Somerford Common: Saturday, 11th May 2019

Somerford Common is, without doubt, the most varied woodland that I ring.  If I lost all of my other woodland sites, I could replace them with the different habitats available at Somerford.  For today’s session I set up along the rides in the south-east corner of the wood.  The ride running west to east was cleared and widened on the south side considerably three years ago, the paddock area to its north became subject to a coppicing regime two years ago.  Both are growing back and offering a good range of different heights of vegetation.  This is usually a good recipe for getting a decent variety of birds.

Somerford

I was working solo for the session, so I didn’t overdo the number of nets.  You can never tell how big the catch will be at Somerford.  The usual catch at this time of the year is 25 to 30 birds, totally manageable for an experienced ringer.

The list for the day was: Blue Tit (2); Long-tailed Tit 2(5); Dunnock 1; Robin 1; Song Thrush 1; Blackbird 3; Blackcap 4; Garden Warbler 1(1); Chiffchaff 2(1); Willow Warbler 1; Goldcrest 1. Totals: 17 birds ringed from 10 species; 9 birds recaptured from 4 species, making 26 birds processed from 11 species.

The recaptured Garden Warbler, D977367, is not one of our birds. It looks like it is an old ring number and I shall look forward to getting the details, which will indicate how many times this bird has flown from the UK to over-winter in the Congo rain forest.  There were no Garden Warblers caught at the site last year, so this is a welcome return.  When I surveyed the site for the BTO’s Bird Atlas back in 2008, Somerford Common was the best site for Garden Warblers.  The vegetation is now in a similar state to where it was then, so I am hoping that we will have a good catch of the species this summer (and for the next few years).

It was our best catch of Long-tailed Tits for a while and our best catch of them ever at Somerford at this time of year (i.e. with no feeding station and before this year’s youngsters have fledged).  One of them was ringed as a juvenile back in June 2015: a pretty good age for such a small bird.

Update: Garden Warbler D977367 was ringed at Waterhay in the Cotswold Water Park as a juvenile in August 2014.  A well-travelled bird!