The day began with all sorts of things calling as we put the nets up. Water Rails were squealing, Lesser Redpolls and Bramblings were overhead along with good numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares, two or three Cetti's Warblers were singing and a Little Egret drifted over. Before we'd finished, we'd already caught 3 Redwings and a Song Thrush. One of the Redwings was an adult and below are pictures of its more rounded tail and less well marked wing with rounded and difuse pale edges to the tertials and greater coverts in contrast to the the young birds' thorns and more crisp markings.
Then the second round was a bit of a surprise as 2 of the nets caught 16 birds. Mainly Reed Buntings and a few tits, but also our second Cetti's of the year, and only our third ever. Sadly this week's wasn't another foreign control, but it is so good to see that this species is back and having another go at colonising after last year's birds were seemingly wiped out by the cold weather.
We then started playing with lures and caught a few Goldcrests. Here's a picture of a male's crown feathers with the orange showing through the yellow.
We also caught a young Blue Tit with 4 old greater coverts, which is more than most.
After a while we switched the tape to Lesser Redpoll and despite the fact that my batteries were on their last legs, we managed to attract a handful.
Again we caught an adult male which was good to compare with the younger birds. The most obvious difference was the pink all over its breast and rump, but the most reliable feature seems to be the much rounder tail than the young birds.
We finished up on 43 birds processed and decided to leave the poles and guys for perhaps one more last session! Other birds seen included Teal, Wigeon, Lapwing and Skylark, but perhaps best were two high-flying flocks of Pink-footed Geese, both of about 140 birds.