Somerford Common: Monday, 18th November 2019

On my quest to catch a few Lesser Redpoll this autumn, as opposed to their normal arrival in the later winter, I arranged another session at Somerford Common this morning.  I was joined by Andrew and Tony for the session.  We got there whilst still dark and set a couple of 12 metre wader nets across the main path with a lure for Woodcock.  Last time we visited the site, we flushed one in the area where we set the net this time.  We did see a Woodcock – as it flew over the nets heading for its daytime roost. Once the light came up we changed the lure to the Latvian love-song for Redwing: it worked its magic straight away.  We ended up with 12 of them.

The first round was very busy: mainly Blue Tit, but we caught two new and two recaptured Marsh Tit.  Later in the morning we recaptured another 2 Marsh Tits.  This is, so far, our second best year for the species in the Braydon Forest with 26 of them ringed. Another 4 in the next 6 weeks and it will be the best to date!

We didn’t manage to catch any Lesser Redpoll but we had a good catch of 10 Goldfinch. The total catch for the session was: Blue Tit 14(12); Great Tit 7(4); Marsh Tit 2(4); Robin 1; Redwing 12; Chaffinch 4; Goldfinch 10.  Totals 50 birds ringed from 7 species; 20 birds recaptured from 3 species, making 70 birds processed from 7 species.

Not the most exciting catch, no Lesser Redpoll, but buried in the recaptures were two long-lived birds. Z446672 is a Marsh Tit, ringed 27th January 2015 as first year bird, recaptured  on three further occasions before today.  Mind, it needs to survive another 5 years before coming close to the current longevity record. The other was a Great Tit, TT86480, which was ringed as a first year bird in February 2013.  Venerable, but needs another 8 years to get close to the current longevity record.  However, it was ringed on just my third visit to the site.  It has only been retrapped once before today: 4 years ago.

The catch died off at 11:00, so we were packed and away from site before noon. Next time!