Wednesday, 15 February 2012

On Tour: Veiga da S.Simao Day 2

On Monday, a much reduced team, in size and not quality (!), headed back to Veiga da S.Simao for a second day of ringing. Using the same nets as the day before as well as an additional 9m in a patch of gorse, we weren't expecting a large catch, due to the impact of the day before and the increased wind speed. As it happened, we were to be pleasantly surprised.

The first net round brought a decent return, mainly made up of Blackcap, the majority of which were covered in pollen from the acacia. With the volume of birds from the first net round and with Miguel and Vanessa still trainees, Moxey went around the nets with Pedro and Tó as we continued to ring the birds. The group returned shortly afterwards with only a few birds, including a second Dartford Warbler, and we expected that the numbers were due to slow down.

By the third net round, the air temperature had risen, and so it seemed had the birds. A Firecrest, the first for the site, was an unexpected bonus in the atricapilla line and on the same net round, we had a Siskin in the new net, now named spinus in it's honour. This made Miguel a very happy boy from Braga.

Miguel and his Estrelinha

Firecrest (Regulus igniacapilus)

Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

The catch rate remained steady for the rest of the morning, with plenty of Blackcap and Chiffchaff turning up, spread between the different net lines. During the morning there were a number of sightings, including Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard, whilst White Stork were also observed (the northernmost nesting site of White Stork was across the road).

Some of the team (from left): Vanessa, Miguel, Scouse Ringer, Pedro.

As I have mentioned in this and the previous two posts, Blackcap were the order of the day for both sessions and we were slightly disappointed not to catch one with a foreign ring, although we did retrap some of our own birds from previous sessions. The results of these sessions, and the fact that most of the Blackcap were carrying between 2 and 4 in fat score, highlight the importance of sites such as Veiga da S.Simao and also the importance of their current food source - pollen. The accumulation of pollen around the beak looks comical at times, but also rather awkward for the birds, especially Chiffchaff.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

Pollen accumulation

By the end of the session, we had managed to beat the total of the day before, a rather satisfying result before the drive/train down to Coimbra.

Blackcap -   54   (5)
Chiffchaff -   19   (2)
Dartford Warbler -   1
Sardinian Warbler -   1   (1)
Wren -   1   (1)
Blackbird -   1
Firecrest -    1
Siskin -   1
L.T.Tit -   2   (2)
Chaffinch -   1
Robin -   2   (1)
Cetti's Warbler -   2   (5)
House Sparrow -   1   (1)
Great Tit -   1
S.T.Treecreeper -   (2)

TOTAL:   88   (20)


1 comment:

  1. Splendid work. Let's hope a few turn up in UK nets!