Thursday, 23 February 2012

Two Weeks of Winter

The last two weeks has seen the only proper wintery weather so far this season with up to 8 inches of snow on the summit of Leith Hill.  With thoughts that this would increase the activity around my feeders I spent a weekend ringing in my garden followed by two regular Monday sessions at Leith Hill and my third visit to North River.

The garden weekend surprisingly only produced 38 new birds with the highlights being a Siskin (unusual here), a Coal Tit, five Goldfinch, six Greenfinch and a Collared Dove (below).
Leith Hill was much the same as recent visits with a high proportion of Redpolls, although there was a notable increase in the number of tits and Siskin caught.  Other highlights here included a new Great Spotted Woodpecker and three control Redpolls - L484304, Y703506 and L459778.

North River had its best session catching 28 birds with new birds including a Goldcrest, two Treecreeper, three Blackbird, a Song Thrush and a Redwing (below).
Three more recoveries have come through:

V965975 Lesser Redpoll - ringed as a juvenile on 28th July 2009 in Greystoke Forest, Cumbria and caught as an adult male on Leith Hill on 31st Dec 2010.

L185159 Lesser Redpoll - ringed as an adult female on 10th Nov 2011 at Queen Mary Reservoir, Surrey and caught at Leith Hill on 30th Nov 2011.

L623717 Lesser Redpoll - ringed as an adult on 27th March 2011 at Light Oaks, Staffordshire and caught at Leith Hill on 16th Nov 2011.

Birds ringed:
Blackbird - 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 1
Treecreeper - 2
Goldcrest - 1
Wren - 1
Greenfinch - 6
Robin - 5
Coal Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 8
Blue Tit - 28
Great Tit - 5
Siskin - 18
Dunnock - 1
Redpo sp - 11
Common (Mealy) Redpoll - 38
Chaffinch - 3

Saturday, 11 February 2012

How Do You Fit a 20ft Net in a 10ft Gap?

Martin has been getting quite a few Redpolls now coming to his garden feeders of which at least one was bearing a ring, so we decided to try a netting session here.  The only problem was that his garden is only 10ft wide and the birds fly along it rather than across it.  So, how do you fit my smallest net (20ft) in a 10ft gap?  Obviously, you bend it!  This was actually easier than I thought and with the help of a convenient little tear in the net in which to guy off the supporting pole (below), it worked very well.  In the end 33 birds were caught which included 2 Nuthatch, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 8 Robin and 19 Redpolls one of which was a control.  I was assuming that this would be one of this winters birds from Leith Hill, but turned out to be one of Wes Attridge's birds that he ringed in Capel last winter.
Over the rest of the last couple of weeks I did a brief morning in my garden catching 41 new birds including a Great-spotted Woodpecker, six Greenfinch and three Starling, the latter of which I rarely see in the garden.

There were also three mornings spent up on Leith Hill including a couple of ringing demonstrations for different groups of National Trust volunteers and overall caught 96 new birds, still being dominated by Redpolls.  Also a few more controls which were L484304, X786799 and Y169992 (which I also caught in early January).

Birds ringed:
Redpo sp. - 19
Common Redpoll - 66
Lesser Redpoll - 4
Goldfinch - 7
Chaffinch - 5
Blue Tit - 22
Siskin - 7
Robin - 11
Great Tit - 9
Coal Tit - 1
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 1
Starling - 3
Redwing - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 4
Nuthatch - 2
Greenfinch - 6