After we had finished at the ringing site on Deerness yesterday afternoon we headed for the reed bed for the last ringing session of the season.
As the number of Swallows was likely to be low we set one of the tape lures to play Pied Wagtails. We had tried this particular sound track before with mixed results but decided to see if it would give us any results this time.
The number of Swallows flying over the reed bed was well down on previous evenings and again they were feeding high up.
On entering the reed bed the first net was empty, the second had a solitary Swallow and the third had 7 Pied Wagtails. So the tape lure had worked this evening.
Whilst watching the ever increasing flock of Starlings doing their usual evening aerobatics display before roosting for the night, a Sparrowhawk was spotted heading straight for the flock causing it to split up into several smaller groups. The Sparrowhawk didn't seem to waste much time chasing the Starlings as it headed across the reed bed and disappeared into some nearby trees. Only to reappear a short time later and head back out over the reed bed this time joinging up with a second Sparrowhawk. But with the light starting to fade I lost sight of them against the hill behind the reed bed.
It was time to do the last net check of the season. The Swallows flying over the reed bed had dropped once again into the reeds towards the back of the reed bed so we weren't expecting to find too many birds in the nets. However we had birds in all three nets and the final catch consisted of 4 Pied Wagtails and 21 Swallows.
So the total catch for the evening was 11 Pied Wagtails and 22 Swallows.
This year's season had lasted for two months, we had 16 sessions and caught a total of 1001 birds consisting of 979 new birds and 22 retraps.
The final totals this season are:
Species Ringed Retrapped Total
Blackbird 2 2
Linnet 1 1
Pied Wagtail 24 24
Reed Bunting 21 2 23
Sand Martin 8 1 9
Sedge Warbler 104 13
Swallow 791 6 797
Thrush Nightingale 1 1
Willow Warbler 1 1
Wren 4 4
Total 979 22 1001
The totals had been adjusted to include the sessions that I missed.
There were two new species for the reed bed this year, Linnet and the Thrush Nightingale.
So focus now moves to Autumn migrants and winter visitors but it won't be long before we start to think about watching the skies for the first signs of the returning Swallows!!
They think it's all over, well the Swallow season is now.