Trip reports

Twitching Wash-Bags on Bungees

Twitching Wash-Bags on Bungees
Kestrel chick - Rhodie Blythe

Sunday, 14 July 2013

With a blindingly beautiful view of the sun rising over the horizon in my rear view mirror, I knew it had been worth getting up at 4.30 to go to Oxmoor Nature Reserve with Ann to see the bird ringers in action. We arrived at 5.50am to be met by Jeff Clark who took us to see the Merseyside ringers.

The birds are first caught ringed, weighed and measured then tied up in old fashioned cotton drawstring wash bags, all the bags which were held up on bungees were twitching and moving, quite funny to watch.

They then bring the birds over to us watchers and show us various bits, like the tertial feathers and if very young the gape, also they occasionally opened the birds mouth and we could see its lovely little tongue, and to think we used to eat Lark Tongue!!

There were lots of Reed Warblers for us to look at, a young Song Thrush, a juvenile Dunnock, White Throat, Great Tit, two young Bullfinches, so very different to the Warblers with their chunky beaks, very dark and very beautiful. Then there was the dearest little wren, so tiny. The size of all the birds shook me, seen through binoculars they can look quite large, then to see them in a hand they are minute. I had the privilege of being allowed to hold a bird then set it free, it was so wonderful to hold something in your hand, so small, and you know that in a few weeks it will fly to the Mediterranean or sub-Saharan Africa, which will take 4 days of non-stop flight. We also saw in the hand Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and a Sedge Warbler.

The icing on the cake was seeing the head honcho, aka Prof. David Norman, climbing up a very tall ladder to the Kestrel nest box. He bagged the chicks and brought them down for us to see. Two were quite big and strong, but there was a tiny little one, which they said they doubted would make it.

We then saw a Buzzard being harassed by a Kestrel before Ann and I decided it was time to move on to Burton Mere, there I saw my first Yellow Wagtail and Ann saw the Spotted Redshank.

We also managed to see 6 Grey Heron, Shelduck and their chicks, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Bar Tailed Godwit, Swallows, Little Grebe, Redshank, Teal, Common Tern, Avocet, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Little Egret, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Buzzard, Mallard, Great Tit, Tufted Duck and Ringed Plover.

A brilliant day was had by us both, and truly worth getting up for.

Ann and Rhodie