If you never try, you’ll never know: Meadow Farm, 22nd & 23rd September 2020

This is a blog by Jonny Cooper

Of all my sites Meadow Farm is the one I try to ring at consistently across the year. I aim to undertake 2 sessions each month, setting the nets in the same positions each time. This allows comparisons to be made across years, and has allowed a good picture of the bird life at the site during the two and a half years of ringing there.

On Tuesday I was due to undertake a session and I dutifully set up all the normal nets. The session itself was pretty typical, if a little quiet, for the site. Overall, 33 birds were caught, consisting of a mix of resident and migrant species. The catch for the day was as follows: Blue Tit 1(1), Great Tit 2(4), Wren 1(2), Dunnock 1(1), Meadow Pipit 2, Cetti’s Warbler (1), Blackcap 3, Chiffchaff 11, Greenfinch 2 and Goldfinch 1. A total of 24 birds ringed from 9 species and 9 re-traps from 4 species, making 33 birds processed from 11 species. 

One thing I noticed was that part of the field had been turned over for re-seeding and there were good numbers of Meadow Pipit using the area. I was unprepared for catching them, as I had no lure and no Mipit triangle set up. However, two of them found their way into the nets, representing the first 2 Meadow Pipits caught at the site.

I packed up and left the site but couldn’t get the thought of coming back and trying for some Meadow Pipit out of my mind.

The next morning I returned armed with the Meadow Pipit lure we use when catching at Blakehill. I set up a Mipit triangle, put the lure on and waited. The first round produced 11 Meadow Pipit and a Grey Wagtail and from then until 10am each round yielded a few more Meadow Pipit. In total I caught 49 Meadow Pipit and 1 Grey Wagtail.

So across the 2 days, 83 birds from 12 species were processed. It was very satisfying to be able to try something new and for it to work. I will be trying it again.