Saturday was a perfect day for ringing: dull, overcast and virtually windless. Jonny Cooper and I had a very good catch at Webb’s Wood. This included our second earliest ever capture of a Lesser Redpoll:
The earliest was at Somerford Common on the 13th October 2015.
However, the highlight of the session was a catch of three Marsh Tits. Webb’s has always been a bit behind the other sites when it comes to these birds but three in a session is a real red letter day: it was one adult and two juvenile birds. They have been colour ringed and, hopefully, a number of other birders will see them and give us reports back on where and when.
This brings to five the number of Marsh Tits ringed in Webb’s this year, compared to one in each of the previous three years and two in 2013 when I started ringing there.
The list for the day was: Treecreeper 1; Blue Tit 8(1); Great Tit 5(2); Coal Tit 8(1); Marsh Tit 3; Long-tailed Tit 2; Wren 4; Dunnock 1; Robin 4(1); Goldcrest 16(2); Lesser Redpoll 1. Totals: 53 birds ringed from 11 species; seven birds retrapped from five species, making 60 birds processed from 11 species.
Amongst the birds retrapped was a Goldcrest, EXR483, that was ringed in July 2014. What is remarkable about this bird is that juvenile mortality, whilst currently unknown, is likely to be similar to that of other small birds (70 – 80%) and adult survival is less than 15% (Blue Tit adults, for example, have a 40 – 50% survival rate). Average lifespan is estimated at 2 years and the oldest known specimen is only 4 years 2 months and 24 days. This bird, at 3 years 2 months and 26 days since ringing, is certainly a venerable example.