Flocking Titmice: Saturday, 5th October 2019

With none of the team making themselves available to help today (just like last Saturday: hmmm!) I decided to be a bit conservative with my net setting. I restricted myself to just two net rides: one comprising 3 x 18m nets and the other comprising 2 x 18m and 1 x 12m net set at right-angles to the 18m nets.  It is a bit of a funny time of year for ringing: there is the tail end of the autumn outward migration and the beginning of the winter inward migration.  You never know what you are going to catch.  In the event, I caught one Chiffchaff and no winter visitors.

Most of my catch was made up of a number of small flocks of titmice, the sort of catch that I would expect to get at my feeding stations during the winter.  However, I have just checked my records and, on the equivalent session at Red Lodge last year, the catch was incredibly similar: I just didn’t catch as many Goldcrest as last year (because I didn’t lure for them).

The catch today was: Treecreeper [2]; Blue Tit 2[30]; Great Tit 2[13](1): Coal Tit [6](1); Marsh Tit [3]; Long-tailed Tit {8}; Wren [2](1); Robin [1]; Blackbird [2]; Chiffchaff [1]; Goldcrest [3].  Totals: 8 birds ringed unaged from 1 species; 4 adults ringed from 2 species; 63 juveniles ringed from 10 species and 3 birds recaptured from 3 species, making 78 birds processed from 11 species.

The session started well: with 2 juvenile Marsh Tits in the first round. Numbers had been a bit down this year but they are now on a par with the catches in previous years, excepting the freakish result in 2017. A third caught in the third round took the total to 4 for the week.  As my next two sessions are in woodlands that have been notable strongholds for the species (Somerford Common and Ravensroost Woods) I am hoping that we will gain a few more to the total.

Alongside the catch, there was a lot of other bird calling going on. Nuthatches and Great Spotted Woodpecker were very much in evidence.  A constant refrain throughout the morning was a juvenile Sparrowhawk calling to be fed.  It does seem late for it to be still expecting to be fed by a parent.