Not “Men Who Stare At”, but “Women Who Walk With” Goats: Lower Moor Farm, Friday, 10th January 2020

This is not something that you see every day; in fact, this is something I have never seen before and didn’t expect to.  At about 10:00 this morning, just after we had finished processing some birds, we were more than a little surprised to find three goats come wandering into the ringing station area. They were followed by two adults and two girls.  Apart from a joking “Oi! Put them goats on a lead!”, we had a chat about what they were doing. During the winter, when the goats cannot be put out to pasture, the staff and some of the children from the Care Farm take the goats for a walk around the nature reserve, to ensure that they get some exercise and to help keep their feet in good order.   They were quite stubborn in the face of good grazing, but seemed far more willing to respond to commands than the average dog we find off the lead at Lower Moor.

So to the ringing session.  I was joined by Alice and Tony for the morning.  We set up our nets in the Wildlife Refuge.  The layout was the two CES net rides in that area, plus two extra net sets placed along the hedge lining the stream and along the edge of Mallard Lake.  The extra nets were not very productive: but 3 Goldcrests in the stream edge net was a bonus.

The first bird I extracted was my first Kingfisher of the year, whilst Alice was busy extracting half-a-dozen Long-tailed Tits from the entrance nets.  Apart from that the catch was pretty well standard fare: Blue and Great Tits, but at 10:30 Alice was delighted to extract, and then ring,  her first Siskin. This is only our third caught and ringed at Lower Moor Farm: following the two caught back in October of last year.


The list for the day was: Kingfisher 1; Treecreeper (1); Blue Tit 6(4); Great 2(3); Coal Tit 1; Long-tailed Tit 1(6); Wren (1); Blackbird 1; Goldcrest 2(1); Siskin 1.  Totals: 15 ringed from 8 species, 16 birds retrapped from 6 species, making 31 birds processed from 10 species.

As this was Alice’s first visit to Lower Moor Farm, she stayed behind after we had cleared away, to have a look around the site, and was rewarded with a sighting of an Otter swimming across the lake.

On Saturday we spent a few hours in Webb’s Wood, after the forestry clearing operations.  Just like at Red Lodge a few years ago, the immediate impact after the operations seems to be that the birds have become somewhat dispersed.  Also, we had no feeding station set up, because of the lack of access, and the catch was correspondingly small: Treecreeper (1); Blue Tit 5; Great Tit 2(4); Marsh Tit 1; Long-tailed Tit (1); Blackbird 1; Goldcrest 2(5). Totals: 11 birds ringed from 5 species and 11 species retrapped from 4 species, making 22 birds processed from 7 species.



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