This must be the first time for years that I have gone 10 days between full sessions. Apart from the rain, it has been extremely windy in this neck of the woods. Wednesday was set to be wet and windy, so we moved the session to Thursday. On Thursday, Rosie and I tried for a session at Somerford Common, which, whilst dry, proved too exposed to the wind, so we went round to Ravensroost Wood, where it was more sheltered, but in two hours we caught one bird, so I packed up and went home. Friday looked better but I was ill, so I was delighted to be able to get out this morning.
I set up a feeding station at Somerford on Friday of last week, and was pleased, when we arrived on Thursday, to find that it had been emptied already. I refilled it on Friday afternoon ready for today. I was joined this morning by David and Anna. We only set five nets, three around the feeding station and two on the main path:
The nets were open by 7:30 and we immediately caught our first three birds at the feeding station nets: all Marsh Tits! One new and two retraps. It turned out to be a good morning for Marsh Tit: two ringed and six retrapped. All six of the retraps were adults and the ringed birds were both juveniles.
Just after 8:00 we were joined by the Childs family: dad Mark and sons Adam and Daniel. The two children spent some time refreshing on the safe handling and release of birds. Later in the session they were taught how to measure wing lengths and successfully get them into the weighing pot and, towards the end of the session, they were taught to ring their first birds. Each ringed a Blue Tit and a Great Tit, and their stoical acceptance of being pecked by both species was admirable.
Following on from the success we had catching the species in these nets at Somerford Common last year, the net set on the main ride was fitted with a lure for Redwing but, after two hours with there being no sign of them, I changed it to Goldcrest – and the effect was immediate. Within a couple of minutes we had eight of them in the net. By the end of the morning we had caught 17: 15 ringed and two retraps. The feeding station nets had lures for Brambling, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll. Only the last of those were caught this morning. The list was: Blue Tit 15(10); Great Tit 5(6); Coal Tit 1; Marsh Tit 2(6); Long-tailed Tit 3; Wren 2; Robin 2(2); Goldcrest 15(2); Lesser Redpoll 3. Totals: 48 birds ringed from 9 species and 26 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 74 birds processed from 9 species.
We shut the nets at 11:30, took down and packed away and were off site at midday.
It was a really pleasant, easy session: a good number of birds and reasonable variety. What I found slightly surprising was the lack of Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch: virtually nailed on certainties at Somerford Common once the feeding station is setup. Next time!