Bob was parked up raring to go well before dawn and I was on schedule despite the serious nature of my symptoms (if anyone sees my other half please let her know how close to death I was). The forecast was promising and I was hopeful of some migrants passing through.
As soon as the first nets were opened I thought we could be in for a good morning as we seemed to catch a steady trickle of Blackcap from the get go, ending the morning on 41. Several of these birds had good fat and muscle scores, the heaviest weighing it 22.5 grams. A good 3 grams over the average of 19 grams that most of the others weighed in at. Another interesting observation was that only 12 of the total caught were female birds. I would be delighted to learn why the sex ratio is not a little more even? A steady stream of Chiffchaff was also apparent with a total of 13 ringed. I was also pleased to pick up 6 new Goldcrest, the first significant catch of new birds I have had since last Winter. A re trap that I ringed last September also turned up. I find these long term absentees often leave me asking more questions about its time away than I ever find the answers for. I was pleased with the first Reed Bunting of the Autumn and I hope to work with this species more throughout the winter. (Any info on roost sites would be greatly appreciated). A re trap Marsh Tit also added variety and seemed to be doing well and in good condition. We finished the morning on 72 new birds and 5 re traps.
A Male Blackcap topping the scales at 22.5 grams
One of only 12 females caught during the morning session
The first Reed Bunting of the Autumn
Re trap Marsh Tit doing well
Wren, a regular on the Moor.
Bob and I also had a little evening session on some farmland near to his house last night. An area we knew to be good for birds, but unexplored and time needed to work out net locations etc.
We opted for a line of 3 x 60 ft nets and experimented with Linnet and Yellowhammer on the speakers. This resulted in the successful catch of 3 of each species. As the evening drew on we changed the speaker and tried for Swallow. Ending the evening with a grand total of 2! Not the greatest number ever caught but it was nice to process all 3 as I do not currently ring many of each species. We also had the chance to discuss net placement and feel that next time we try the area some gentle tweaks will optimise our catching potential. We will keep you posted on our progress within the area.