Somerford Common: Wednesday, 20th February 2019

On the basis that, having not had Brambling in our local woods before, I wanted as many of our team to get the chance to see them as possible, I scheduled today’s session back at Somerford Common, so that Steph and Lillie would get the opportunity.  Lillie is on half-term holiday this week, and Steph took the morning off work, so they could come along.  While topping up the feeders on Monday there was a good flock of 30+ Brambling in the area, so I knew there would be a chance of catching another one or two.

Jonny and I met at 6:15 and had the nets open by 7:00, by which time it was already daylight, so it looks like we are going to be starting much earlier for the next few weeks, until the brief respite of the clocks going forward.

Since Monday, the seed feeders had been emptied, the peanut feeders were half empty and the nyjer seed feeder was one third empty, so I was reasonably confident of getting a decent catch.  In the event it was not as big as I hoped, but it was a nice, varied collection of birds.

Steph ringed her first Brambling and Siskin; Lillie ringed her first Brambling and Lesser Redpoll.  One thing we have noticed is the increase in our catch of Chaffinch this year.  We have already caught and ringed 35 in the first 6 weeks of 2019.  If it keeps up at this rate we will eclipse any previous catches for this species.  On the down side, we are catching several more, at least one per session, that we cannot ring, due to growths on their legs.  None have looked as though they are mite infestations: they do look like Fringilla Papilloma Virus infections.

The catch for the session was: Nuthatch (1); Treecreeper 1; Blue Tit 7(2); Great Tit 6(3); Coal Tit (1); Marsh Tit (2); Robin (2); Goldcrest 1; Chaffinch 6; Brambling 2; Goldfinch 5(1); Lesser Redpoll 3(1); Siskin 1.  Totals: 32 birds ringed from 9 species and 13 birds retrapped from 8 species, making 45 birds processed from 13 species.