Sunday, 27 March 2011
Granby, Saturday 26 March
An overcast morning, with light winds from the south east made for a good ringing session at Granby yesterday. Overall, we handled 127 birds of nine species, including the first ever Green Woodpecker for Granby. This kept Ian, Pete, Ruth and I busy enough through the morning, but we still had time for Ian & Ruth to gain some net putting up practice by themselves; which paid off for Ian anyway who got to ring the male Green Woodpecker which was attracted to their nets by a tape lure.
Yellowhammers and Great Tits were again the main species caught, accounting for a third and quarter of the catch respectively. Amongst them were four year old Yellowhammer and five year old Great Tit retraps. The capture of 22 new Chaffinches was far and away the best catch of this species since the hard weather before Christmas. Also, Reed Buntings continue to increase with, for Granby, a staggering 13 new birds (and 2 retraps including the leucistic bird). This may not sound a lot, but in the last month we have ringed as many Reed Buntings at Granby as have been ringed there in the last nine winters which were considerably milder. Not sure what you attribute this to, but maybe the agri-environment schemes are having an effect, but as Pete wondered is the newly adjacent short rotation coppice benefiting them in some way?
Reed Buntings are rarely easy to age, but the following individual showed several features that indicated it was a young bird. Note the contrast in the tertials and the replaced tail feather that is fresh and round. This is due to accidental loss, but is clearly a different shape to the juvenile tail feathers even when wear is accounted for.
Total number of birds processed was 127 (75 new / 52 re-trapped), which is broken down as follows: Green Woodpecker 1/0, Dunnock 0/2, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Great Tit 4/24, Blue Tit 1/8, Tree Sparrow 6/0, Chaffinch 22/1, Yellowhammer 27/11, Reed Bunting 13/2.
Away from the nets the first signs of spring migration were noted with at least one Chiffchaff singing and several Meadow Pipits overhead going north. Good numbers of Fieldfares were on the fields, but Redwings were fairly scarce. A single Golden Plover was heard and although we recorded regular Greenfinches, this species seems to spurn the feeders these days and is a rarity in the nets. Quite why this is, who knows? But in the early days they outnumbered Yellowhammers.
Anyway, all in all nother excellent morning's ringing, and the third 100 plus bird session in a row for me.
PS lastly - my attempt at a flight shot as we released the GW: