Ravensroost Woods: Monday, 2nd March 2020

If anyone was under any illusions about the strength of the winds that we have been having recently, this is a picture of an oak tree situated in the hedgerow immediately adjacent to the main Ravensroost woodland:


The trunk of that tree was 1 metre diameter.

I was joined for the session by Jonny, Andrew, Tony and Steph: everybody looking for an opportunity to get out and do some ringing.  We knew it would be a session dominated by Blue Tits. At this time of year, catching at the supplementary feeding stations that I set up and stock, they will always be the numerically dominant species.  However, we did catch a decent spread of species and a good total catch of 59 birds, mainly in the 3 small nets adjacent to the feeders.

There were a number of highlights. Chief amongst them was our fourth Jay of 2020.  Last year that was the total my team caught in the whole 12 months, in 2018 it was 5!  This was a bird with personality:


The list for the day was: Great Spotted Woodpecker 1; Nuthatch (1); Jay 1; Blue Tit 17(19); Great Tit 3(6); Coal Tit 1(1); Marsh Tit (2); Long-tailed Tit 1(1); Robin 1; Blackbird 2(1); Chaffinch 1. Totals: 28 birds ringed from 9 species and 31 birds retrapped from 7 species, making 59 birds processed from 11 species.

It would have been 60 birds but a female Great Spotted Woodpecker managed to escape the net whilst I was topping up a peanut feeder.

We noticed this rather pretty fungus alongside the main track:

Sarcoscypha coccinea

It is called Sarcoscypha coccinea and is, appropriately, associated with hazel woodlands. Ravensroost Wood is a hazel coppice with oak guard trees.  Hazel is coppiced on an 8 year cycle at the southern end of the wood, and a twenty-five year cycle at the northern end of the wood.  Most of our ringing takes place in the 8 year coppice coupes.


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