on Saturday. 

It was a small team that raised the nets and installed the new speaker lures.  As soon as this one was switched on the Mipits appeared from every direction. 

New speaker system

Although some preferred to hide in the undergrowth.

Hiding Mipit

Net rounds returned many birds, by lunch time numbers usually decrease but no, they still kept coming.

Returning from a net round

As the day moved on there were some beautiful cloud formations.

Cloud formations

Whilst ringing this larger bird was spotted and it was a Green Woodpecker as can easily be seen by this 'brilliant' photograph!

Green Woodpecker

The majority of the birds caught were Meadow Pipits but Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Wren and Sparrowhawk all put in an appearance,  as did this juvenile Linnet.  It was just starting to moult and show its red breast feathers.

Juvenile Linnet

There was no lull in the birds coming through and the ringers, Tony, Roger, Jenny and Sophie were kept very busy.  New strings of 100 rings, were repeatedly put on the table and used.

Birds were still being caught late in the aftenoon, which is very unusual.  It was also noticeable that slightly older birds, those in post juvenile moult were caught in the morning, whilst as the day progressed it was younger birds that were coming through.  

We can often see a sunrise at the Crater and some are spectacular, but we have never before watched the sun beginning to set.

Sun beginning to set

Nor have we seen the moon rise!

Moon rise

The nets were finally taken down and all the kit was returned to its particular place in cars and landrover.

The small team of ringers left to a glorious sunset.

A glorious sunset

Tony's comment at the end of the day "I never like to over egg what we do but that was indeed out of the ordinary! I would be surprised if any of us ever witness a day like it ever again!"

Why was it out of the ordinary?  The weather was perfect, no wind, not too hot, and sunny. Over 500 birds were ringed during the day. The weight of the Mipits ranged from 14.8g to 19.8g which is only 5g difference between over 500 birds. Some birds were just beginning to lay down fat, ready for their long migration south. The BTO collate all this data and it enables them to look at trends in our bird populations. 

It was a very special day, quite out of the ordinary.  Thanks go to the ringers who worked tirelessly throughout and to Glennis and Joan who delivered sausage rolls to the top of the world!

Thanks go also to Sandra, her daughter Jade, Ruth, Ann and the others involved in the Car Boot Sale who very kindly spent the day at Bedale raising over £200 for the reserve - a sterling effort by everyone!


(1) Comments:

Jack Daw responded on 11th Sep 2016 with...

Picture of Jack Daw

What an amazing day, that’s some serious grafting to process that lot. Well done and some experience for those ringing.


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