Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Red Sky At Night Ringers Delight

Yesterday evening Ian, Will and I went to Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park to try our hand at catching some of the roosting Swallows. For a few days now there have been up to a thousand Swallows coming into roost in the reeds. There have also been some Starlings roosting but we were hoping they would keep away from our mist nets and they did.

We had to cut two net rides through the reeds to the waters edge and two nets were duly erected and a Swallow song and calls were played on the MP3 player. It was now a case of waiting.

We had the company of two Foxes as we sat at the table and they kept a careful eye on us from the 'shallow' pool. About 15 Pied Wagtails headed north towards dusk and I assumed that they were heading to a roost somewhere on the docks or in Fleetwood itself.

As the Swallows started to arrive, accompanied by the odd House and Sand Martin, a number of Swifts were feeding low and also climbing high in the sky. In total we had 43 screeching around. At one point 60 Lapwings flew over and then we knew the reason why as 3 Grey Herons flew in after, presumably, flushing the Lapwings off the saltmarsh.

Just as we were starting to catch a few Swallows a female Sparrowhawk made an appearance and probably prevented our catch from being a little higher. We ringed 5 Reed Warblers before the roost and retrapped a Whitethroat and 2 further Reed Warblers.

Reed Warbler - adult

It got quite late and I thought we weren't going to catch any Swallows but eventually we managed to catch and ring 31, with a ratio of 9 adults to 22 juveniles. As the sky turned from red to black we took our nets down and headed home.


Sunset over the Nature Park

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