Redwing Return: Somerford Common, Thursday, 10th October 2019

With the weather being dreadful yesterday and looking bad for the weekend, I took the opportunity of a break in the weather today to get in a visit to Somerford Common.  After our juvenile Marsh Tit captures in Webb’s Wood, and then three in Red Lodge, I was hoping we might have a clean sweep of them in the Forestry Commission properties. As they have made the Marsh Tit their priority bird species in their new 10 year plan for the Braydon Forest I am hoping to show that their efforts are being rewarded.

I was initially going to be joined for the session by Tony Marsh.  Tony, along with Robin Griffiths, is a regular supplier of sightings of my colour-ringed Marsh Tits. He came along for a taster session, to see whether he would like to become involved in the ringing programme.  As I was preparing to leave for site I got a text from Jonny Cooper.  He had planned to ring at one of his farmland sites, only arriving there he found the place flooded and the wind was too strong for the open area, so he diverted to come and help out with me.  It was just as well: the catch was every bit as large as the one at Red Lodge last Saturday.  We got another pair of helping hands at 9:00 when Steph arrived, with 7 month-old Beatrice, and helped with the extracting and processing (Steph that is, not Beatrice (yet)).

I put on a lure for Redwing, in hope rather than expectation.  They have been coming in along the east coast and making their way inland but I tried at Red Lodge on Saturday without success so wasn’t hopeful.  I left Jonny and Tony putting up nets along the top line to check on the first net set and get my warning signs for the net rides. That first net had 20 birds in it already: including this beauty:


Our first Redwing of the year! Delighted.

The morning just improved from there and we ended up with an excellent catch of 76 birds.  The highlights, apart from the Redwing, were: a Blackcap, from its weight and amount of fat, a migrant bird on the way south; three new Treecreepers and a recapture but, best of all, four new juvenile Marsh Tits.

The list for the day was: Nuthatch {1}; Treecreeper [3](1); Blue Tit 2[18](3); Great Tit [12](1); Coal Tit [2]; Marsh Tit [4]; Long-tailed Tit {2}(2); Wren 1[4](1); Robin 2[3]; Redwing 1; Blackbird 1; Blackcap [1]; Goldcrest [9](1); Bullfinch 1. Totals: 3 ringed unaged from 2 species; 8 adults ringed from 6 species; 56 juveniles ringed from 9 species and 9 birds recaptured from 6 species, making 76 birds processed from 14 species.

Catching at this level in the woods at this time of year is unusual for my sites: it makes me wonder just how large our catches are going to be when I set up the feeding stations at the end of this month!

We packed away at noon, just as the wind finally got up and the first spots of rain arrived. We managed to get everything packed away and leave site without getting wet. Result!

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