After Monday’s busy session at Red Lodge Plantation, today was scheduled for another Forestry Commission woodland at Webb’s Wood. I had a big team for the session: Andrew, Ellie, Steph and Lillie all came along to help. We set up 5 nets rides, all comprising 2 x 18m nets, and I tried out a new net position with a single 18m net (it didn’t work – not a single bird caught by it). The net positions are marked in red:
We opened the nets by 7:30 and closed them just after 11:00. In between we had a very satisfactory catch of 65 birds from 12 species. The breakdown was: Treecreeper 2(2); Blue Tit 8(1); Great Tit 6(1); Coal Tit (1); Marsh Tit 1; Long-tailed Tit 10(5); Wren 3(1); Robin 2; Redwing 3; Blackbird (1); Goldcrest 14(3); Chaffinch 1. Totals: 50 birds ringed from 10 species and 15 birds recaptured from 8 species.
Another session with good numbers of Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit, again outnumbering the usually most common species Blue and Great Tit. Our twentieth new Marsh Tit of the season gives us hopes of matching our previous best total of 29 in 2017. As we have not yet set up any feeding stations these catch sizes are quite surprising.
One highlight was a positively venerable Long-tailed Tit. It was ringed as a newly-fledged juvenile on the 20th July 2013, making it 6 years and 3 months since ringing, over 6.5 years old. As the expected lifespan of the species is 2 years. Juvenile mortality is 75% in the first six months, and 50% thereafter, so to reach this sort of age is worth remarking upon. It was recaptured just once before: in September 2013. You often wonder where it has been in between captures. It has 2.5 years to go to beat the longevity record for the species but it is certainly the oldest bird on my rings.
Another highlight was the catch of 4 Treecreeper: 2 new and 2 recaptured. Our team caught that many Treecreeper in a single session for the first time in Red Lodge (Forestry Commission) in September 2017 and the not again until the 10th of this month, at another Forestry Commission site: Somerford Common. To have another catch of 4 is very pleasing.