I had planned to go Barn Owl box checking today but, having pulled a muscle in my hip, I felt I needed to rest it for a few days, so rescheduled with Jonny Cooper for the end of the week. However, I didn’t want to do nothing, so I thought I would open the nets and have a nice quiet garden session.
I opened the nets at 10:00, no need to rush. At 10:15 I caught my first bird: a Woodpigeon. By the time I had it bagged up prior to processing, three Starlings and a Greenfinch landed in the nets and by the time I had processed them two Blue Tits had been caught. One was a juvenile and the other was a retrap. When I checked the ring, I didn’t recognise it, it wasn’t one of mine or anyone else in out team, so I shall look forward to finding out where it was ringed. That was a good start to the morning.
To be honest, that was it for the next three hours, except at 12:30 a couple of Blue Tits were processed. Come 13:30 I had another two Blue Tits in the nets but I could hear Long-tailed Tits calling. Then they started hitting the feeders. By the time I had extracted the two Blue Tits, the Lotti’s had started to hit the nets. As fast as I was extracting them, others were flying in, with a few additional Blue Tits for good measure. At 13:30 I extracted 21 Long-tailed Tits, 7 Blue Tits and a solitary Robin. I shut the nets as I cleared them, to ensure that I could find time for some lunch!
I opened the nets again for a couple of hours later in the afternoon and caught a few more birds, including very young second brood Blackbird and Goldfinch. The list for the day was: Woodpigeon 1; Blue Tit 10(1); Long-tailed Tit 21; Robin 3; Blackbird 1; Starling 5; Greenfinch 4; Goldfinch 1. Totals: 46 birds ringed from 8 species and 1 retrap. It is easier to say which birds were adults, instead of juveniles: the Woodpigeon, 2 each of Blue Tit and Greenfinch and 4 of the Long-tailed Tits.
I shut the nets again early evening, the last bird to be processed being a juvenile male Greenfinch. As for resting the hip: epic fail, still hurts like heck. Interestingly, this is the largest catch I have had, either solo or with my team, since the middle of February. Also, although not my largest ever catch of Long-tailed Tits (that was 40 birds at Somerford Common on the 5th June 2015) it was the single largest group to be extracted of any one species at one time in a ringing session – and it was in my garden! (the Somerford birds were in groups of 10, 10, 14 and 6 at decent intervals, although that was also a solo session).