Having not had particularly good catches at the ‘new’ Skylarks end of the Holme Pierrepont site in recent weeks I was a little anxious that we would have enough birds to show the groups of visitors that were due on the hour from 0800 to 1100. I suggested an earlier start to the team so that we could get up a few extra nets which would stretch us slightly keeping them checked, but with a team of nine out we should be ok.
So at 0530 Gary, Jim, Duncan, Alex, Tom, Sue, Linda, Nick and I met in the car park on a very cool and calm morning but clear skies suggested catching may be restricted as the morning went on. We quickly set 9 of the usual nets and 3 new nets with a view to putting up a few more when we had had a chance to gauge the catching rate. As ringers we all know that even on good netting days we sometimes catch very little and sometimes the extraordinary happens.
Well today was one of those extraordinary days. After setting the nets we did put on a number of tape lures but these only accounted for a small percentage of the 201 birds caught in the morning including just 9 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Wren 2/2, Dunnock 2/2, Robin 11/0, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Reed Warbler 10/0, Lesser Whitethroat 9/0, Whitethroat 25/2, Garden Warbler 4/0, Blackcap 42/0, Chiffchaff 17/0, Willow Warbler 15/0, Long-tailed Tit 9/2, Blue Tit 7/1, Great Tit 4/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Goldfinch 29/0, Bullfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 2/0.
The two oldest retraps were a Dunnock and a Wren both from 2012. Unfortunately the amount of birds gave us less time to spend with the visitors but they seemed to enjoy seeing such a lot of birds at close quarters. It will certainly be a day that is remembered for a long time by all the ringers present... And we never did get chance to put up those extra nets!