Despite its best efforts, the rain never quite reached us and we managed to get the nets up in good time and the Chaffinches seemed to be queuing up in the trees as we got organised. Off 22 birds processed, 12 were in the first round and the remainder provided a satisfying trickle through the morning. Although many birds have clearly not yet felt the need to seek out the feeding station, it's quite nice to have the odd steady morning so that you can look at birds carefully and not feel under pressure. The total comprised 8 Chaffinches, 4 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 3 Dunnock and 1 Blackbird. Finally, 4 Yellowhammer were the first of the season and of course we were glad of the time to fit colour rings.
These were the first two, both males, an adult on the left and a young bird on the right. Although there is some difference in the intensity of the plumage colouration, this is not a particularly useful aging character. In fact it can be downright misleading. Note however the tails - the adult's is fresh, strong, well-marked and rounded whereas the youngster's is faded, narrow, pointed and abraded.
We also managed to find time to clear some rides though the rapidly regenerating copse in Orwin's and it will be interesting to see how future catches compare with last year when it was much shorter.
Other things flying about included a couple of Buzzards, about 80 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 5 Meadow Pipits, 10 Skylarks, 12 Bullfinch, 10 Tree Sparrow (almost at the feeding station), a Marsh Tit, a Siskin and a couple of Cormorants over.