Ringing at Nanjizal – 19th September

This Saturday I headed off to Nanjizal with Will Hawkes, Ellie Mahew, Amy Norris, Emma Inzani, and Kester Wilson himself. The purpose? Ringing. Nanjizal is amongst the many wooded valleys that pepper the coast of Cornwall, acting like a migrant trap for birds passing through. This makes it an ideal site for ringing birds, which is the reason we were there at 6 am on Staurday. This ringing site was developed by Kester and his Dad, and is a private area of ponds, reeds, rushes, woodland and scubland. A total of 18 nets are scattered around this rather large ringing site, which makes net rounds quite lengthy if there are plenty of birds around!

We set off from campus just after 5am, arriving on site at about 0630. The site was covered in mist and looked beautiful in the delicate early morning light. We opened up all the nets, and did net rounds every 30 minutes or so for the rest of the morning. There were a comfortable number of birds around – not too many to make it a very stressful and busy first session at the site, but instead a more relaxed morning with plenty of birds to keep us all entertained and help get our heads around the layout of the area and nets.

We trapped over 60 birds from 0630 to 1400, the most common of which included Chiffchaffs (13), Blackcaps (12), Sedge Warblers (8) and Robins (5). Some particular highlights from the session came in the form two smart Firecrests, a Cetti’s Warbler, three Greater Spotted Woodpeckers and a couple of Reed Warblers. All in all it was a great day, and a brilliant intro to this fantastic site. A big thanks to Emma for acting as taxi driver and Kester for allowing us to intrude on his patch!

when we arrived at the site, in the cool hours of the morning, a layer of mist carpeted the ponds and woodland, giving it a tranquil beauty

a panoramic shot from the ringing station, showing the pond and some of the superb habitat present at this ringing site 

the Orb-weaving Spiders like Araneus diadematus produced a spectacular display when combined with the mist and early morning sun. There were hundreds of webs around the site, making for some great photographic opps
A small selection of the birds we trapped and ringed:

One of the smart Firecrests – their scientific name Regulus ignicapillus essentially translates to ‘fire-capped prince’ . Fitting, I’d say

One of three Great Spotted Woodpeckers trapped and ringed. This bird is in active wing moult, which helps age the bird as being born before this year, ie an adult or second calender year bird

One of the Reed Warblers- this bird was very pale, but measurements confirmed it as being the commoner acro species

Comparison of the greater covert texture and colouration in Chiffchaffs. You can see the diffuse and washed out edges in the juvenile bird below, compared to brighter and more glossy coverts of an adult (above

We had several of these stunning beasts turn up in the nets too! Male Migrant Hawker

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