On Monday Jonny and I headed for Ravensroost Woods. The weather forecast was for fine and settled weather. We set 10 nets and the first couple of rounds were quite surprising, with three each of Treecreeper and Chiffchaff caught. After a couple of retrapped Blue Tit and a Wren, unfortunately an unexpected wind got up, and came from the north westerly direction, blowing the nets into the trees. This brought a quick and early end to our session. It was doubly unfortunate, as I was going to show one of the many Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Well-Being Groups the science and practices of bird ringing.
We spent the next hour looking at potential Curlew breeding sites in the Braydon Forest. My main Curlew site has only had a single calling bird heard so far this year. However, as we did a quick reconnaissance we put up 8 Snipe – something of a surprise, as I had expected them to have left for their breeding grounds by now.
Thursday saw me at Tedworth House for my monthly Help4Heroes session. As is often the way at this time of a year, it was a relatively quiet session. However, it was not without interest. The highlight was a very late Redwing. This is the latest staying Redwing that I have found in our database of 1,611 individuals since 2002.
The list for the day was Great Spotted Woodpecker (1); Nuthatch 1(1); Blue Tit 1(5); Great Tit (1); Coal Tit 3; Dunnock (1); Robin (2); Redwing 1; Blackbird 2(3); Goldfinch 1. Totals: 9 birds ringed from 6 species; 14 birds retrapped from 7 species, making 23 birds processed from 10 species.
Of these birds, two of the Blue Tits, all of the Blackbirds, both Nuthatches, both Robins and the Dunnock all were showing breeding changes, from cloacal protuberances in the males to brood patches in various stages of development in the females. The female Blackbird and the two Robins (both females) had extremely well-developed brood patches, indicating that they are already either incubating eggs or, potentially, brooding young.