Friday, 19 July 2013

Swallows and Old Reed Warblers

No pictures today I'm afraid as it was a little busy ringing Swallows yesterday evening. First of all Ian and I had to cut a 100 foot by 10 feet net ride through the reeds in the sweltering heat and I must have sweated a few pounds off I can tell you! Work completed, we put the nets up, put the MP3 players on and waited.

It was difficult to estimate how many Swallows were actually coming in because the view over the reedbed is obscured by some trees and we went in to extract the Swallows before they had gone to roost so that we didn't catch too many as there was only two of us. Having said all that I think there must have been somewhere in the region of a 1,000 - 1,500 birds roosting.

We managed to ring 61 birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):

Swallow - 56 (4)
Sand Martin - 1
Reed Warbler - 2 (2)
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Bunting - 1

The four Swallow recaptures were all controls and details have been entered into the BTO's Integrated Population Monitoring Reporter (IPMR) so it will be interesting to see where they have come from. Having said that if D006682, D006621, D006680 and Y782898 are yours please let me know.

The two Reed Warbler recaptures were very interesting. One was originally ringed in 2006 and the other in 2005 at one of our other reedbed sites close by. At the time of ringing they were both aged as adults which makes them respectively at least eight and nine years old!  The 2006 bird hadn't been recaptured again until last night and the 2005 bird was recaptured in 2011 and 2012. It is fascinating to think how many times these birds weighing 11.5 g have crossed the Sahara, mind boggling!

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