A First for Lower Moor Farm: Monday, 21st October 2019

On the 26th October 2017 I was lucky enough to catch and ring a Yellow-browed Warbler: only the second ever in Wiltshire.  As the weather forecast for this morning was for it to be clear, dry and with a low northerly wind, I thought I would put in an extra session, to see if lighting might strike twice in the same place. Unfortunately it didn’t, but it did turn out well.

Not only that, the weather forecast was hopeless. Andrew Bray and I met up at the site at 7:00, and spent 30 minutes sat in my car drinking tea and coffee and bemoaning the reliability of weather forecasts.  We managed to get the nets up by 8:00; just 4 rides, comprising 165 metres of net, in the wildlife refuge area of the reserve.  The weather was still miserable, but damp not raining.  I set a few lures up, including the Yellow-browed Warbler and Redwing.  The Redwing lure worked its usual magic and we quickly caught 9, plus a couple of Goldcrests, a Great Tit, Robin and a Dunnock. When we got back to the ringing station it began to rain again: very light but annoying. We moved into the nearby hide to process the birds.  By the time we had finished the rain had stopped again and we did another round.  We were then joined by Steph (and Beatrice) and had a small catch of birds – we also had a rain shower, so we shut the nets to save any birds getting soaked.

The rain eventually stopped at about 10:00 and the sun came out and everything dried up quite quickly. We continued to carry out rounds and extract birds.  I put on a couple of other lures: a bit pot luck as I couldn’t remember what I had loaded on the SD cards (I really must label these things).   We caught a few more Redwing, Steph got to extract her first Great Spotted Woodpecker and then to ring her first ever Kingfisher.  This is definitely our best year for this species, with 10 ringed so far (4 at Lower Moor Farm, 6 at Meadow Farm).  Steph had to leave after that, but I suspect she found the visit worthwhile!

The title of this post is because of this species:


One of the “pot luck” lures I put on was for Siskin.  We do catch them regularly in the late winter, at the woodland sites, but we have never caught them here in the 6 years we have been ringing at Lower Moor Farm.  It was a complete surprise as we have never caught them this early in the autumn in the north of the county. In fact, all of our Siskin in the Braydon Forest have been caught in either February or March, so this is a first on two levels.

The list for the day was: Kingfisher 1; Great Spotted Woodpecker 1; Treecreeper 2; Blue Tit 1(1); Great Tit 5(3); Long-tailed Tit (1); Wren 1(2); Dunnock 2; Redwing 12; Song Thrush 1; Blackcap 1; Goldcrest 4; Siskin 2; Reed Bunting 1.  Totals: 34 birds ringed from 13 species and 8 birds recaptured from 4 species, making 42 birds processed from 14 species.

We packed up at 12:30, having weathered another brief shower, having had a thoroughly gratifying session, despite the weather.

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