Tedworth House: Tuesday, 15th October 2019

The weather at the moment is making ringing very difficult.  We could not get a suitable day for last month’s session and this month’s session, scheduled for Wednesday, had to be brought forward by a day to ensure it could go ahead.  I find that I am often having to make decisions on the fly about if, where and when we can fit in a session.  I was joined by Andrew Bray for the day. The omens did not look good: each of us, coming from north and south respectively to converge on the House, drove through rain on our journeys. Then we had to sit and drink tea and coffee for half-an-hour until the unforecast rain stopped.  We set the nets at 7:30 and, although the weather was never any better than miserable, it didn’t rain again and we had a reasonable catch of birds.

The catch was: Jay 1; Blue Tit [2](1); Great Tit [3]; Coal Tit [1](1); Wren [3]; Dunnock 1[3](1); Robin [2](1); Blackcap [1]; Chaffinch 2[1].  Totals: 4 adults ringed from 3 species; 16 juveniles ringed from 8 species and 4 birds recaptured from 4 species, making 24 birds processed from 9 species.

Not the biggest catch but nice to be able to ring all of the Chaffinches we caught, with no sign of any Fringilla papillomavirus.  Also, the juvenile Blackcap we caught weighed just 16g.  If this bird was on outward migration it is far too light, so we rather thought that this might be an inward migration from central Europe, to overwinter in the UK.  This is a known phenomenon with Blackcaps, where their migratory habits have changed in the last 50 years to establish a winter population in the UK.

The Jay provided me with some amusement, at Andrew’s expense.  He was diligently clearing the netting from the birds feet. As soon as he had cleared one foot and went to the next, it grabbed hold of the net again with the cleared foot.  I wandered over and just picked the bird out of the net in the ringer’s grip and it just let go of the net and came away.

We had the opportunity to show the birds to a number of the site’s beneficiaries, who were pleased to see their first Dunnock, Blackcap and Chaffinch close up. It was also nice to have some interested and interesting questions on the birds.  How the Dunnock got its name was of particular interest to some of the people there.

We closed the nets at 11:30 and headed home.

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