Monday, 30 November 2015

Brackenhurst, Thursday 26 November

Ringer availability and a rare calm day allowed Kevin, Gary, Duncan & myself to set the nets at the Brack feeders and down in Orwin's on Thursday. Conditions were ideal, that is calm and overcast, but admittedly very mild. Basically, wintering birds are less hungry when it’s mild and therefore lose less weight overnight and visit the feeders less often. And so it proved with only nine birds caught at them. Orwin's produced 16 birds with half those being Redwings responding to the sound lure.

Highlights on a very slow morning were the first Blackcap ringed at Brackenhurst in winter time and the first Coal Tit for four years to the day. There were few birds about, but a skein of 150 Pink-footed Geese heading NW was good to see.

The species totals were (new/retrap) 25(16/9): Blackcap 1/0, Blue Tit 1/2, Chaffinch 2/0, Coal Tit 1/0, Dunnock 0/1, Goldcrest 0/1, Goldfinch 3/0, Great Tit 0/2, Redwing 8/0, Robin 0/3. The oldest retraps were a Robin from 2010 and a 2012 Great Tit.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 22 November

Gary, Duncan, Alex and I held the second ringing session at this new site this morning in perfect mist-netting conditions: no wind and overcast with a slight frost. We tried a Redwing tape first thing again but that produced nothing so we switched to Goldfinch which was much better and we caught 24.

Catching was generally steady throughout but dropped a little when the sun broke through late morning. We finished on 80 birds including 17 retraps.

The species totals were (new/retrap): Long-tailed Tit 1/9, Wren 1/0, Great Tit 3/2, Blue Tit 14/4, Robin 2/2, Chaffinch 2/0, Goldfinch 24/0, Lesser Redpoll 5/0, Reed Bunting 1/0, Dunnock 4/0, Greenfinch 5/0, Blackbird 1/0. The retraps were all birds we caught on the first visit, including the Long-tailed Tit from Kingston.

There were a few Yellowhammers around and plenty of Fieldfare passing over.


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 8 November

Last winter we tried a new winter feeding site on Nottingham University land at Kingston on Soar, which started well but faded quickly and produced little in the way of farmland birds. Having discussed the failure with Mike Davies, the Universities farm manager, he suggested another site at Sutton Bonington which I had a look at with him in August and decided it was worth a try.

Two weeks ago Gary, Duncan and I set up the feeders and today we set nets for the first time. The morning started very calm after yesterday's strong winds but the forecast was for some rain and increasing wind. We tried a Redwing tape first thing and went fingers crossed for the first net round. The catch was ok and included a Redwing but otherwise mostly tits and no farmland birds!

The morning progressed and things got better until the rain started just after 9am which made us rush to the cars to hang the birds in to keep them dry and then close the nets, as the rain was heavy. We waited in the cars and when the rain stopped we opened the nets again, they had been closed for about an hour.

We took the nets down just after 11am as the wind increased and ended with a catch of 38. This included a single retrap, a Long-tailed Tit from Kingston last winter, a movement of under 2km.

The species totals were Long-tailed Tit 10, Wren 2, Great Tit 4, Blue Tit 7, Robin 2, Lesser Redpoll 6, Reed Bunting 3, Yellowhammer 1, Song thrush 1, Redwing 1, Grey Wagtail 1.

It was good to catch both Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting on this first visit and the Lesser Redpolls and Grey Wagtail added nice variety, the later in particular bringing a smile to Duncan’s face.


 Grey Wagtail (Gary Goddard)

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Brackenhurst, Sunday 1 November

We got to Brackenhurst at 06:00am this morning in the dark and foggy gloom half expecting to see stragglers going home from the All Hallows celebrations. The autumnal mist hung around ‘til the middle of the day and the sun never really made it until we were packing up.
We had a steady catch through the morning of 55 birds with a nice mix of 14 species. Points of note were the high catch, for Orwin's, of eight Goldcrest, which is maybe linked to the high numbers migrating from the continent this autumn? Only two of the Great Tits were birds of the year; suggesting they’ve had a poor breeding season.
The species totals were (new/retrap) 55(41/14): Bullfinch 1/0, Blue Tit 5/2, Chaffinch 5/2, Dunnock 2/1, Fieldfare 1/0, Goldcrest 8/0, Great Spotted Woodpecker 0/2, Great Tit 2/6, Long-tailed Tit 9/1, Redwing 2/0, Robin 2/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Wren 2/0, Yellowhammer 1/0. The oldest retraps were  Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Great Tit (2) from winter 2012/13.

 Great Spotted Woodpecker & Fieldfare (A. Phillips)