Sunday, 20 March 2011

Brackenhurst, Saturday 19 March

The forecast of overnight frost and a calm day, boded well for a good Yellowhammer catch at Brackenhurst yesterday and so it proved to be. We had our best ever Yellowhammer day at Brack with 86 birds processed. Overall, we handled 139 birds of 11 species, including some migrants. This kept Duncan, Mick and I busy through the morning, but we had help from Pete when he popped in with his family. (This was Penny's first encounter with a Yellowhammer...)

The Yellowhammers accounted for 60% of the catch, with Great Tits second again. Amongst the Yellowhammer retraps were three birds that had originally been ringed as adult males in March/April 2008, and they are only re-trapped in those months. Perhaps evidence that they are returning to near their breeding territories. Interestingly, we also had a Yellowhammer with a bill deformity (not dissimilar to a Crossbill) which is not something we've come across before.

It can be an interesting time of year, ringing wise, with migrants coming and going, and resident birds getting down to breeding. We had instances of this in Orwin's, with two Chiffchaffs singing, one of which was ringed, and six Redwing turning up in the nets there. The latter were all first winter birds, and one suspects the adult Redwing are already on their way to Scandinavia.

Also, rather surprisingly, two new male Great Spotted Woodpeckers were ringed.

Total number of birds processed was 139 (80 new / 58 re-trapped), which is broken down as follows: Great Spotted Woodpecker 2/0, Dunnock 3/3, Blackbird 1/0, Redwing 6/0, Chiffchaff 1/0, Great Tit 6/15, Blue Tit 3/3, Chaffinch 3/2, Yellowhammer 52/34, Reed Bunting 3/0.

We also saw the first Commas of the year, though no Brimstones yet.

All 'n all, an excellent morning's ringing.


 Looking down towards the ringing area from Brack's eastern boundary. What a gorgeous day!

 Surely not the effect of too many Yellowhammers?

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