When I first started bird ringing in January my cycle to Bedfont Lakes at 6am on a Sunday morning was cold, dark and quiet. Not that I am complaining, it was more than worth it! But now I wake up to a chorus of bird song (or just a lot of house sparrows chirping outside my window!) sunshine (mostly) and the promise of baby birds! This means lots of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ and new and exciting ID challenges for me.
Last Sunday officially marked the first day of summer and we were greeted with a newly fledged blackcap (which looks deceptively like an adult female!), song thrush and this little speckled dunnock, fresh from the nest.
We also caught the same male cetti’s warbler for the 3rd (4th?) time….. No sign of a female but he seems to be singing notably less so perhaps he has found himself a mate and is busy raising a little family…. My trainer Dave Harris told me that that would be a a first for Bedfont in the 20 odd years he’s been ringing there!
Again the place was teaming with damselflies. Azure damselflies have a ‘U’ shaped black marking on the abdomen just behind the thorax, where as the common blue has a mushroom shaped marking, I didn’t manage to get a photo of the common blue for comparison but see these useful illustrations if you’re interested. I have this FSC guide which combined with my trainers knowledge has me pretty sorted for now.
There were also lots of blue-tailed damselflies around, some I noticed with pinky/red or green thorax as apposed to blue and after a bit of reading I discovered that the females have a least 5 different colour forms. This will be interesting to look in to further and I’ll try and get some photos. The females can be tricky to ID!
I also spotted this funky looking Water Stick Insect
We also ring at the South Side sometimes and it was cool to find a song thrush we ringed back in April had made it’s way round to the North side to breed. The South side offers ample scrub and hedgerows where as the nature reserve on the North side is more wooded and shaded (aside from the water and reedbed areas). We plan to get round to the South side this Sunday, weather permitting, where hopefully we should get a few different species such as whitethroats and greenfinches!