As yesterday was such a horrible day weather-wise, and this morning was beautiful: dry, bright and windless, I decided to open my nets for a couple of hours and see what I could get. No need to hurry: I opened the nets at 8:30. As usual, Blue and Great Tits were straight into the nets, having been busy on the peanut feeder from first light.
I set a lure for Greenfinch and duly caught two in the next round. Deciding to take pity on the neighbours from the repetitive and piercing call of the male Greenfinch, I then changed it to Goldfinch, which is marginally less intense. This resulted in 5 of them dropping in. There were also a couple of Robin and Dunnock caught by the nets.
As I walked up to the first net at 10:30 something shot past from behind me at high speed and hit the net just a couple of feet off the ground: my first Sparrowhawk of the year and my first ever in my garden:
It was a juvenile male Sparrowhawk!
The list for the morning was: Sparrowhawk 1; Blue Tit 8(3); Great Tit 3; Dunnock 3; Robin 1(1); Goldfinch 4(1); Greenfinch 2. Totals: 22 birds ringed from 7 species and 5 birds recaptured from 3 species, making 27 birds processed from 7 species.
One of the things I really like is recapturing birds with consecutive ring numbers, as happened with 2 of the Blue Tits. Both were juveniles ringed by me in the garden in July. However, something better than that is recapturing a bird in your garden that was ringed elsewhere. The third re-caught Blue Tit was ringed in Red Lodge Plantation on the 6th July this year. It is only a couple of kilometres, and they do disperse quite long distances, but still very pleasing to see the birds moving around my local area.
I just had time to ring and process the Sparrowhawk before shutting up shop for our scheduled Sunday lunch with friends at the Carnavon Hotel at Whitway. I don’t want to do a TripAdvisor but but the food is fantastic, the ambience wonderful and, due to my forgetting to chew a piece of duck properly, they have someone who knows the Heimlich Manoeuvre, to whom I will be forever grateful!