August 2013 Highlights

Water Shrew (Roger Peart)

Water Shrew, Longham Lakes, Dorset, 28/8/13 (Roger Peart)

28th August 2013
Bird ringing this morning was a dead loss, but there was a dead gain, too, with the finding of a  juvenile Water Shrew, the first for Longham and the 26th mammal species to be recorded on site. For interest’s sake, the 26 species are:

Grey Squirrel, Northern Water Vole, Bank Vole, Field Vole, Wood Mouse, Yellow-necked Mouse, Harvest Mouse, Brown Rat, Rabbit, Brown Hare, MoleWater Shrew, Common Shrew, Pygmy Shrew, Noctule, Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, Daubenton’s Bat, Red Fox, Badger, Otter, Stoat, Weasel, American Mink, Reeves’ Muntjac, Roe Deer.

(Those in brackets confirmed by signs only, not observations of actual mammal). And talking of signs, the tusk of a Woolly Mammoth was uncovered during the excavation of the lakes.

Meanwhile, ringing for hours produced just 12 new birds and 3 re-traps, one of the lowest ever. This CES season has unearthed 353 individual new birds and 155 retraps as against 424 and 242 last year; a poor season.

25th August
George Green heard a Ringed Plover flying high overhead this morning, just the third site record. Also 1 Hobby, 1 Peregrine, lots of Sand Martins and 120+ young Tufted Ducks. Meanwhile, Chris Parnell noted the first Wigeon of the autumn back on Longham Reservoir South, as well as Shoveler and 3 Kingfishers.

22nd August
Ringing this morning produced a juvenile Redstart, one of just 17 new birds and 5 re-traps captured. By this time last season Roger Peart had caught 57 Willow Warblers, but just 3 so far this year, with 1 today. Other species caught included 1 adult Garden Warbler.

19th August
No birds today but details of 2 recoveries of birds ringed at Longham:
1. A Blackcap (1st year female) ringed at Longham on 7th September 2012 was recovered at Portland Bird Observatory, Dorset, 30th April 2013. (Wintered on continent and was on its way back?)
2. A Reed Warbler ringed at Cardiff Wetland Reserve on 12th September 2012 was controlled at Longham on 14th June 2013. (Work that one out!)

16th August
Alan Pearce had 1 Greenshank today. The Wood Sandpiper was reported again.

14th August
A Wood Sandpiper was reported today, presumably a different bird to that from two weeks ago.
An extra CES ringing visit today revealed 24 new birds and 10 re-traps. Highlight was 1 Lesser Whitethroat, but also 10 new Reed Warblers and 1 Sedge Warbler. Also 2 Southern Hawkers (dragonflies) in nets, released unharmed (Roger Peart).

11th August
David Taylor witnessed a vocal skirmish between a Hobby and a Corvid, as well as 6+ Clouded Yellows (butterflies).

6th August
Here are Roger Peart’s own notes from his ringing session today:
“I did visit 10 this morning in pretty ideal conditions – apart from very wet vegetation to push through, and lots of reeds/willows/nettles fallen across the rides. No wind, virtually no clouds. It started well with a good number of birds but then tailed off during the second half, which is often the case but more marked today, although a few late comers pushed the total up to equal last time’s second best of the year (by one) of 39 new birds. Rather few retraps though (just 8) although there was one new-for-year Reed Warbler. Interestingly that bird (a F) was ringed in 2011 and was caught twice more that year and twice in 2012 – every time in the same net, as it was again today! She is happy where she is and sees no reason to budge even a few metres into another net area!
Reed Warblers still produce the main new capture total (10, of which 4 were adults – where have they been hiding all summer?). Sedge Warblers are now appearing, the first of the year last time and another six today including four adults. First Garden Warbler of the year today also – an adult. After a good run of Chiffchaffs in the last few weeks only two appeared today and there were no Blackcaps at all. Just one Whitethroat this morning. In the last two years Willow Warblers started passing through here at the end of July and continued through to early September. This year, apart from one very early juv in mid June, they have not yet shown up. Are they still breeding and will they appear in the next few weeks?
After low numbers earlier Robin and Dunnock juvs are now doing well – late second/third broods? Most Robins particularly seem to be quite young and not long out of the nest, although one was a 3 with just a few traces of body moult and no juv feathers apparent. Blue Tits are in short supply – I have only ringed two all summer whereas the previous two years I had 12 and 18 respectively by this stage. By contrast Great Tits are equal to last year’s numbers.

2nd August
Did a Tufted Duck count today, which revealed 125 young in 10 different “units” (Dominic Couzens)

1st August
The Wood Sandpiper was still around on the main island in LR South, as well as 2 Common Sandpipers. Also a Tufted Duck crèche with 41 chicks. Of insect interest, a Lesser Stag Beetle.

31st July
Alan Pearce reports Tufted Duck chicks from earlier: “Over the past three weeks I’ve seen broods of 8, 8 and 12. Each time these have looked to be newly fledged and were seen at approximately weekly intervals.

Meanwhile, the Wood Sandpiper remains, plus 6 Common Sandpipers and a Hobby (Chris Parnell). “There was a mega-crèche of 30+ Tufted Duck chicks that was being “supervised” by just one female. Surely that exceeds government guidelines?” (Ian Lewis). Also 1 Wheatear (Alan Pearce)

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