4 September 2013

Don't look up

With the bad weather over the weekend done with, it was time to get back to the reed bed last night to see if the majority of Swallows had set off on their migration as expected.

With Stan unable to make it Colin and I were joined by Gavin from the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory.
As we were setting the nets there were a few Swallows flying about but not too many to worry about. The first net run only produced two Sedge Warblers so things looked like it was going to be a fairly quiet night.
Then the Swallows started appearing in ever increasing numbers, flying low over the reed bed. The second net check saw us extracting between 40 and 50 birds including a few more Sedge Warblers and a Pied Wagtail.

The third net check produced another 50+ birds including a Wren and a few more Sedge Warblers which was interesting as a couple of weeks ago none of this species was caught and it was thought they had all set off on their migration. This raised the question 'were there still local breeders about or were these migrants that were now passing through Orkney on their way South?'

By now the noise of the Swallows overhead was getting quite loud and on looking above us we could see well over 1000 Swallow flying around.

As there was only the three of us the decision was made to close the nets as by the time we had processed the latest catch it would be dark and we didn't want another large catch.

The session saw 102 birds in total with one retrapped Swallow and consisted of 1 Pied Wagtail, 13 Sedge Warblers, 87 Swallows and 1 Wren.
Totals caught this season so far:

  Blackbird                    2
  Linnet                        1
  Pied Wagtail              12
  Reed Bunting             15
  Sand Martin                8
  Sedge Warbler           90
  Starling                    22
  Swallow                  548
  Thrush Nightingale       1
  Wren                         2 

As a final note, congratulations to Gavin who has just sent off his application for his C permit.


  1. Hopefully it won't be too long before you get yours Dave!

  2. A C Permit would make a great birthday or Xmas present.