We were asked to do a session for the Wildlife Trust’s Wellbeing team, so we moved our scheduled session from Wednesday to Thursday: something we are always happy to do. I had set up a feeding station on Tuesday, hoping that it would ensure we had a few birds for the session. The birds had clearly found the feeders, as the peanuts and seed mix had been reduced by one third.
As luck would have it, Wednesday was dry and sunny, Thursday was overcast and showery. Andrew Bray and I arrived at 6:30 and set the nets. We only set nets down the central glade, as there was just the two of us. Immediately, we had opened them we had to shut them, as it started to rain. We were able to open them just after 8:00 and got a good first round of 18 birds in. The rain started again at 8:30, so we closed the nets again, able to open them at 9:15. It seemed that as soon as we opened them birds started flying in. The rest of the morning remained dry – apart from the water continually dripping off the trees every time there was a breath of wind.
The list for the day was: Great Spotted Woodpecker (1); Nuthatch 1(3); Treecreeper 2; Blue Tit 14(19); Great Tit 2(7); Coal Tit 4(2); Marsh Tit (2); Long-tailed Tit 2(2); Wren 1(2); Goldcrest (2). Totals: 26 ringed from 7 species; 40 birds recaptured from 9 species, making 66 birds processed from 10 species.
We caught a Great Tit, which was one of the first I ringed after getting my C-permit, D056678. This was ringed as an adult, just up the road in a private site on Wood Lane, in October 2012, so it is at least 7 years old. Typical lifespan of Great Tits is 3 years, but the oldest known, from ringing, is a massive 13 years 11 months and 5 days.
Any session where we catch four Nuthatches is a good session: three recaptures and one new bird. Add in a couple of recaptured Marsh Tits and Goldcrests plus two new Treecreepers and it becomes a very good session.
The Wellbeing group arrived at just before 10:00, and we were able to show them a wide range of different birds. Jo Woodhams and Chelsie Phillips, valuable members of the Wellbeing Team, had organised the group and persuaded them to get to site an hour earlier than they would normally start. It was a diverse group of varying ages. One thing they all had in common was a real interest in the birds we showed them. Several were knowledgeable, but this was the first time they had been able to see them up close, and they were delighted.