Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sutton Bonington - the last few weeks

The weather at weekends has hampered operations at Sutton Bonington over the last few weeks. We cancelled any visits during the first and third weekends in March because of the snow cover, allowing the birds to feed undisturbed in the adverse conditions. We did manage to get out on the second and fourth weekends and also this Easter weekend, but even these visits were not all in great conditions. On the visit yesterday Duncan and I experienced probably the best ringing weather conditions for some time being cold to start, overcast, very little wind and for once no rain until after we finished!

The various teams this year have consisted of Maria, Kirsten, Duncan, Sue, Jake, Tom, Gary and I. The total catch over the last 3 visits has been 112 including 50 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Woodpigeon 1/0, Redwing 1/0, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/5, Wren 0/1, Blue Tit 1/2, Great Tit 2/5, Long-tailed Tit 0/7, Greenfinch 0/1, Goldfinch 1/0, Chaffinch 3/1, Reed Bunting 9/8, Yellowhammer 40/19, House Sparrow 2/0. The oldest retraps have been from 2015.

There has been a surprising drop in the number of Robins and Dunnocks. Did the snow cover take its toll? Or are they more interested in staying on territory now?

The Yellowhammers are still coming in to feed but many are now busy singing on the top of the hedges, so next weekend will probably see the final session of the winter at this site (weather permitting of course) and the removal of the feeders.

Thanks again to Maria for keeping the feeders topped up during the week.


 A young Yellowhammer which appeared to have lost the tips of its rectrices, perhaps along a fault bar. (S. Lakeman)

 A Blue Tit which appeared to have the intense blue plumage typical of a male bird, yet had a wing length of only 60mm, which would be very small for a male. (S. Lakeman)

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