Saturday, 24 March 2012

Golden day

With the forecast for yet another glorious day and wall to wall sunshine a trip to the baited site at Haigh wasn't likely to produce many birds. I agreed to meet John (Gramauskas) and Mike (Cooper) at 08:30. Early morning starts haven't been productive for a while so a sensible start time was the order of the day and is always appreciated.

We erected two nets and waited to see what the warm weather, slight breeze and bright sunlight on the nets would allow us to catch. The catching rate wasn't too bad for the conditions and resulted in a reasonable catch up to lunchtime.

Highlight of the day was a control (ringed elsewhere) Goldfinch; ring number R695571. It may be a while before we discover where it was ringed but details will be posted in due course. This is the second control Goldfinch caught at Haigh this year.

Control Goldfinch R695571
That wasn't the only Goldfinch of interest. Another was caught wearing an avicultural plastic colour ring. This bird was obviously part of some breeding programme to enhance various plumage features and had presumably been released.

Some of the outer webs of the wing feathers were orange instead of yellow and there was much more white in the tail, especially the sub terminal patches on the inner web of the tail feathers. Some of the primaries were narrower than normal and the colours weren't symmetrical so it probably didn't make the grade and was presumably released by its breeder as a result.

Ex-cage bird showing unusual plumage
I had caught a Chiffchaff at the site just a few days before and what I thought was the same bird was still on territory and singing near the nets but when it was caught it turned out to be a new unringed bird.

The final tally for the morning was:
Bullfinch 2
Robin 2
Chaffinch 6
Great Tit 1 (1)
Blue Tit 2 (1)
Lesser Redpoll 1
Goldfinch 3 (3)
Chiffchaff 1
Long-tailed Tit 1
Total 19 new birds and 5 retraps shown in brackets (including the control Goldfinch).

Just before leaving Bryn (the dog) alerted me to a Hedgehog that was stumbling about in the open. It was clearly emaciated and probably on its last legs. I tried offering it water, worms and snails but it made no attempt to eat or drink and stumbled on. As it wasn't prepared or able to eat or drink it was probably beyond any help and may have had other underlying problems.

Sickly Hedgehog

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