It is at least 3 years since I have run a session that took in the north end of Ravensroost Woods. The catch in the area had reduced significantly, and it is hard work managing both ends of the wood. However, as I had a good sized, and experienced, team out with me today: Ellie, Jonny and Alice, we decided to focus on this rather neglected part of the wood. It turned out to be a really good session and I won’t be neglecting it for that length of time again.
Obviously with the problems further north in the country, it would be churlish to complain about the weather, but the rain forecast for 14:00 arrived at 11:30, and the wind really got up from the opposite direction from which it was forecast and which influenced where we set out nets, whilst we were extracting several hundred leaves from the nets and packing away. It seems that weather forecasting is now so inaccurate that looking out of the window is the only way to tell what is going on.
We set up our nets along the main paths (nice not to have to wear wellies for once) as shown below (the red lines):
It was very quiet for the first hour and a bit but then picked up for the next 2 hours, before we packed away. There were two significant highlights. We caught another 4 new Marsh Tits for colour-ringing and recaptured two more ringed earlier this year. Extracting and ringing one was a first for Alice: they are red-listed but Wiltshire woodlands do seem to be strongholds for them.
The second highlight was our first Lesser Redpoll of the year:
The list for the session was: Great Spotted Woodpecker 1; Nuthatch 1; Treecreeper 1; Blue Tit 5; Great Tit 2(1); Marsh Tit 4(2); Long-tailed Tit 7(5); Robin (2); Redwing 3; Blackbird 2(1); Goldcrest 5(1); Lesser Redpoll 1. Totals: 32 birds ringed from 11 species and 12 birds retrapped from 6 species, making 44 birds processed from 12 species.
It is a rare session where you capture more Long-tailed Tits, Marsh Tits and Goldcrests than Blue and / or Great Tits in one of the Braydon Forest woodlands. One of the retrapped Long-tailed Tits was originally ringed on the 20th September 2014: that is a good age for a bird with an expected lifespan of 2 years!