Woolston Eyes Monthly Sightings


Dave Riley and Zoe Houghton had an excellent ringing session on No1 bed on the Friday afternoon, catching 103 birds, with 81 new including the second adult male Redstart of the summer, this one in wing moult, they also caught their first Garden Warbler, Coal Tit and Linnet of the year along with two Sand Martins going to roost. The following morning, Dave was joined by Phil Guest, there was no wind and a further 57 birds were caught, with 43 new, including the first juvenile Grasshopper Warbler of the year and a further Coal Tit. Over the two days other highlights included 19 new Willow Warblers, 16 new Bullfinches (a record weekend catch for the bed), 3 Treecreepers and two Goldcrests. Sightings on the bed included 3 Oystercatchers, 1 Curlew, 2 Peregrines and 2 Siskins.

The No3 bed team were ringing on the Saturday morning, they caught 86 birds, with 50 new, including 10 Reed Warblers, 7 Whitethroats and 4 Sedge Warblers.



The ringing was restricted to the Saturday morning, because of the weather.

On No1 bed, 77 birds were caught with the 61 new including 12 Willow Warblers and 11 Chiffchaffs. the team on No3 bed were also out, catching 152 birds with the 98 new including 21 each of Reed Warbler and Blackcap, one of the retraps was a female Sparrowhawk, originally ringed in 2009.



With the weather forecast predicting heavy rain for the Saturday morning (and for once, correct), Dave Riley decided ringing on the Friday morning was the better option, he caught 67 birds of which 64 were new and included 46 warblers of six species, of the remaining 18 new the highlights included seven Bullfinches and two Willow Tits. Sightings on the bed included a few Lesser Redpolls flying over and a Water rail calling from the Reed Bed.

Mike Miles had a midweek session on No3 bed, with Zoe and Jason, catching 112 birds with 71 new, including 17 Whitethroats, clearly the management work on the bed is suiting this species. Mike was also out on the Friday morning, catching a further 71 birds with 47 new, including a further six Whitethroats.



Dave Riley and Zoe Houghton were ringing on No1 bed on the Friday afternoon, catching 60 birds with 45 new, while on the Saturday morning, he was joined by Stacey Whiteley, on her first visit as a helper, catching a further 65 birds including 60 new. Of the new birds, 67 were warblers, including 20 Willow Warblers, 19 Reed Warbers and 13 Chiffchaffs, along with scarcer species such as 2 Garden Warblers and single Treecreeper and Coal Tit.

Sightings on the bed included 60 Swifts, 20 Swallows, 1 Siskin and 3 Water Rails.

With the juveniles out in force and generally favourable weather the team on No3 bed made the most of conditions during the week. On Wednesday, Kieran and Mike were joined by Brian Hopkins visiting from Preston. We ran 19 nets catching 150 birds (95 new and 55 retraps). New birds included 20 Reed Warblers and the retraps included two control Reed Warblers, one British and one French, they also caught two new Jays.

On Friday Mike went to Woolston to set nets for Saturday morning and caught 49 birds (24 new and 25 retraps). Kieran came down early evening to set more nets and they tried for Hirundines, but there were only a hand full around. Saturday morning they were joined by Margaret, Lisa and Jason, catching 199 birds (129 new and 70 retraps). A further 51 new Reed Warblers brought them to 71 for the week. The 105 total captures in just a part of one of the 4 beds at Woolston gives some hint at the population in total across the reserve. As it is now the third week in July it is possible that the first migrants are reaching Woolston from sites further north. They also caught 2 Garden Warblers. They ended the week with 369 captures (248 new and 121 retraps)

Sightings included a Black-tailed Godwit on the Morgan scrape on Friday, 60 Swifts over the South Meadow Friday Evening. On Saturday morning singles of Tawny Owl and Oystercatcher, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler and a calling Nuthatch, a rarity on No3 bed.



Sam Bailey, a visiting ringer from Sussex, joined Dave Riley on the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, catching a total of 166 birds with 147 new. Good numbers of warblers were still present, with high totals of Reed Warbler (33 new), Whitethroat (17), Chiffchaff (18) and Willow Warbler (21), Blackcaps were noticeable by their absence with only 2 new birds ringed. Other highlights included single Kestrel (the second this year), Goldcrest and Linnet, while the two Swallows were the first of the year and a single Garden Warbler was a fitting end to the session. Sightings on the bed included an adult and three young Water Rails, 1 Little Egret, 1 Peregrine, 1 Green Sandpiper and two Tawny owls.

Another week of favourable weather and the team on No3 bed took the opportunity to make the most of it. Ringing took place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday resulting in 304 captures (256 new and 48 retraps.) Of the new birds 171 were Warblers. They have now passed 200 new Reed Warblers and future catches depend on the quality of passage. Blackcap captures are also picking up with the best weeks still to come. The Warbler event of the week was the arrival of Garden Warblers with 12 new birds caught in the week (7 from the same net). Other highlights included their first Moorhen of 2011 and Swallow. On the Friday evening they targeted a Sand Martin roost of about 200 birds without success but Kieran found a few Swallows roosting near one of his net rides on Saturday morning and trapped one juvenile as it left the roost.

Sightings included 4 Crossbills flying east up the line of the Mersey on Saturday morning, 2 reeling Grasshopper Warblers, 2 calling Water Rails and, from the loop of No 4 bed, 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Little Egrets and a Crake sp., probably a Spotted Crake.