As we are all restricted to staying at home I’ve felt like it's been important to get some garden birds ringed, as there’s not a lot else going on at the moment. I’ve managed three short sessions so far in January, helped by some decent ringing weather and the fact I've had a bit of time to take off work so I can juggle parenting duties with some bird-time.
The cool weather has brought many finches to the garden, with a flock of 65 goldfinches noted during the cold snap at the start of the month and decent numbers of Chaffinch and Greenfinch. I noted a lot of these birds were coming in later in the day so had a couple of afternoon sessions to try and exploit this. The first session was very successful with 18 Goldfinches caught out of a total of 29 birds. Five days later, I had another go in near-perfect conditions, and only managed 12 birds – maybe I got too greedy. I had another session today mid-morning and it was fairly quiet again with 15 birds caught.
It has been nice to steadily catch Greenfinches, and I’m hoping I get a repeat of the influx of last year's late winter/spring. I have now ringed 4 Blackcaps this winter, all first-year males, and there are still other unringed male and female birds in the garden. I have been catching 1 or 2 each winter so far, so it seems to be a good winter for them, with plenty of reports from other gardens around the county.
Otherwise its business as usual, but there doesn’t seem to be many tits around, particularly Coal Tit and Blue Tit, and big flocks of Long-tailed Tits are absent replaced with small groups of 2-3 birds. Also back in November I managed to trap a Grey Wagtail that had been visiting our pond.