10 August 2015

Reedbed roost and ruins

With a small break in the weather we finally managed to fit in a CES session at Guwalloe Marsh on Saturday, so while we were there we did a Swallow roost in the reedbed the night before. With well over a thousand Swallows gathering, the birds looked good, the weather looked good and we had our first big Swallow catch of the autumn.

After a long night processing, we ended up with 174 Swallows (inc 14 adults), four Sand Martins and some odds and sods, so a good (if late) start to the hirundine season.

Swallows ready to be processed and put to bed in our roost box
Poor night-time pic, but nice comparison of adult and juvenile Sand Martin
And an even worse photo of them going in the morning!

We followed the roost up by sleeping over by the marsh and then getting up for CES in the morning. The weather was kind for a change and with an extra net the final total of 89 birds was pretty acceptable, including 32 Sedge Warblers and 14 Reed Warblers. Only 69 of these were from standard nets, but this total is our highest ever for Visit 10.

What was apparent was that birds were already fattening up for migration, with several Sedge Warblers carrying lots of fuel: compare the Fat 0 bird weighing 9.1g to the Fat 7 bird weighing 16.7g and you'll get the idea. It was also interesting that it was the adult birds that were the fattest, with the average juvenile weight being 10.8g compared to 13.1g for adults.

Yet another dire photo, this time of a Fat 7 Sedge Warbler

Just to add a bit of culture to the day, we also stopped off to have a nose round the ongoing archaeological dig on the clifftop. The site is a mediaeval settlement and would have been the largest in the Kerrier area, so a bit of a change from the single farm and holiday shop here now! But with some fascinating archaeology on show it was a rather interesting aside...

Apparently these are two walls of an old iron age building

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