Monday, 11 January 2016

Crawford: 11th January 2016

Scraping frost from the car was a bit of a novelty this morning as it was only the third or fourth time I have needed to this winter. Having defrosted the car I headed off to Crawford a little later than planned but that was largely due to my reluctance to get up and need for large quantities of caffeine rather than the time taken up by clearing the thin layer of frost from the windscreen.

I had three nets set up at the feeders by 08:30 which was early enough as it was still ahead of the main arrival of birds. A good number of finches and a few Tree Sparrows started to arrive after I had set up and the first round of the nets produced 17 birds. The change to more normal temperatures seemed to have sharpened their appetites and by late morning a total of 46 birds had been caught.

Goldfinch was still the dominant species but there was a noticeable, if slight, increase in the number of Tree Sparrows and Greenfinches coming to the feeders and this was reflected in the numbers caught. On the other hand Chaffinches continue to be in relatively short supply and only one Yellowhammer was seen coming to the seed all morning. There are still plenty of stubble fields around and Chaffinches and Yellowhammers are presumably taking advantage of them, not that I have seen many doing so. It may take a covering of snow or the action of the plough before more need to take advantage of my seed offerings, although I suspect there are simply fewer around following last year's poor breeding season.

Adult male Goldfinch.
Adult male Greenfinch.
Tree Sparrow
Adult female Yellowhammer.
This was the only Yellowhammer seen at the feed this morning and turned out to be a retrap when caught. It was originally ringed at the same site on 17th February last year.
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 11/01/16 were: Woodpigeon 1; Blackbird 3 (1); Robin (1), Dunnock (1); Blue Tit 1 (1); Great Tit 1; Goldfinch 16 (6); Greenfinch 4 (1), Chaffinch 3 (1); Tree Sparrow 4; Yellowhammer (1). 

When I got home I heard the sad news that David Bowie had died and while I couldn't class myself as a huge fan he has produced some great music. Like many people of my age his music has punctuated a large part of my early life so here is one of my favourite tracks by way of a small tribute -

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