Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A week at Sutton Bonington

We have spent four mornings ringing at Sutton Bonington between last Sunday to this Sunday. The weather has been good for mist netting throughout, but far too warm to draw birds into the feeders so we ended with very few birds to show for our efforts. The week went as follows:

Sunday 11th - Sue, Duncan, Gary and I netted the usual feeding site. The sky was overcast and only a slight breeze blowing but it was far from cold. It was obvious from the start that there were not many birds around and we ended with a catch of just 12 birds including 4 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 1/0, Robin 1/1, Blackbird 2/0, Great Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/3, Goldcrest 1/0, Chaffinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.

Tuesday 13th – The first of two morning sessions working with Kate, Sophia and Lucy from York University on the antimicrobial resistance project. Gary, Kate and Lucy set nets in the arboretum area whilst Duncan, Sophia and I headed to the dairy farm. It was a very overcast morning with a slight breeze and the odd spot of drizzle. This time both sites had got full feeders to catch around but the mild weather meant the birds were not exactly queuing to get to them. At the dairy farm we ended with just 5 birds including 2 retraps. Gary and his team did rather better at the arboretum with 20 birds including 2 retraps and a new Nuthatch. Grand totals for the day made up of (new/retrap): Robin 2/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackbird 4/0, Great Tit 6/0, Blue Tit 3/2, Nuthatch 1/0, Goldcrest 2/1, Bullfinch 2/0. The retraps were all recently ringed birds. Kate and her team then treated us to lunch at the local pub.

Wednesday 14th – Duncan, Gary, Kate, Sophia, Lucy and I set nets in the sewage treatment plant, a site that the group used to use about 30 years ago. I was a little apprehensive about what we might catch as the outside temperature showing on my car as I set off from home at 0630 was +10degC. This apprehension was not eased as we took our first walk around the site in the half light and watched a bat flying around! We set 10 nets around the site including covering 2 sets of feeders but the catching was very slow. The wagtails were all feeding in the surrounding fields and there were no Starlings or corvids coming into the site. We did have a couple of Goldcrest around the base so we put up a hand supported net, mp3 etc. and caught those easily. The rest of the nets were just not producing much and with the sun coming out there were insects everywhere. We ended with catch of just 12 birds all new, made up of: Robin 2, Blackbird 1, Great Tit 3, Blue Tit 2, Goldcrest 2, Chaffinch 1 and a single Green Woodpecker. As I drove home in the sunshine it was 13 degrees.

Sunday 18th - Sue, Duncan, Alex, Gary and I netted the usual feeding site. Again the sky was overcast and there was no breeze at all, it was about 2 degrees when we started. Little was around again and we ended with a catch of just 16 birds including 12 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 0/1, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Great Tit 1/2, Blue Tit 1/1, Long-tailed Tit 0/4, Goldfinch 0/1, Chaffinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.

I guess we need some cold weather to improve the catch.


 Nuthatch (G. Goddard)

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