Brown’s Farm: Wednesday, 23rd October 2019

We have been trying to get out to our site at Brown’s Farm since our last visit in early July.  It is a very exposed site and the weather has just been too wet, and when not too wet, too windy, until today.  This morning was predicted to be flat calm – and it was.  Not just that, but the morning started very foggy, gradually thinning to mist, which only started to lift at just after 9:00.  This gave us plenty of time to get the nets up and open before the birds started to move around.  I restricted the number of nets to just 10: 9 x 18m and 1 x 9m set in 4 rides along the hedgerows.  My help for the morning was Tony Marsh. As this was only his second session with me, I would be the only person extracting and was wary about the potential for there being a large catch.  In the event it was a decent catch and very manageable, even the last round.  I really must learn not to say out loud “As it is quiet now, we’ll make this the last round” because it is always a prelude to the largest catch of the morning.  Later in the morning we were joined by Glenda Smith and her grandson Brendan Hicks. Brendan lives in north Kent and is a keen 15 year-old.  They have been out with us once before. This time Brendan ringed his first birds and Glenda overcame her trepidation and learned how to safely hold and release a bird.  Brendan is now going to try to find a ringing trainer in his local area.  Another one hooked!

Once the mist lifted there was a lot of movement around: it would have been nice to have had a bigger team and more nets out, as there were flocks of Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Goldfinch very much in evidence.  However, we were very happy with what we caught.  The star bird of the morning for me was only the second Pied Wagtail that I have caught since I started managing my own rings.  I had ringed 28 Pied and 13 White Wagtails as a trainee but it is always nice to have them on your own ring sets. Tony was very happy to get an opportunity to ring such an uncommon catch for our team:


As well as this species he was able to add Chaffinch, Linnet, Yellowhammer and Meadow Pipit to his list. Obviously when you first start out every species is potentially your first.  He also did his fair share of the grunt work: Blue and Great Tits.

The list for the day was: Blue Tit 10; Great Tit 3; Dunnock 2(1); Pied Wagtail 1; Meadow Pipit 3; Robin 4; Chaffinch 5; Linnet 4; Yellowhammer 12.  Totals: 44 birds ringed from 9 species and 1 bird recaptured.

The highlights are pretty obvious: the Pied Wagtail.  However, any session where Yellowhammer outnumbers Blue Tit is a good session.  This is only the second time that I have caught Meadow Pipit at the farm and catching 5 Chaffinch, all of which had clean legs, which meant we could ring them, is a bonus.  Linnets are a regular catch there but they are always a nice catch.

With our largest catch coming in our 11:45 round, we didn’t get packed away until 13:15 and off site by 13:30.



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