Under a red sky and with a light frost on the ground, Jim, John and I setup nets around the feeding site at Brackenhurst. The calm, overcast conditions were only broken by the yaffle of a Green Woodpecker tantalisingly close by. Waiting for the first net check we listened to a light dawn chorus and watched a few Yellowhammers and Collared Doves moving along the hedgerows. Approaching the nets for the first time our early start was rewarded with a bumper catch of over forty birds including a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Tree Sparrow and the highlight of the day, a first-winter male Brambling.
The bulk of the birds though were Yellowhammers with 24 ringed during the morning which provided an excellent opportunity to hone our skills and discuss the nuances of ageing this tricky species. Remarkably, half of the Yellowhammers were adult females and in total 71% were adults. Could this be the result of a poor breeding season last year?
We finished with 64 birds including three 2 year old Long-tailed Tits and a five year old Robin. Twenty three species were observed during the morning with the highlight being a female Sparrowhawk flashing along one of the hedges. Full list available on eBird
Ringing Totals were (new/retraps): Great Spotted Woodpecker 0/1, Blackbird 5/6, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/2, Long-tailed Tit 0/5, Blue Tit 0/2, Great Tit 3/6, Tree Sparrow 1/1, Chaffinch 3/1, Brambling 1/0, Yellowhammer 19/5.