The thought of the RCP crew in their heated ringing room drifted into my head at several points this morning, usually when I had lost all feeling in my hands and feet. Still, mustn't grumble, a day that's bad for the fingers is generally good for ringing and today was no exception. What's more, the conditions didn't seem to bother Andrew who was happy scraping ice off the bamboos with his bear hands.
Due to other commitments we only had the 3 feeding station nets open from 8am until noon, but throughout those 4 hours it was non-stop. What's more, there were only 4 of us and during the morning Ian managed to ring his first few birds and Jill James from NNRG joined us to get some colour-ringing experience. Ironically, we had to stop colour-ringing at certain points during the morning so that we could keep up and we were even having to ring and fling at the busiest times.
We finished on 106 birds, about half of which were Yellowhammers. Also notable was the number of Blackbirds with 19 caught and many more around the feeders. This seems to be a widespread influx, presumably due to the cold weather and perhaps involving a lot of continental birds. (We had 23 birds on our patio alone yesterday!) Two Tree Sparrows were the first of the season and one was a retrap. This was satisfying as Tree Sparrows aren't regularly retrapped. Also it was good to have a close look at a known age adult bird. It would have been even better if the second bird had been a known youngster. Nevertheless, it was interesting to note a few differences that might be consistent with aging such as the colour of the bill and the definition of the head pattern. The known adult is the bird on the right with a very black bill and better marked face.