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Last Day at the Crater

Sunday, September 27th 2015

The bird  ringers were back at the Crater this morning.  Net rounds returned with birds including some juvenile Goldfinch.  As we watched, there were flocks flying around and descending onto the stands of thistles to feed.  These groups of Goldfinches can be called a charm, a chirm, a drum or a troubling of Goldfinches.

A charm of Goldfinches

Reed Buntings have been scarce both at the Crater and at Foxglove, so it was good to ring two juvenile males today.

Male juvenile Reed Bunting

Over 50 Mipits were caught. Many less than a week ago.  We decided that the Mipit migration south, over the Crater was almost at an end.  A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed this season.  

The sun rose, so too did the temperature. Butterflies became active.  Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Heath and Small Tortoiseshell were recorded.

Small Tortoiseshell

At this time of year we see many Fox Moth caterpillars at the Crater.  Their food plants include Heathers, Bilberry and Creeping Willow on moors and heaths, Bramble and Meadowsweet in wet habitats and Salad Burnet on downland.

The caterpillars can be seen from July to April, with fully grown ones being up to 7cm in length. They have long brown hairs on the sides of the body and shorter dark orange hairs on the upper surface.  Although they hibernate, on warm sunny days in April they can emerge to sunbathe before pupating.  Adults are on the wing during May and June.

Fox Moth caterpillar

Not sure which is the head end and which the tail!

Fox Moth caterpillar

As we prepared to leave, a flock of Pink-footed Geese flew over arriving from their breeding grounds in Spitsbergen, Iceland and Greenland, to spend the winter here.  In the distance six Buzzards could be seen circling on the thermals.

(2) Comments:

Tony Crease responded on 27th Sep 2015 with...

Today is really the culmination of the summer season for the ringers, and the work we have done at Foxglove, on the Training Area, at Bellflask and Cape Wrath, with CES, the nesting season and Mipits at the crater, not forgetting Jack on the plain, all comes to an end. It has been a strange year, and although probably average for many species it will be remembered for the cold, windy weather and the consequent lack of invertebrates in the early summer months.  We felt we did poorly with CES, but listening to others speak we seem to have gotten off lightly, and it could have been much worse. I don’t think any of us have fallen out and we haven’t injured anyone - so that has to be a plus!

There are many we have to thank who help us and here I include the Reserve Managers, the volunteers, those who have provided back up in the form of bag washing and repairs, the sausage roll lady, those who have cooked and baked stickies, and several other people who have helped in many different ways.  We couldn’t do it without you - but we couldn’t do it without the ringers either.  So a huge personal thank you from me to you all for your forbearance, your commitment, your skills, your personal contributions, and in most cases your good humour!

I can’t give any numbers yet because I am still inputting the data, but you will get the details in due course.  A lot has been achieved and although we will continue to ring over the winter, and the Redwings are just round the corner, it will be a bit more relaxed and due to the winter weather you will get more lie - ins at the weekend!

Thank you all once again, the scribe too, for a very successful summer season.  It is a huge credit to you all.

David McGrath responded on 28th Sep 2015 with...

Thank you for a great day - I learned loads

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