Meadow Farm: Friday, 5th July 2019

This is a post by Jonny Cooper:

It generally takes a year or two after you start ringing at a site to understand how the site works and the best places to put nets to catch the birds using the site. Over the past few months I have been ringing regularly at Meadow Farm, near Sutton Benger, to monitor the bird species using the site and to locate and develop new net rides. So far the catches have reflected this effort with good numbers of birds being caught; for this session the extra effort put in to develop the site really paid off.

The forecast for the day was to be almost flat calm with temperatures rising to the low 20’s by lunchtime; good weather for ringing. Nets were set the night before and I arrived on site to start the session at 5:00 am. Whilst opening the nets 12 birds were caught, this was very much a sign of things to come. The first round proper delivered 58 birds, after extracting the birds I closed the nets to allow me to focus on processing them safely and to ensure that no birds were caught during this time. Once they had been processed I reopened the nets and caught a pretty regular 20 birds per round over the next few hours. The catch was as follows:

Blackbird 1[1]; Blackcap 8[6]; Blue Tit [19](1); Bullfinch 1; Chaffinch 1[2]; Chiffchaff [5]; Dunnock [2]; Goldfinch 3[1](1); Great Spotted Woodpecker [1](2); Great Tit [40](9); Greenfinch 1[2](1); Kingfisher [2]; Reed Warbler 5[3](3); Robin 1[1](1); Sedge Warbler [3](1); Song Thrush (1); Whitethroat 1(1); Wren [3](2). Totals: 22 adults and 91 juveniles ringed from 17 species with 23 birds retrapped from 11 species; making 136 birds from 18 species.

Catching 2 Kingfishers is the obvious highlight, but catching juveniles of both Reed & Sedge Warblers was fantastic; I have caught adults of both species on site previously but to get proof of breeding was excellent. Other highlights were the number of Blackcaps and the Whitethroats. Most of these birds were caught in the new nets rides.

Overall it was a great, but busy session, the temperature started to rise late morning and the birds stopped moving. I closed the nets at 11, took down and went home for a well-earned rest.