Several weeks ago I was asked to carry out an assessment of a trainee from another ringing group, to confirm that they were proficient enough to be advanced to C-permit level. Our every effort subsequently has been thwarted by the weather. Most recently, we had planned to meet up yesterday but, with rain scheduled at 9:00, and arriving soon after, it was cancelled. I agreed with the rest of the team that yesterday’s scheduled session would be moved to Tuesday. As the forecast was considerably better for today, with rain scheduled to pour down overnight, but peter out during the morning, clearing by 9:00, I agreed with the trainee, Ian, that I would keep an eye on the weather and, if it stopped early enough, I would call him and we would carry out a session at Red Lodge. The Firs was the next on the schedule, but that was already scheduled for Wednesday, so Red Lodge was the logical choice.
The rain actually was stopped by 6:30, so I was on site by 7:00, with the nets open by 7:40. Birds started arriving almost immediately, and we had a steady run throughout the morning. There was a couple of early Redwing in the catch and the usual titmice and a few Goldcrest.
After 10:00 we put on a lure for Goldcrest. I always wait until 3 hours after sunrise before luring for them. They come to the lure readily, and I want them to have had plenty of opportunity to feed before we start catching them in any number. We had a good initial catch, and then a lull in their numbers, until I uttered the fateful words: “We’ll make this the last round, and close the nets and take down!”.
The last round yielded another group of Goldcrest, several Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tits and this beauty:
This is only the second Firecrest caught in the Braydon Forest. The first was in Ravensroost Woods in November 2015. As Ian hadn’t seen or handled one before, I gave him the opportunity to extract and process the bird.
All in all, it was a very satisfactory session, resulting in the following catch: Treecreeper 1(1); Blue Tit 13(6); Great Tit 5(6); Coal Tit 1; Marsh Tit (1); Long-tailed Tit 2(2); Wren 1(2); Robin 3; Redwing 2; Blackbird 2(1); Goldcrest 13(3); Firecrest 1; Chaffinch 1. Totals: 45 birds ringed from 12 species and 22 birds recaptured from 8 species, making a total of 67 birds processed from 13 species.
The result of the session is that Ian is a competent ringer and I have recommended his advancement to a C-permit.