Monday, 25 February 2019

Crawford: 24/02/2019

Fog delayed the start of the session and strong sunshine brought it to a close but in the two and a half hours the tall hedgerow provided shade for the 18m net a decent total of 41 new birds and 5 retraps were caught. The catch was dominated by Goldfinches but a few more Tree Sparrows appear to have found the seed and 9 were caught along with a couple of House Sparrows. There was no sign of farmland species like Yellowhammer but they may still be finding enough food in the surrounding fields. It appears to be a similar story with Corn Bunting with birds thinly scattered across the adjacent farmland and some appearing to be back on territory.

Tree Sparrows have increased in this area in recent years but their distribution is patchy and they are still absent from some of their former haunts.

House Sparrows don't seem to be doing very well anywhere and while the steep decline in their numbers may have levelled off to some extent there doesn't seem to be any indication their numbers are likely to recover anytime soon. 
The current spell of unseasonably warm weather is clearly having an effect with a Linnet back on territory and singing at the ringing site; Chaffinch, Goldcrest and Song Thrush were also in full song. Spring was in the air for Dunnocks too with a lot of singing, wing flicking and chasing going on while a pair of Long-tailed Tits was prospecting for a nest site in the brambles. A reminder that we are still in winter came in the form of a male Chaffinch and a male Blackbird that were caught and found to have long wing lengths. Both of these birds were likely to be winter visitors from the continent with the colour of the underparts of the Chaffinch also pointing to a continental origin.

Ringing totals for 24/02/2019 were: Blue Tit 6 (4); Great Tit 2 (1); Blackbird 2; House Sparrow 2; Tree Sparrow 9; Dunnock 1; Chaffinch 2; Goldfinch 17.

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