Thursday, 5 April 2012

Granby, Thursday 5 April

 Blackthorn blossom (PML)

Spring was certainly in the air, but Granby being Granby, I still had me thermals on and was glad for it. Jim, Ian & I had a very pleasant morning with a steady trickle of birds, although only 8 of the 40 caught were new and all the Yellowhammers were retraps, despite there having been 19 new birds ringed only 4 days ago!


Red Dead-nettle, Cowslip & Dog Rose (PML)

One of the first birds caught was an odd young Yellowhammer. It was fairly yellow, yet with a wing of 81 was a female on size. It seemed to have replaced its outer tail feathers and the old juvenile ones showed a fault bar. It had replaced a single tertial on each wing that also had growth defects and it had also replaced the 9th primary on the right wing. Like many young Yellowhammers it showed a moult limit between the smallest and middle alula feathers.

5F Yellowhammer (PML)

Next oddity was a Blue Tit with a grey wash on its face and belly. If anyone has any idea what causes this, let us know!

A young male Great Spotted Woodpecker was the first since 2007 and the first non-passerine of the winter. It also did an excellent job of helping Ian rid himself of several mls of blood.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (top 3 PML, bottom JL)

Two Greenfinches were the first in Spring for three years and the best retraps of the day were a Yellowhammer from 2001 and a Chaffinch from 2005. 

Full catch numbers were 8/32 (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Blue Tit 1/2, Great Tit 1/10, Chaffinch 3/9, Greenfinch 2/0, Yellowhammer 0/11.

Away from the nets, one Swallow, one Willow Warbler and a couple of Chiffchaffs were the only incoming migrants noted. About 45 Redwing and half a dozen Fieldfare came over, along with a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits. A couple of Lapwings were knocking about and at least three different Buzzards were seen.  

 Badget sett & skull (PML)

As can be seen from the above, the badgers continue their empire-building (at some cost).



  1. a fine pair of lesser spotted twitchers......keep up the great work!

  2. Regarding the Blue Tit. I am catching them with the same dusty colouration at a site in Sheffield and believe it is due to 'Sooty Bark' disease?

  3. I was catching some BLUTI in Portugal in Feb with the 'grey wash' on the face - it turned out to be a 'dusting' of pollen rather than the clumped, congealed mass that you get with CHIFF.

  4. Thanks Dave and Peter - the grey areas seemed to be part the colour of the feather and not something it had acquired as it occurred in defined sections of individual feathers. Unless of course certain parts of the feather are more susceptible to picking up sooty bark/pollen?!