We were scheduled to be in Webb’s Wood this week. I had to push the session back to Thursday for a number of reasons. One of the team, Tony, was out walking in Webb’s on Wednesday and found that the Forestry Commission’s contractors have started their conifer removal at the eastern end of the wood. This is part of the new 10 year plan. They are working immediately adjacent to our ringing site. As nets, personnel, birds, heavy machinery and noise do not make for successful ringing sessions, I decided to move the session to Red Lodge. After a chat with Tom, the Beat Forester, we agreed that we would hold off on any sessions there until the work is completed. That is expected to be within two weeks. Also, excellent news, the entrance road to the car park is going to be resurfaced as the final part of these operations. Anyone reading this blog who knows and uses Webb’s Wood will be pleased about this: a relief to the suspension of all of the cars that are taken to site.
I was joined by Alice and Andrew for the Red Lodge session. Although it rained overnight, the sky cleared quite quickly and the temperature dropped sharply. As a result, the number of birds moving around was very much reduced compared with recent sessions. A couple of the rides warmed up as the sun came through but the sun never got high enough in the sky to get over the tree line and most of the site stayed cold all morning.
The first round produced a Redwing, a couple of Bullfinch and four Goldcrest, and that level of catch was how it went for most of the morning: a few birds at a time. It didn’t reach the numeric levels of recent catches, but it was a decent catch with a good spread of species. The list for the morning was: Nuthatch 1; Treecreeper 1(1); Blue Tit 2; Great Tit 2(1); Long-tailed Tit (3); Wren 2(2); Robin (1); Redwing 4; Song Thrush 2; Goldcrest 6(4); Chaffinch 1; Bullfinch 1. Totals: 22 birds ringed from 10 species and 12 birds retrapped from 6 species, making 34 birds processed from 12 species.
You will notice that I mentioned we caught two Bullfinch but only processed one. Unfortunately the male of the pair was suffering from the Fringilla Papilloma Virus (FPV) and could not be ringed. Its legs were already warty and damaged. It has been a while since I have seen a Bullfinch with this problem: I hope it is a long time before I see another!
Once again, Goldcrest was our main catch in the wood. We caught a few titmice but nothing that could be considered a tit flock: which explains why the numbers were somewhat down. I suspect they were frequenting the bird feeders in the adjacent gardens. As the numbers dwindled significantly after 10:30 we decided to pack up, go home and get warm, and left site by midday.