With the uncertain weather forecasts at the moment I am trying to fit in sessions where I can. Last Saturday was scheduled for Red Lodge but, as it poured down all day, I moved the session to this Monday morning. I was joined for the first time by Alice. Alice was one of the long term volunteers on Skokholm this summer, so we had already met. Having moved to Cheltenham to do an MSc, Alice was looking for a reasonably local ringing group to work with. She is a T-permit holder, but her trainer is in Cambridge, hence the need to find a more local group to work with. Having tried a few more local ringers, who were not suitable for providing regular ringing and training, she stumbled across our blog.
Alice didn’t read back enough to find that we had been to Skokholm, so was surprised to find that out when I replied and invited her along. Impressively, she managed to find the right entrance to Red Lodge and was waiting for me when I arrived! She has experience of working with mist nets and, as part of her ringing in Cambridge was focused on catching Blue Tits, our local woodlands held no terrors for her.
We set just 3 net rides: one comprising 2 x 18m and 1 x 12m nets, one comprising 2 x 18m nets and one of a single 18m net. I didn’t want to find ourselves overstretched, as it was just the two of us.
The morning started quite quietly: a couple of birds in the first round, several birds in each subsequent round until 11:00, when we hit a couple of Tit flocks and a goodly number of Goldcrest. They kept us busy extracting and processing until 12:30, when we closed up the nets and packed away.
The list for the session was: Great Spotted Woodpecker 1; Treecreeper 1(1); Blue Tit 17(4); Great Tit 7(5); Coal Tit 1; Marsh Tit 2(2); Long-tailed Tit 12(1); Wren 1; Dunnock 1; Robin 1(1); Blackbird 1; Goldcrest 19(1); Chaffinch (1). Totals: 64 birds ringed from 12 species and 16 birds recaptured from 8 species, making 80 birds processed from 13 species.
Our second round delivered another 2 new Marsh Tits for ringing and the 11:00 round delivered two recaptured Marsh Tits, so another couple of good additions to this year’s total. Alice got to extract and ring her first Great Spotted Woodpecker. Any woodland session where you ring more Goldcrest than Blue Tit or Great Tit is a good session.