Webb’s Wood: Wednesday, 2nd October 2019

The summer is over, autumn migration is winding down and winter is just around the corner.  Actually, with a temperature of 6°C first thing this morning, it felt wintry already.  Jonny and I met at the entrance to Webb’s Wood at the civilised time of 7:00. We set our usual nets, along the main path and side paths at the eastern end of the wood.

At this time of year catches in the woodlands can be a bit hit or miss: there are tit flocks around, but they are not concentrated in any particular area: you either catch a flock or you don’t! It can make a huge difference to the size of the catch.  Naturally, the most frequent time to catch a large tit flock is usually just after you have decided to finish for the day!  Equally, there might be a few Redwing around, some finch flocks maybe, but there is no definite pattern at this time of year.  As luck would have it, we had no flocks of any description in the nets today.

Being out of the breeding season we are allowed to use sound lures, which we did this morning.  However, they were singularly unsuccessful in luring in any of the targeted species until, at 10:00, I put on a lure for Goldcrest.  I am always careful about luring such a small bird, hence the late start time for it. They weigh between 4.5g and 6.0g and I want them to have had plenty of time for breakfast before trying to catch them.  Exactly as expected, they responded very quickly to the lure and we extracted 13 of them: the biggest catch of the morning.  All processed safely and released without harm.

In the event we had a very reasonable catch for this wood at this time of year: 39 birds from 10 species. The list was: Blue Tit [1](1); Great Tit 1[1](1); Coal Tit 1; Marsh Tit [1]; Long-tailed Tit {2}; Wren [4](1); Robin [7](2); Blackcap [1]; Chiffchaff [2]; Goldcrest [10](3). Totals: 2 ringed unaged from 1 species; 2 adults ringed from 2 species; 27 juveniles ringed from 8 species and 8 birds recaptured from 5 species.

The highlight of the session was the juvenile Marsh Tit: they have been a bit light in the catch this year, and this was a welcome addition: the first for the site this year.