The Firs: Tuesday, 17th November 2020

With the weather being as volatile as it is, I am trying to get out whenever there is a break in the weather. Unfortunately, along with the bad weather, Forestry England centrally have overridden their regional offices and banned all volunteer activities on their sites. Clearly they see birding as outdoor recreational activity but not bird ringing. That contrasts with the JNCC, Natural England, the BTO, the MoD and the Wildlife Trusts. It is hard to understand how they can come to such a different interpretation of the rules. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, instead of going to Somerford Common for Redpoll and Siskin, I spent the morning in the Firs.

It was dull and overcast all morning, with passing moments of mist which eventually became fine rain as I was just about finished packing up.

The first bird out of the nets was a Redwing. Unfortunately, it was the only one of the morning. In fact, the catch was totally predictable for this wood at this time of year: Blue and Great Tits and little else: Treecreeper 1; Blue Tit 7(5); Great Tit 4(5); Long-tailed Tit (1); Wren (2); Robin (2); Redwing 1; Goldcrest 1. Totals: 14 birds ringed from 5 species and 15 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 29 birds processed from 8 species.

Disappointingly, as at Webb’s and Ravensroost recently, no Marsh Tits, either new or recaptured. The adult Treecreeper was the highlight of the session. They are difficult birds to photograph: not because they struggle but because, with their decurved beak and their tendency to hunch up, they tend to look thoroughly miserable – and we don’t post photographs that might be hijacked by the antis to suggest that ringing is stressful for the birds processed.