2 May 2014

First CES

The first week of May sees the start of CES (Consant Effort Site) season at Gunwalloe, using standardised mist-netting to monitor the abundance, productivity and survival of breeding birds. This is our fourth year of CES in the reedbed at Gunwalloe and in all that time we've never managed to fit in the first visit due to windy weather, so today was a bit of a novelty! But a good novelty though, as in amongst the 16 birds caught was this very fine male Whinchat; the first to be caught by the group.

More usual fare were the returning warblers, with five Sedge and four Reed caught, including birds first ringed in 2011 and 2012. Interestingly, Y010039 was ringed as an adult on 25th May 2011, so is now at least five years old. Strangely, after ringing in May 2011, it was recaught 20 days later but not again until today... Not quite sure how it managed to evade nets for all that time!

Y101039, originally ringed as an adult in May 2011
Another bird with an interesting history is Reed Bunting L961915, ringed as a juvenile in August 2011 and then recaught just once each year since; in July 2012, July 2013 and then today.

The down side is that the reedbed site hasn't dried out much since last autumn and is, to say the least, a bit muddy now, requiring chest waders to stay vaguely clean. But even that doesn't help much and the only way to really clean up at the end of the session is the little-known 'grass angel' technique...

The main reedbed net ride at Gunwalloe

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