By 9am the early fog had burnt off and we were treated with glorious sunshine for the rest of the day and a temperature range of over 20 degrees. The brightness of the sun brought its own challenges, wreaking havoc with our attempts to decipher the age of some tricky Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings, but these proved excellent learning opportunities.
The Granby Fridge-cum-microwave Experience (DH)
Throughout the morning there had been a steady flow of birds each round making for a relaxed pace. By lunchtime though, captures had declined to a trickle, but after a few rounds attempting to delay what appeared to be inevitable the birds began to flow once again, so we kept ringing. In fact it wasn’t until 4.30 pm with stomachs rumbling and our farmer’s tans becoming burns that we decided to call it a day.
In all we processed 109 birds of which 51 were new. Full catch numbers were (new/retrap): Dunnock 0/4, Blue Tit 2/5, Great Tit 0/19, Tree Sparrow 4/0 Chaffinch 8/10, Goldfinch 1/0, Yelllowhammer 32/19, Reed Bunting 4/1.
Proving the value of consistently ringing at a single site for over 10 years to determining the survival rate and longevity of birds were 7 recaptures of birds first ringed prior to the winter of 2010/2011. These included 2 Chaffinches (2005 & 2008), 3 Blue Tits (all 2008) and Reed Bunting (2009).
The Old Lady of Granby (DH)
However, the highlight was our penultimate bird of the day, a female yellowhammer first ringed 9 years and 2 months ago and quite possibly the oldest living ringed Yellowhammer?