A decent session yesterday morning at Brack in between the wet fronts that have been lashing down over the last few days. We started in the damp, frosty cold which brought the birds in to the feeders quickly and we had 35 birds on the first net round. The sun struggled to break through and even I felt chilled late morning. However, Duncan, Esther, Matt, Peter & I stuck it out. For a change, the rain forecast behaved and did not arrive til 2ish when we were away.
We had three or four very busy net rounds and then it rapidly quietened. This was in part because Duncan spotted a white ferret, and we then trailed it round the feeding site until someone from the veterinary unit came to collect their escapee. She seemed none the worse for her experience and I got to pick up my first ferret.
We processed 90 individual birds and more than half were tits. Again the tits were mainly adults with 70% of Great Tits & 54% of Blue Tits being adults. This points towards their having a poor breeding season as we'd expect juveniles to dominate catches in the early winter. However, maybe Tree Sparrows fared better this year as the 10 ringed yesterday was the best total for a single session at Brackenhurst. It was also good to catch the first Yellowhammers of the winter, including a retrap from 2009. The best of the other retraps was a Blue Tit from 2008 and a two 2009 Great Tits.
Totals were (new/retraps): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 2/1, Blue Tit 12/10, Great Tit 4/20, Treecreeper 1/0, Tree Sparrow 10/0, Chaffinch 14/1, Yellowhammer 11/1.
There were plenty of 'winter' thrushes about, and other sightings included a couple of Jays squabbling, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker & Little Owl. However, the Marsh Tits that used to be up 'n down the 'holloway' by where we process the birds are sorely missed.