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.