Sunday, 7 August 2016

It’s Amazing What Turns up in Your Nets at 0500

A trainee writes: It’s been busy at Stanford reservoir in the last few weeks. We are now truly up to our ears in juvenile birds (‘3Js’ in ringing parlance; the ‘3’ means it is this year’s bird and the ‘J’ that it is still in juvenile plumage). 
On Monday 1st August Mick and Peter went out ringing along the poplars at Stanford and logged up 115 new birds, with 40 Whitethroat and 26 Blackcap. However, the main surprise was found at 0500 by Peter who came across a strange large brown bird in a net. But hang on, are birds meant to be hairy? Expertise was clearly called for and Mick duly attended our first bat of the year. But not any bat, this was a Noctule, the largest bat in Britain. Mick extracted it with some robust language ringing around the reservoir. As can be seen this is a very handsome animal with some alarming teeth which it is not reluctant to use. We then had the opportunity to take some pictures. When we were finished, the bat had clearly taken a bit of a liking to Mick, and in fact would not fly, so we draped it on a tree, from where it eventually flew off.

Saturday 6 August was our regular CES day. Mick was out early putting up nets in the pitch dark (not sure how he manages this). We had a good turn out; Dave, Stuart, Dawn and Peter arrived at a marginally more civilised 0430, joined by Viv who was with us to be assessed for her ‘A’ permit (success, well done Viv!). Jo also turned up to make a guest appearance and hog any glamorous birds which we might have. We had a stonking morning, with 156 new birds and 52 re-traps, of which 85 were Whitethroats, mainly 3Js. Considering that this has been a rather wet and cool Spring/ Summer, this is a great result! 

Peter Norrie