A whole gaggle of group members turned up at Brackenhurst for the first session of the winter at the feeding site. Regulars included Kev, Gary, Pete S, Duncan and myself, plus ringer Liz White who has moved into the area recently and student Rebecca Culling who's looking at the preponderance of feather mites in relation to brightness in Yellowhammers.
The morning was milder than expected, and after an early breeze was quite calm and slightly overcast; just the job for mist netting and we had a decent session with 71 birds of eight species processed.
After the cold spring, a lower than usual number of tits caught was not unexpected. Seven out of ten Great Tits were aged as adults indicating poor breeding success. You would expect juvenile birds to outnumber adults at this time of year. Chaffinches dominated the catch, accounting for about a third of the total. Besides retraps from last winter, we also caught Chaffinches from 2009 and 2010 and Yellowhammers from 2010 and 2011.
Winter thrushes were thin on the ground, but Gary did pick out a Peregrine giving the Wood Pigeons a fright and a Little Owl was calling at dawn.
Totals for individual species ringed/retrapped (53/18) were: Goldcrest 1/0, Dunnock 3/2, Robin 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 6/2, Blue Tit 5/0, Great Tit 4/6, Chaffinch 22/3, Yellowhammer 9/5.