Jonny, Annie and I went to Ravensroost Woods this morning for a session. First thing we found was that someone has stolen one of my peanut feeders. What sort of person steals a cheap peanut feeder from a nature reserve? With the squirrels doing their best to destroy the seed feeders and thieves stealing other feeders, keeping the feeding station going is a bit like hard work at times. It is there to help with the birds’ survival over the winter. February and March is the empty time of the year when birds are at their most vulnerable. I feed weekly between November and the end of March in a number of Braydon Forest sites. Yes, it makes the ringing easier, but that is secondary.
We set the nets along the ride with the remaining feeders and, as an afterthought, we set another couple of nets along the edge of the main path, opposite a newly coppiced coupe. We have frequently seen birds flying across the path but have never got around to putting up any nets along there. Jonny suggested we put on a lure for Brambling just in case. I have been birding there since 1998, ringing there since 2009, and I have never seen or heard Brambling there but, if you don’t try!
Anyway, I extracted and ringed only my second ever Brambling: two in the same week. We have only caught 8 Siskin in Ravensroost since 2009 and none since March 2014 – so the 2 females caught were a surprise and very welcome.
It just goes to show, some days can start out bad but end up being pretty good. In all we caught 95 birds in just 7 nets: Nuthatch (2); Blue Tit 29(13); Great Tit 15(12); Coal Tit (5); Marsh Tit (1); Long-tailed Tit (1); Robin 1(1); Chaffinch 9(1); Brambling 1; Lesser Redpoll 2; Siskin 2. Totals: 59 birds ringed from 6 species; 36 birds recaptured from 8 species, making 95 birds processed from 12 species.