A cold and frosty outlook was just the day to be transported back to spring through to late summer and finish our report on this years Reed Warbler study at Leighton Moss. The weather then was certainly warmer than now, but the season was dominated by periods of heavy rain resulting in high water levels along with a short period of gale force winds which certainly blew out many early nests. Although we manged 51 ringing visits the unseasonable weather meant this was 16 less than in 2007. The Reed Warbler study is a spin off from our Bearded Tit study where we try to maintain similar effort from year to year.
In total we caught 153 adult Reed Warblers down from 206 the previous year but just below average for the 12 years of the study. Many of these were already ringed the oldest was in its 8th year. This is still somewhat behind our oldest record of 9 years and 293 days. What an amazing distance that bird must have flown to West Africa and back at least 9 times! Including of course crossing the Sahara.
Productivity started off very poor following the period of high winds mentioned above but it picked up later in the season despite the heavy rains. So that by the end of September we had ringed 472 young birds giving a slightly below average catch compared with the 11 other years.