More, more comment from HVRS (Main Area)
Here are some comments and impressions gained from my part-time ringing at HVRS for the 2nd half of May.
There has been much chatter lately about such as Thrush Nightingales - or lack of them: we have done unusually well for them at the Agmon this spring. Normally we catch about 5 in a spring, but I expect we have caught around 20 this spring, mostly mid to late May. Other less usual (for HVRS) species have included several Red-backed Shrikes and at least 3 Barred Warblers. We normally catch 0 or 1 Barred Warblers. We have also caught more than usual of Lesser Whitethroats this spring and, also, in the 2nd half of May more than usual of age 3 Whitethroats. I just wonder how much of this is due to the "unusual" spring and how much due to better habitat around the ringing ststion with the specially planted trees and bushes growing up well and the weeds being left unmown this spring.
I have previously commented on the lack of large flocks of hirundines. Generally this has continued to be the case. Yes, we are catching Barn Swallows, but I still feel that we are missing a lot of ssp Rustica. Even so, one that I did ring on 04.05.11 was found dead in Lithuania 20 days later. There was one mega-flock of hirundines, 20,000+ - more than I can count anyway - on 20th May. It is such a sight to see, 19:15 to 19:30, the Agmon closed and everyone gone home thus missing the spectacle of this huge flock stacked over the ringing station. It was seen only by 3 lucky ringers and three less lucky nets that got loaded with 632 birds in a very short time. There were more than 400 Sand Martins in the catch and that is how so many birds were caught in just 3 nets. Sand Martins are smaller and take less space in the net than Swallows. The next evening, the big flock of Sand Martins had gone and we were back to just 2000 or 3000 roosting birds and a catch of 200, mostly Swallows of which most of those identifyable were ssp Transitiva.
Good news on 21st May that Reed Warblers were knocked off the top perch of the daytime catching total, even down to 3rd place. We had a good morning catch of Sand Martins and Swallows from the huge flock that had roosted near the ringing station. The week before, I had taken a catch of 496 roosting hirundines, so we have done quite well for them this month. I should mention that we caught a tiny Sand Martin that turned out to be of ssp Diluta (wing 95, tail 42 wt 9.5g fat 0) thanks to Yoav Perlamn for help in identifying.
- More, more comment from HVRS - Francis Argyle, 29.05.2011, 13:00 (Main Area)