Woolston Eyes Monthly Sightings


Dave Riley was on No1 bed on the Friday afternoon, when the breeze restricted the catch to 32 birds, 22 new, with the majority after 18.30. He was joined the following day by Stacey Whiteley and a further 45 birds were caught with 38 new. Overall, good numbers of Reed Warbler (19) were ringed, along with Willow Warbler (12) and Blackcap (9), along with 2 Garden warblers. Sightings on the bed included Water Rail and Green Woodpecker.

On No3 bed, it was another big week of generally favourable weather. Ringing took place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday resulting in 394 captures (327 new, 66 retraps and one British control Reed Warbler). Totals were boosted on Friday evening with their first successful roost catch. A flock of about 500 Swallows formed over the bed and happily came down pretty much right on top of the net. We ended with 101 new Swallows, 3 new Sand Martins and a retrap Swallow that they ringed as a 3 in the roost on 21st August 2010. Other highlights were within the 168 new warblers ringed.

The only sighting of note on the bed was a Hobby hunting the roost on Friday evening.



Dave Riley and Zoe Houghton were ringing on No1 bed on the Friday afternoon, catching 58 birds, with the 49 new including 2 Garden Warblers. On the Saturday morning Dave was joined by Stace Whiteley and caught a further 44 birds, with 37 new. Over the two sessions, good numbers of Willow Warblers (21), Chiffchaffs (14) and Reed Warblers (11) were caught, while a Goldcrest, originally ringed in June was retrapped.

Sightings on the bed included a Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Nuthatch, 500+ Swifts and 30+ Chiffchaffs.

With the weather unpredictable ringing was not as extensive on no3 bed as in recent weeks. Kieran Foster and Mike Miles tried for Swallows on Tuesday night but it was a case of “nice try but no cigar” as the roost came in about 30 metres from their nets and they ended with 3 Swallows and a Reed Warbler. The forecast said rain Wednesday morning so they did not leave any nets set . In the event it would have been dry if a bit breezy. On Friday Mike did his usual routine of setting nets for the following morning and using just a few of them for the afternoon. In 4 nets he caught 51 birds including another Garden Warbler. Kieran joined him early evening and they tried again for Swallows with more success catching 27 juvenile Swallows and 1 Sand Martin. On the Saturday morning they were joined by Danny and, with just 3 of them ran a restricted number of nets in ideal conditions. They ended with 136 birds. The 114 new birds included 92 Warblers including 4 more Garden Warblers and their first Lesser Whitethroat of the year. Also notable were a new juvenile Willow Tit and a juvenile Coal Tit. They ended the week with 219 captures (177 new and 42 retraps).

Sightings were restricted to a Black-tailed Godwit on the Morgan Scrape and 60 Swifts over the bed on Tuesday evening.



Dave Riley, Zoe Houghton and visiting ringer, Sam Bailey, ringed on No1 bed on the Friday afternoon, catching 57 birds, 48 new, including 2 Garden Warblers along with good numbers of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. They were joined in the evening by Alan Hitchmough and managed to catch 75 hirundines including 67 new Swallows, 6 Sand Martins and 2 British control Swallows.

The following morning, a further 65 birds were caught, 58 new, including their fourth Grasshopper Warbler of the year and their second Great Spotted Woodpecker, along with a British control Blackcap.

Sightings on the bed included 600+ Swallows, Peregrine, Green Woodpecker (all Friday), 2 Tree Sparrows, Tree Pipit, Yellowhammer, and Hobby.

Another week of generally favourable weather if you picked your times. Kieran Foster and Mike Miles ringed No3 bed on Wednesday morning in pretty much ideal conditions catching 132 birds (112 new and 20 retraps). This catch included their first Goldcrest of the year, a juvenile far enough through its post-juvenile moult to confirm it as a female. There had evidently been a good sized roost on Tuesday night because they caught a Sand Martin and two Swallows at dawn without the aid of a lure. Otherwise the highlights were the continuing numbers of warblers, with Blackcaps beginning to peak as the elderberry crop ripens.

Mike spent Friday afternoon setting nets and doing a few chores and Kieran joined him for a go at the roost. A respectable mixed flock of about 600 Swallows and Sand Martins formed up and they took a nice catch of 62 Swallows containing only two adults. Their inability to connect with the Sand Martins remains a puzzle.

With Kieran on his way to Ireland, on Saturday morning Mike was joined by Margaret and Jason. Conditions were not as good, with bright sun and a little too much wind but they managed 112 birds (85 new and 27 retraps), the three Garden Warblers took them to 36 for the year to date. This is their highest annual figure beating last year”s 34. Two of these Garden Warblers weighed over 23 gm with a fat score of 5. These are their first really “fat” migrants. The catch also included their second Lesser Whitethroat of the year and a retrapped Willow Tit that was originally ringed on No1 bed.

The week ended with 333 captures (276 new and 57 retraps).



The showery weather reduced the ringing opportunities over the weekend, with Dave Riley managing just three hours on No1 bed on the Friday, catching 11 birds, all new, including 2 Garden warlers and 5 Chiffchaffs. The Saturday morning was almost as bad, mainly using two nets, he and Stacey Whiteley caught 28 birds, 27 new, including anothe 5 Chiffchaffs, 1 Sedge Warbler and 5 Blackcaps. Out of the 38 new birds ringed, 27 were warblers. Sightings on the bed included male Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and over flying Tree Pipit.

The No3 bed team had better luck on the Sunday morning, catching 96 new birds, with a high number of Blackcaps (49) amongst them. Other new birds included 8 Reed Warblers, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Sedge Warblers and 2 Willow Tits.

Other sighting on the reserve included 250 Gadwall (21st) on No3 along with 100+ Common Blue butterflies on No1 bed, up to 2 Green Sandpipers during the week, 4 Ruff, Hobby, Greenshank on the loop, female type Marsh Harrier, 142 Shoveler and 53 Teal.