Saturday, 1 March 2014

flammea, was good to see ya.

The baited site at Longshaw was the venue for this morning's ringing session. The forecast was for a pleasant spring day with little or no breeze and that's just what we got. Having said that it was rather chilly to start with and for much of the morning for that matter. Two 60ft nets were deployed as usual and I played a Redpoll lure under one of them. The use of the MP3 lure was more speculative than anything as there have been no Redpolls in the immediate area and spring passage doesn't usually get underway until mid-March or later.

The catching rate was surprisingly slow to start with and only improved a bit as the morning went on. This is the opposite of how a ringing session usually goes but at least it did pick up just enough to stop me from packing up early. Things started to improve when I heard a Redpoll call back to the MP3 lure. I only thought a single bird was involved but when I went to the net I was greeted by a fine Common Redpoll and 2 Lesser Redpolls in the middle of the net. This is the first Common or Mealy Redpoll, as I prefer to call them, that I have caught in quite a long time. In fact the last time I caught one, Mealy and Lesser Redpolls weren't treated as separate species so I could almost say I ringed a new species today.

Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea01/03/14.

Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) and Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret01/03/14.
The other star bird of the morning was a rather handsome Willow Tit. We are lucky in that there still seems to be a stable population in this area although they are fairly thinly scattered even in their favoured habitats. The finally tally for the morning was a satisfactory 22 new birds and 10 retraps. Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) were - Chaffinch 10 (1), Greenfinch 4, Lesser Redpoll 2, Common Redpoll 1, Dunnock 2 (1), Robin (2), Song Thrush 1, Blue Tit 1 (3), Great Tit (2), Willow Tit 1 and Long-tailed Tit (1).

Willow Tit (Poecile montanus) 01/03/14.
On getting home there was still very little in the way of any breeze and it had become quite overcast so I decided to put a net up in the garden to catch a few more Siskins.  My approach to catching Siskins in the garden is to only do very short ringing sessions of about an hour every 2 or 3 days if the weather allows and with the way the weather has been that has not been easy to achieve. This afternoon's total was 9 new Siskins and 2 retraps along with a new Greenfinch. One of the retrap Siskins had increased its weight by 1.8g in a week and the other by 1.1g in 3 days, not a bad increase for a bird that usually weights around 11 or 12g. I have now caught 50 different Siskins in the garden in the past week with 49 being new birds and 1 a retrap from last spring. Hopefully there will be a lot more Siskins to come this month and through into early April and with a bit of luck a some more Redpolls too.

Siskin (Carduelis spinus) 01/03/14.

Siskin (Carduelis spinus01/03/14.
One of 50 caught in the garden in the past 7 days.

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