The Wildlife Trust have allowed me back into the Firs, as lockdown eases, and so I scheduled a session for this morning. An early start, with the nets just down the central glade of the site, 6 x 18m and 1 x 12m, set in 2 lines to cover the whole area. I had them open by 5:30 and started catching straight away. As is usual for this time of year, it wasn’t a huge catch but quite satisfying.
The list for the session was: Blue Tit 1(2); Marsh Tit 1(1); Wren 4; Robin 7; Song Thrush 2; Blackbird 1(1); Blackcap 7; Chiffchaff 2. Totals: 25 birds ringed from 8 species and 4 birds retrapped from 3 species, making 29 birds processed from 8 species.
Although it was a better catch of Blackcap than I have had recently, disappointingly only one of them was a juvenile bird. It begs the question of what has happened to the first brood birds. The other juveniles were one each of Blue Tit, Marsh Tit and Song Thrush, plus the two Chiffchaff, three of the Wrens and all seven of the Robins.
The highlight was our ninth Marsh Tit of the year, and the third juvenile. Given that the Braydon Forest sites have been out of commission for the last three-and-a-half months this is encouraging.
It pretty much died off after 9:00 but I kept the nets open for another hour. Unfortunately, I had the nightmare scenario of a bird flying into a net that I was taking down. It had to be a Blue Tit: it grabbed so much net, twisted it around itself and crawled through multiple pockets, because the net was slack. Still, I like a challenge, and the bird was extracted safely, although it made sure my fingers took a considerable battering from its constant pecking.