Thursday, 9 August 2012

Swallow roost success

On Tuesday night I went out with the Sorby Breck Ringing Group  for the first of the year's Swallow roost ringing sessions at The Avenue Washlands site in Chesterfield.

The Avenue at nightfall

We set up at about 6.30pm and managed to get a small catch as the first few birds began to arrive at the reedbed. This first catch contained 2 Sand Martins (a ringing tick for me), a Reed Bunting and 1 Swallow. However, this was just the start as, by the end of the night, we'd caught an amazing total of 150 birds!! Of these, 143 were Swallows with the others being those mentioned above along with 3 Reed Warblers. What a night!

The Sand Martins that we caught were my first encounter with this species, but, as seen in the photos below, were very easy to age as their plumage was very different.

Juvenile bird

Adult bird

One of the real joys of ringing birds is when you recapture a bird that has been ringed before. In amongst tonight's Swallows was one adult that was wearing a ring. On checking the group's records it turned out that this bird had been ringed at the same site by a member of our group on 31st August 2011 as a juvenile bird. This bird, therefore, has flown all the way to South Africa, spent the winter there and then flown back to Britain to breed again this year. Pretty amazing!! Hopefully we'll see him again next year and perhaps also some of this year's birds. Fingers crossed.

Other birds seen on site tonight were: Swift (approx.10 and my latest ever record in Derbyshire), House Martin, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Canada Goose and Barnacle Goose ( 1 feral bird with the Canadas),

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