Bearded Tits, our main study at Leighton Moss have had a good season with 38 juveniles caught to date well up on the 17 of 2012. To date we have identified 8 adult males and 11 adult females but we usually pick up several more, once the birds start using the grit trays which is usually during the second week in September. Young birds are still moulting as is shown in the photo taken yesterday of a young bird still in body moult and in the late stages of primary moult. Its pale iris shows it is a second brood young probably hatched in mid July.
Reed Warblers despite an apparent drop in the breeding population have had excellent productivity. Our average catch of new birds over the past five years has been 711 with 629 in 2012. This year with about two weeks to go we have caught 775 new birds the bulk of which are juveniles. Sedge Warblers have also done well, our 5 year average catch has been 236 with just 198 in 2012. This year to date we have caught 308. That the move south is well under way is shown by the small numbers of re-traps in both species. A few Sedge Warblers have been putting on fat to prepare for the journey south. The heaviest was one at 14.8 grams- almost 4 grams heavier than normal and with a fat score of 5.