Ravensroost Woods: Friday, 27th October 2017

Steph, Lillie and I were joined by Andrew Bray for a session at Ravensroost Woods this morning.  With no feeding station in place, and only three rides set up (2 x 54m, 1 x 72m), I wasn’t looking for a large catch.  In the event, we did better than expected.

Initially I put on lures for Redwing, Lesser Redpoll and Marsh Tit and, at 10:30, Goldcrest.  The Redwing and Lesser Redpoll, to see if they have arrived for the winter (Redwing yes, Lesser Redpoll no).  I don’t lure for Goldcrest first thing in the morning and not at all when the weather turns cold.  They weigh only 5 to 6g and I am always mindful of the bird’s well-being and need to feed.  As they can turn up to a lure in very large numbers, I will only do it on a warm day.  One other interesting point about Goldcrests: very often their wing length in millimetres is the same as 10 times their weight in grams. We caught seven today, three of those conformed to this little peculiarity: 50mm wing x 5.0g weight; 52 x 5.2 and 54 x 5.4.

We caught our first Blackcap of the winter:


The list for the day was: Treecreeper (1); Blue Tit 9(1); Great Tit 3(3); Coal Tit 4(1); Marsh Tit (1); Long-tailed Tit 12(2); Wren 2; Dunnock (1); Robin 1(1); Redwing 3; Blackbird 2; Blackcap 1; Goldcrest 6(1); Chaffinch 1; Bullfinch 2.  Totals: 46 birds ringed from 12 species, 12 birds retrapped from nine species, making 58 birds processed from 15 species.

Once we had packed up and were leaving site, I found that another “responsible” dog owner has, most likely, been responsible for stealing my notices asking them to keep their dogs on a short lead.  What do these people not understand about Ravensroost Woods?  It is a nature reserve not a park, there are no public footpaths but permissive paths, which the landowner, the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, requires that people using them should keep dogs on a short lead.  Their self-righteous, misplaced, anger has turned them into common thieves.

Simon Tucker

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