4 Jun 2023

Enchanted woods & little green goblins

 I went back with Al recently to the woodland reserve in N Wales to check on the Pied Flycatchers nests we'd monitored last trip. The dry weather has meant the young have thrived nd we ringed a total of 31 young from 5 broods. The woods are a typical Welsh woodland, hanging from the side of a hillside with a good mixture of deciduous trees. Despite the hot weather the interior of the wood was cool and the sound of birds going about their normal daily activity surrounded us. As well as the flycatchers we heard Goldcrest, Bullfinches, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush and Nuthatch. In a months time the Greater Butterfly Orchids will be flowering although with a prolonged spell of hot weather forecast they may not reach that stage.

From here we drove back to Cheshire where we'd had an invite from Paul & Kieran to assist with the ringing of Cormorants and Little Egret chicks! I remember twitching Little Egret when they were still a rare bird in the UK. Now they've spread everywhere. I ring Cormorants annually on Puffin Island but these were a tree nesting colony rather than a cliff nesting colony so I was interested to compare the sites. One obvious difference was that you can't ring the young when they're to well grown otherwise they'll try and flee the nest. On Puffin Island well grown young leave the nests and form creches on the cliff tops. 

All the Little Egrets and Cormorants were colour ringed to aid identification in the field. I'd never ringed Little Egret before so this was a treat for me. They're surprisingly agile and clamber around the branches surrounding the nest. They're also green! Like little Green Goblins with long fingers and toes - I'd never realised this before as you usually only see them as adults and fully feathered.

A great experience & I'm looking forward to the next trip where we'll be able to ring a few more of these amazing birds.

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