A lovely Spring morning led to a pleasant ringing session at Tedworth House this morning. I was joined for the morning by Andrew Bray and Dave Turner did his usual stalwart job of helping set up, and providing the bacon sandwiches – absolutely invaluable.
The catch was smallish but had a few highlights: the main one for me being my first catch of an over-wintering Blackcap. A stunning male Greenfinch was my team’s first for the year and a couple of Goldcrest, one of which has lived through at least 3 winters, were a pleasant addition.
We were unlucky in that a local Kestrel has decided to spend some considerable time staking out the most regularly topped up feeding station, just outside the Hero garden. Their preferred prey might be small mammals but they are very adept at taking small birds. The small birds are clearly aware of that and there were considerably fewer feeding there than there has been at recent sessions. A pair of local Jackdaws gave her a hard time for a while, resulting in her making a high-pitched chittering cry as she manouevred away from them.
The catch for the day was: Nuthatch (1); Blue Tit 8(8); Coal Tit (2); Long-tailed Tit 1; Dunnock 1(2); Robin 1(2); Blackcap 1; Goldcrest (2); Greenfinch 1. Totals: 13 birds ringed from six species and 17 birds retrapped from six species, making 30 birds processed from nine species.
As well as our catch, the Kestrel and the Jackdaws, we heard Green Woodpecker and watched a Buzzard taking advantage of an early thermal but the key sighting was seeing the pair of Raven fly in to their nesting tree. We suspect that they haven’t laid eggs yet: their breeding was late last year and looks as though it might be again this year, but great that they are back again for another go.