Meadow Farm: Thursday, 8th August 2019

This is a post by Jonny Cooper:

Regular, consistent ringing at a site is a brilliant way to build up a picture of the bird species that use the site across the year, and how the populations change over time. At Meadow Farm this is achieved by carrying out at least one session every month,  with more if possible.  The weather forecast for Thursday seemed to suggest a break from the relatively high winds we have been experiencing recently, so I made the decision to carry out a session.

The session followed the trend of recent ones at the site: kicking off the catching of half a dozen birds as the nets were being opened, and then taking off rapidly from there. Over the next 6 hours I caught and processed 120 birds exactly. The catch was as follows:

Blackbird (1), Blue Tit [37](2), Bullfinch 1[3], Chiffchaff [6], Dunnock [1], Goldfinch 1[3], Great Tit [12](9), Greenfinch 3[19], Kingfisher [1], Long-tailed Tit [1], Reed Warbler [5](1), Robin [3], Sedge Warbler [2](1), Whitethroat 2, Willow Warbler [1], Wren [4](1). Totals: 7 adults from 4 species; 98 juveniles ringed from 14 species and 15 birds retrapped from 7 species, making a total of 120 birds from 16 species.

To catch another Kingfisher was great. This was the tenth new specimen caught here since I began ringing the site in January 2018.  In fact, it is the tenth in just under a year, as the first was caught on the 31st August last year.  Of the 10 caught, 7 have been juveniles, suggesting that they have found a good breeding site.

However the real highlight was the catching of 22 Greenfinch, this is the biggest single catch of Greenfinch since 1st January 2013, when the West Wilts ringing group began in its current form.  That 19 of these were juveniles, many newly-fledged, suggests that they are having an excellent breeding season.  Nationally this species’ numbers have dropped markedly over the last decade or so due to the disease Trichomonosis, hopefully this large catch is a sign the numbers are now bouncing back.

One species notable by its absence was Blackcap, at this time of year you would expect to catch good numbers as they start to move through on migration but today none got into the nets.

I closed the nets and packed down at about 11:30, by that time the temperature had risen and most bird movement had ceased.