Bank holiday birding
Ringing at Knepp
On Sunday I got up early, at 4:45, to go to Knepp estate for some ringing. After getting a lift with James McCulloch we arrived and walked to the site which was mainly scrub. The mist nets had already been set up and we could see lots and lots of birds in one of the nets. On the first net round we had a grasshopper warbler, a lifer for me which I wasn't expecting! Although I didn't get to ring it, it was amazing to see such a elusive bird so close up and be able to have a look at it in the hand.
We also caught two linnet, lots of whitethroat and lesser whitethroat. On the next net round a big flock of blue, great and long-tailed tit flew into one of the nets and after a lot of extracting we started to ring them all. Quite a few willow warblers and chiffchaffs were also caught. On one of the last net rounds it was nice to be able to ring a sedge warbler, my first of the year.
Later on in the morning a group of people who were visiting Knepp came to see what bird ringing was about. We showed them how we catch the birds using mist nets, what we do once they're caught and why it is so important. The ringing session then had to be cut short as it started raining.
On Monday I met up with James and Calum Mckellar at RSPB Pulborough Brooks reserve. Before entering the actual reserve we walked around the heathland and woodland from the car park. Overall the best we saw was treecreeper, chiffchaff and a flock of long-tailed tit.
Walking into the reserve and after reaching the hide it was clear how there was hardly any water around. The only birds we could see were lots of hirundines, swallow, sand martin and house martin as well as some canada and greylag geese.
At the next hide it was quite quiet however a kestrel did dive down into the grass in front of us and then fly off.
Elsewhere on the reserve there wasn't much around but at Jupp's view there were two green sandpipers among the lapwing and a dunlin. After walking around the reserve we decided to walk up a public footpath, were a roosting tawny owl had been reported. Whilst walking there, we saw pied wagtail and linnet in the fields as well as a flock of starling. Walking past a line of shrubs a bird flew down onto the fence, it was one of three spotted flycatcher, a year tick for me!