On the plus side I have spent more time watching the birds in the garden and noted an increase in the number of Siskins visiting the feeders. There have been up to nine which is a really good number for the time of year as I don't usually get Siskins in the garden before the second week of February in a good Siskin winter. In many respects getting Siskins in the garden is a sign of spring as they can be quite early breeders and they need to fatten up before migrating back to breeding areas in Scotland and and northern Europe. Some birds start heading back to their breeding grounds before the end of February and there can be a big turnover of birds in late February and throughout March. In 2013 I ringed 102 Siskins in the garden between 9th February and 30th March and in 2014 the total was even higher with 179 ringed between 18th February and 4th April.
Not being able to put a net out for the Siskins was not the only frustration as there have also been 3 Lesser Redpolls coming to the feeders over the last week and one of them is ringed. I have never ringed a Lesser Redpoll in the garden so this bird is a guaranteed to have been ringed elsewhere. In fact I have never had more than the occasional singleton in the garden before and then they have usually been one day wonders so having 3 visiting on a regular basis could be the start of them becoming regular winter visitors. Redpolls have become more frequent visitors to gardens across the country in recent years so getting them in my garden is somewhat overdue.
|A very poor photograph of one of the Lesser Redpolls but it is the best I have been able to get so far.|
|A soggy Blackcap photographed yesterday through a rain lashed window. I got enough photos of the ring to see the number and be sure it was the same bird.|