Sunday, 5 December 2010

Brackenhurst, Sunday 5 December

The day may have begun with negotiating the ice-rink back roads at Brack, but we were also greeted by a couple of hungry Barn Owls flying around in the mist. The temperature remained below zero, but being distinctly warmer than the previous week we decided to put up the 3 feeding station nets.

The first round produced 20 birds immediately and the first thing we did was check a few weights to establish the condition of the birds. The result? All in rude health and even our first little female Blue Tit weighed in at over 10g which was a relief. However, one must wonder whether the weaker birds have simply all perished by now after such sustained cold weather.

The sky quickly cleared and although a dazzling sun rose, it held little heat. Nevertheless, we checked the nets at very regular intervals and pulled birds out in threes and fours. Yellowhammer proved most numerous with 12 new and 1 retrap caught. And in joint second place were Robin and Dunnock with 9 of each trapped, including 7 retrap Dunnocks. This species is perhaps benefiting more than we realise from the feeding station.

Tits were remarkable by their absence (2 retrap Blue, 2 retrap Great) and Chaffinches also seemed scarce (we only trapped 3 new birds). However we did catch a single Tree Sparrow and we finished on 42 birds processed.

In general birds were thin on the ground. A few small flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings were around and a single Great Spotted Woodpecker called. However, many regulars were not recorded such as the Marsh Tits. Richard and Oscar were lucky enough to flush a single Woodcock. We also welcomed Carol and Emma Hollier from Southwell who came to watch.

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