Between the Storms: Red Lodge, Wednesday, 12th February 2020

After the awful storms of Ciara and before the return of the wind and rain with Dennis (surely the Met Office should have named it “Donald”?) Alice and I managed to get out for a session at Red Lodge.  We were on site for 7:00 and opened just 4 nets (2 x 18m; 1 x 12m and 1 x 9m) adjacent to the feeding station.    After the school run we were joined by Steph and baby Beatrice.

I was quite hopeful that we would have a decent session: I had topped up the feeders Tuesday morning and the seed feeders had been emptied.  Given the lack of destruction to the feeders, I don’t think that squirrels were totally responsible for emptying them.

Although it wasn’t frosty, the air temperature was bitterly cold and didn’t start to warm up until gone 11:00.  As a result, we spent the first couple of hours doing 3 or 4 birds per net round.  However, as soon as it warmed up the birds starting moving around and we ended up with a respectable catch of 61 birds.

However, Blue Tits made up two-thirds of the catch, Great Tits three-twelfths and 4 species made up the remainder, so not the most exciting session.  To be honest, we really didn’t know what to expect in the aftermath of Ciara.  It would seem a lot of the finches have dispersed (away from the storm front?).

The catch for the day was: Blue Tit 37(6); Great Tit 7(5); Coal Tit (3); Marsh Tit (1); Song Thrush 1; Wren (1).  Totals: 45 birds ringed from 3 species; 16 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 61 bird processed from 6 species.

What was quite interesting was the volume of new Blue Tits on the site.  We ring there regularly and always ring a sizeable proportion of Blue Tits.  Over the winter we expect to actually have a split of 60:40 new to retrap, so this is very much out of the ordinary.  It will be interesting to see if things balance out again over the next 6 weeks.