Blakehill Farm West: Tuesday, 29th September 2020

After the excellent sessions we have had on the eastern side of Blakehill Farm, particularly with the Meadow Pipit catch last time out, I decided to have a go on the farm side of the site today. It is never going to deliver the volume of birds that we get on the plateau, being more traditional farm pasture, but we usually guarantee a House Sparrow or two. I also wanted to see whether the Meadow Pipits were as abundant over this side as they are on the plateau. I was working solo, so kept to the one field and a manageable number of nets.

The catch started really well: with 10 birds in the T-junction ride in the second round, and then it died a death. With the exception of one additional Chiffchaff, they didn’t catch another bird. Most unusual. The following rounds produced just one or two birds each time.

However, the Mipit triangle started catching, two at a time. Funnily enough, the first four out of the net came from the outside, birds caught as they were flying in. Usually the birds fly in to the lure and are caught when you run at the nets and the birds panic and fly into the net when trying to escape. Otherwise, because they fly slowly and have good eyesight, they will fly up and over your nets. As I am now slow and cumbersome, with a dodgy ankle to boot, I watched several Meadow Pipits do exactly that!

As a bit of a different “treat”, five of the first ten birds were Blue Tits! That is my biggest catch of them since the 7th September.

The list for the session was: Blue Tit 4(1); Wren 1; Dunnock 2; Meadow Pipit 6; Robin 2(2); Blackbird 1; Great Tit (1); Blackcap 2; Chiffchaff 2; House Sparrow 1. Totals: 21 birds ringed from 9 species and 4 birds retrapped from 3 species, making 25 birds processed from 10 species.

I packed up at midday. As I was leaving site I was treated to sightings of a couple of Stonechat in the peri track hedgerows and a solitary Wheatear that displayed nicely in front of the car. One day I will catch one at Blakehill Farm!

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