Last month’s visit had to be cancelled: two dates were rained off and the third was made impossible because Countryfile decided that they would be filming where I usually set my nets. For this month, we were lucky with the weather and, with no film crews to get in the way, I got on site as scheduled.
Dave Turner, as usual, was on hand to help set up the nets and provide the essential bacon sandwich at 8:30. He has got breakfast down to a fine art: the House stops serving at 8:15, so a trip to the kitchen at 8:20 sees the staff being extremely generous with their servings, as they want to use up any excess. Waste not, want not (waist yes)!
The ringing was solo and pretty busy. I only set three short net rides, adjacent to the feeding stations. As usual, the woodland feeding stations were only topped up the day before, so they caught but weren’t that busy. However, the garden feeding station is kept topped up and is a magnet for all sorts of birds (but mainly titmice).
The catch for the day was: Great Spotted Woodpecker 1; Jay 1; Blue Tit 17(2); Great Tit 7(2); Coal Tit (1); Wren (1); Dunnock 5; Robin 1(1); Blackbird 1; Goldcrest 2; Chaffinch (1). Totals: 35 birds ringed from eight species, eight birds retrapped from six species, making 43 birds processed from 11 species.
I had a regular stream of visitors to my ringing station during the morning, staff, visitors, volunteers and residents all delighted to see birds up close. The Goldcrests, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker were the main attractions but the feisty nature of Blue Tits, as they are busy biting me whilst I show them to people, always amuses an audience.