The Firs: Saturday, 26th January 2019

Andrew Bray and I met up at the Firs this morning. The weather forecast was for it to be dry until mid-afternoon.  Unfortunately, the weather was dank and fairly miserable: not raining but very grey.  We set just six nets in three rides adjacent to the feeding station.  At several points during the morning the weather deteriorated into very light rain but it never lasted for more than about 10 minutes and, by checking the nets every 15 minutes and shaking the moisture off after each net was emptied, we managed to keep going. Unfortunately, at about 9:45 the rain became a bit heavier and more persistent so we closed the nets and packed away. I now have 6 wet nets hanging up in the garage to dry off but no birds were discomfited by getting wet as a result of our activities.

The catch was typical of these woods in winter: lots of titmice and not a lot else. We did catch one Chaffinch but, unfortunately, it had a growth on its right foot which had already resulted in the loss of two claws. It might have been FPV, it certainly wasn’t mites, but we decided not to put a ring on it.

The list for the day was: Nuthatch (1); Blue Tit 9(5); Great Tit 3(5); Coal Tit (1); Marsh Tit (2); Long-tailed Tit 1(1); Robin 1(1); Blackbird 1(1).  Totals: 15 birds ringed from 5 species; 17 birds recaptured from 8 species, making 32 birds processed from 8 species.  Another session where the number of recaptured birds is greater than the number ringed, which underlines the conservation value of ringing sites regularly.

We are recapturing a good number of Marsh Tits, which we expected after a stellar year for the species in the year to 31st March 2018, but are disappointed in the number we have managed to ring so far this year.  Hopefully we will get a glut in the next two months.