One of the most jam packed and exciting few days of July was from the 20th-23rd.
I spent the weekend at Chris' in Ormskirk and he took me fishing for the first time in my life. I was a little sceptical to begin with, but I always enjoy trying new things so was optimistic for a good day. Turns out I really enjoy fishing and managed to land 3 big common and 1 mirror carp by the end of the day!
On Sunday I met Chris' best mate and his fiance and had a lovely afternoon with them. Little did I know that Chris was busy planning something special for the next 2 days. Whilst in the middle of a game of pool, he told me that Tony Cross had invited us to go down to Mid Wales and help him ring Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus)!! When I became a trainee ringer, this was one of my top 3 species to ring so I couldn't believe he'd managed to organise it just 2 weeks after we started going out. So that night, we both drove back to my farm in Shropshire and on Monday it was down to Rhayader to meet Tony. He took us round a few of his local sites to help ring sparrow hawk chicks and check up on some nesting red kite, then it was a long drive south to his nightjar research area. Within about 10 minutes of arriving, he had already shown us 2 females on the nest! Then we went for a short walk through the forest to try and find an adult male and his 2 young. Astonishingly, Tony managed to spot one of the juveniles on the floor and within 5 minutes had set up a mist net and flushed the bird straight into it. Despite being a new species for him as well, Chris let me ring this bird. They are just truely beautiful birds and well worth the midge attack and long drive to see so close.
|Juvenile Nightjar - A new species ringed for me.|
|The released bird before it flew away|
Tony's work partner then caught a female nightjar in another part of the forest and Chris was lucky enough to get to ring this bird and Tony added a radio transmitter so that she could be traced back to her nest. All in all a very successful night for me, Chris and Tony's project!
On the way home, we stopped off at two of Tony's dipper sites and managed to catch 13 birds from just 2 bridges. This was another new species for me to ring and made the night even more special.
We got back to Rhayader by 3am and then drove straight back to Shropshire in time for Chris to get the train and me to go Vyrnwy. It was an incredible night and one I won't forget for a long time!