Ian and I had an attempt to ring some Swallows last night but we were led a right merry dance! Unfortunately the Swallows aren't roosting in their traditional reedbed at the moment, and the reedbed they are in entails a fifteen minute walk with all the gear to get to!
We just put up one 60 foot net and MP3 lures were switched on and we waited, and waited and waited! Swallows were arriving and coming down to investigate the MP3 players and then moving away and they looked to be heading towards the traditional roost site" And when I say traditional, it is a roost site that they have been using since at least 1984 to my knowledge.
In the end we decided to take the net down and head over to the other reedbed to see if they were going in there. As we were walking away birds were starting to drift back, so we stopped to watch and about 2,000 were coming in to roost! All that was happening was that they were coming in later, perhaps to maximise their feeding time, and when we thought they were moving off towards the old roost they were just flying around to have a pre-roost feed over the large areas of grassland. It wasn't really a wasted journey I suppose, because at least we sorted that out.
We did manage to ring a couple of Reed Warblers, Sedge Warbler and a Swallow. Interestingly the Reed Warbler that I processed was absolutely full of fat and a heavy bird, so was probably fattening up in readiness for a quite considerable migratory hop.
We will be back!
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