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I was watching the weather like a hawk all week because there were spells of westerlies sweeping in carrying rain and then calm dry spells and it looked like today could be a gap in the weather.
 
As this is a private site I can set the nets the night before and the forecast for the evening was calm with the occasional brief shower so I was considering trying a Swallow roost. I played the tape for an hour but nothing appeared so I stopped it. I then set about putting the nets up and half way through I heard a dull, rather ominous 'whoom' sound, I looked up one minute and saw blue sky, the next minute I looked up and there it was, just about the heaviest rain storm I have been in, I was soaked to the skin in seconds, the rain drops were verging on hail, they were huge cold and hurt my head.
 
I woke up in the morning to a clear sky and zero wind which is perfect. We weren't the strongest team today so we had to limit the net set to a simple circuit of ten nets with no wader nets or bonus sets. This didn't matter too much as we were kept nicely occupied all morning with a steady stream of birds. We were joined by Steve Birt as scribe for the morning, Steve is a good scribe and good company and it is always a pleasure to have him join us. Highlight of the morning was a juvenile Cettis Warbler, this is a typical autumn appearance of a dispersing juvenile but sadly it is the first one that we have ringed this year. Without ringing we would not have known of the presence of this bird.
 
Cettis
 
We ringed a decent selection of warblers and it was particularly nice to still catch Garden Warblers, I always think that any Garden Warbler after 10th September is notable. With no retrap warblers it appears that all of the summer visitors from the site have moved on and so we are now only seeing migrants. MP, PW, SW, TL, SB
 
Cettis Warbler 1, Blackcap 113, Whitethroat 4, Garden Warbler 1, Sedge Warbler 8, Reed Warbler 2, Chiffchaff 20, Willow Warbler 2, Robin 7 (2), Bullfinch 1, Blue Tit 4 (1), Great Tit 3, Long Tailed Tit 2, Wren 3, Dunnock 6, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1

 

Today we had a team build with my team from work at Swindon STW working with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on managing the habitats on site. Simon and I did a little ringing demo beforehand and we were delighted to be joined by Ellie Jones who is the Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts Field Officer and also is a trainee ringer.
 
We only set a few nets and because of the continued westerly winds the session was pretty limited in number and variety but folk seemed to enjoy it. Ellie then led the work party teaching us how to use scythes and I have to say, though I am a committed brush cutter user, the scythes were very effective and I would definitely use one again. The task was to clear an area of reed canary grass that we manage to attract Snipe during the winter and the team did a great job getting the area just right. MP, SW, TL:, EJ
 
Blackcap 51, Whitethroat 3, Garden Warbler 2, Sedge Warbler 4, Reed Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 4 (1), Wren 1, Robin 2 (2), Song Thrush 1, Bullfinch 1 (1)
 
Sprawk

 

Today we had a team build with my team from work at Swindon STW working with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on managing the habitats on site. Simon and I did a little ringing demo beforehand and we were delighted to be joined by Ellie Jones who is the Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts Field Officer and also is a trainee ringer.
 
We only set a few nets and because of the continued westerly winds the session was pretty limited in number and variety but folk seemed to enjoy it. Ellie then led the work party teaching us how to use scythes and I have to say, though I am a committed brush cutter user, the scythes were very effective and I would definitely use one again. The task was to clear an area of reed canary grass that we manage to attract Snipe during the winter and the team did a great job getting the area just right. MP, SW, TL:, EJ
 
Blackcap 51, Whitethroat 3, Garden Warbler 2, Sedge Warbler 4, Reed Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 4 (1), Wren 1, Robin 2 (2), Song Thrush 1, Bullfinch 1 (1)

 

We had a really good team assembled today, well prepared for another stunning day on the Salisbury Plain. The number of Blackcaps has increased considerably and we were very busy early morning. Sedge Warblers had increased from last week but we only ringed one each of Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Warbler. It was frustrating hearing Tree Pipits going over but they did not respond at all to the playback lures. We did well for Whinchats today and 4 ringed was good but we then caught an adult male with colour rings so we presumed that it had been ringed on SPTA West but we have found out that it was actually ringed as a breeding male in June 134km away in Somerset which is a remarkable movement and certainly teaches us that the Whinchats on the plain can come from anywhere. MP, PW, NW, TW, NP, TL
 
Whinchat cr
 
Corbu
 
Whinchat 4 (1), Redstart 2, Meadow Pipit 2, Blackcap 196, Whitethroat 15 (2), Garden Warbler 3, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Sedge Warbler 45, Reed Warbler 1, Chiffchaff 10, Willow Warbler 3, Goldfinch 4, Linnet 3, Reed Bunting 5, Yellowhammer 2, Corn Bunting 1, Long Tailed Tit 0 (2), Robin 3

 

Excitement was high again with the anticipation of ringing on the Salisbury Plain and we had a really good team out, joined by Nigel Pleass who himself is now a pretty decent ringer. I have been telling Nigel how good the plain is and he was really looking forward to seeing the spectacle. Blackcaps did their usual act of roaring through at dawn and Whitethroats were also very numerous. One of the most notable calls for me when I am in scrub on the plain is the call of Redstarts, it is a call easily missed but once you know it you realise how many there are on the plain and we ringed 5 today including one of the smartest I have ever seen.
 
Redst
 
I really wanted to catch some Tree Pipits as I personally haven't ringed one for two years but it was not to be for me today as we did ring two but they were ringed by dad and daughter, Gary and Jodie. Whinchats are a bit low in number this year but we did ring 3 more today. The little brown jobs did us proud today as we ringed the most Grasshopper Warblers of the year with 11, then we processed control Reed and Sedge Warblers.
 
Trepi
 
The flocks of Goldfinch and Linnets have dispersed now and we only ringed a handful of them. An immature male Sparrowhawk capped off a really wonderful morning in fine style. MP, OF, PW, NP, GH, JH
 
Sparrowhawk 1, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Redstart 5, Whinchat 3, Tree Pipit 2, Meadow Pipit 1, Blackcap 91 (1), Whitethroat 40 (1), Lesser Whitethroat 1, Grasshopper Warbler 11, Sedge Warbler 27 (1), Reed Warbler 9 (1), Chiffchaff 8, Willow Warbler 9, Linnet 3, Goldfinch 12, Dunnock 1, Wren 2, Robin 3, Great Tit 1
 
Spot Fly

 

I was away ringing in Norway this time last year and so I was really excited about getting out and catching some migrants as they move through the Salisbury Plain. I was joined by Paul, Gary and Jodie all excited with the prospect of what was to come after a hard years CES ringing.
 
The day did not disappoint with a lovely array of species. We play calls to attract Whinchats to enable us to catch them and today we ringed four which is a treat but ringing these birds is important because the Salisbury Plain holds about 1.5% of the UK Whinchat population. This was the first day that Blackcaps really moved in good numbers and the Sedge Warblers were just everywhere. We also play for Grasshopper Warbler and we ringed a very creditable 7 today, the picture shows an adult, identified as such by the very worn wing and tail feathers. There were huge flocks of Linnets and Goldfinches present and though 16 Linnets seems good, it was nothing compared with the many hundreds that were present.
 
The amazing fact from today was that we did not catch any birds at all with rings on, it isn't much of a surprise that we didn't catch any resident birds because this area has very few breeding birds these days but we do expect to catch migrants that have been ringed elsewhere. 
 
The one disappointment was that a few Tree Pipits flew over calling but they did not come down to our lures. Tree Pipits have declined drastically and this is our only chance to catch them and so realistically we only have 2-4 chances per year. MP, PW, GH, JH
 
Whinchat 4, Stonechat 1, Redstart 3, Meadow Pipit 2, Blackcap 76, Garden Warbler 10, Whitethroat 32, Lesser Whitethroat 2. Willow Warbler 11, Chiffchaff 2, Grasshopper Warbler 7, Sedge Warbler 48, Reed Warbler 6, Blue Tit 3, Great Tit 1, Linnet 16, Goldfinch 2, Wren 3, Robin 1, Dunnock 1, Yellowhammer 1
 
Gropper

 

After our last really lovely session on the Salisbury Plain we were back down to core conservation ringing with the last CES visit of the year. I was really quite frustrated that once again we couldn't put up any extra nets because we did not have enough experienced ringers.
 
49 ringed and 16 retraps made for a very sedate ringing session with a very notable absence of Reed Warbler and also that all of the Blackcaps were juveniles so nearly all of the adult summer warblers have now left. This session last year produced 70 birds and so it was pretty much the same as last year.
 
Just as we were taking the nets down. I took out the last bird of the CES season and it was a real highlight as Phil ringed his first Kingfisher.  MP, SW, PDU, TL
 
, Kingfisher 1, Blackcap 25 (10), Whitethroat 5 (1), Garden Warbler 2 (1), Lesser Whitethroat 2, Chiffchaff 6, Sedge Warbler 1, Dunnock 1, Wren 4 (1), Robin 2 (1), Blackbird 0 (1), Song Thrush 0 (1)
 
KF
 
In previous years we have enjoyed considerable success ringing Swallows at roost in a maize field by the River Thames at Water Eaton. This year the farmer has moved the crops around and the maize field is now further away from the river.
 
Our first effort was on 21st August when we had a really good team out, joined by Olly Fox and so we were ready for a hoped-for big catch. Swallow numbers were building really nicely with over 450 present along with quite a few Sand Martins but then we were treated to a lovely display of aerobatics by a Hobby and then it went in the net and as I ran towards the net the Hobby rolled out of the net which is a real shame. When Hobbies appear it really panics the hirundines and they often disappear completely, tonight the flock dispersed but came back into roost right at dusk. We ringed 88 Swallows and a pretty impressive 16 Sand Martins and we thought it was a good start to the Swallow roost season.
 
On 24th August we had another really good team out and the Swallows once again were present in good numbers and things were looking good until another Hobby appeared and scattered the flock and so we only ringed 33 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins and a Reed Warbler.
 
On 28th August again we had a good team out and there were lots of Swallows but tonight two Hobbies came and caused havoc and we ended up ringing 36 Swallows and a Sand Martin.
 
On 30th August I was joined by Olly but very few Swallows appeared and then a Sparrowhawk did us the honour of popping into the net before we ringed 18 Swallows.
 
On 5th September I was joined by Gary and Graham and we sat around for a few hours having a really good chat but the Swallows pretty much failed to turn up and we only ringed five so I have called the Swallow roost season to a halt, it really just did not happen this year.
 
Sand Martin

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Wiltshire Ornithological Society was formed on November 30th, 1974, and has grown in recent years to more than 500 members.

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CWP Coordinated Gull Roost Count The last coordinated count of gull roosts in the CWP was undertaken in winter 2005/06. In conjunction with the BTO Winter Gull Roost Count in 2003/2004 and a series o...
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