Thursday, 14 January 2010

First Swallow Roost!

170 Swallows ready to be ringed and processed

Afternoon all.. Just thought I would add a few more posts to the blog and then get back to the revision..

Anyway, on the 26th September 2009, it was to be my first passerine ringing session with Steve and Rachel. Knowing that I was going to ring Swallows, it had me excited throughout the week.. As usual, I was picked up at Morrisons car-park in Bangor at around 5pm and as the journey to the site was about 15 minutes, the adrenalin started to kick in.. Arriving on site we met up with Ian, Steve's other trainee. We set about getting the nets and poles out of the van and quickly set the line of 3 '40ft' nets next to the roost.. At this time it was still quite light, but the Swallows had started to build and birds could be seen flying in from every direction.. After a short wait and a little walk around the site, several Water rails were calling from every direction and a flock of Skylark flew over, shortly followed my numbers of Snipe and Meadow pipit coming into roost..

As the Swallow Roost was quite substantial now, we grabbed our bins and assembled on top of a grass mound to watch the spectacle un-fold.. Suddenly, a flock of around 100 Starlings flew in, just missing the mist-net; our hearts were in our mouths at this point as 100 Starlings were not what we were after...

The light was still with us and a quick look at the nets revealed no Swallows as of yet, however a single Blue tit, Reed warbler, Reed bunting and Dunnock had made it into the net, these were extracted and ringed before the show started.... These were then quickly ringed and processed. The Blue tit being the first passerine I had ringed with Steve....

The roost had now grown to at least 300 birds and all of a sudden, birds were piling into the nets. After 10 minutes, the show was all over and all birds were either in the roost or in the net. Now the fun began. Trying to extract 170 Swallows in the dark with no lights - not very difficult actually as our eyes adjusted to the darkness it got easier.. Nets were down and birds put in the back of Steve's van in the mechanism he had built, to keep the birds safe and secure. The journey back to the house was only 10 minutes long so the birds were fine.. On arriving at the house, processing shortly began.. Steve and I were in charge of ringing and Rachel and Ian in charge of processing... As stated above, 170 Swallows were ringed that night.. I certainly know I am more than confident in ageing Swallows now...

With all ringing I keep track of my totals and that night I ringed exactly 70 birds consisting both of juveniles and adult birds.

The birds were roosted overnight and released the following morning by Steve at the site of capture.. Many thanks to Steve and Rachel for a very successful nights ringing.

1 comment:

  1. Hello - we have the first swallow this year 2010 on our property several days earlier than last year.It arrived yesterday 25 March (last year it arrived on 29th)

    I would like to be able to ring the young so we can identify the returning birds. Is this possible? We are also in N Wales - on Anglesey.

    Kate Barker, Ty Fry, Pentraeth Ynys Mon