This was my first taster session with my potential new trainee, Lucy Mortlock. Lucy has spent the last good few months in Northern Ireland, ringing mainly waders. It has been such a civilised experience that she had forgotten all of the joys of ringing titmice! Time for a reminder.
We set just a few nets at the main crossroads in the northern woodland:
This area can be a bit variable, usually producing 30 to 40 birds but just occasionally producing close to 100. Things did not start too auspiciously. We had the nets open by 7:30 and first round delivered a Robin and a Goldcrest. The second round a new Marsh Tit and a Blue Tit. Next round another new Marsh Tit, Blue Tit and a Song Thrush. We then had the odd bird turn up: a few Goldcrests being the highlight. It really did look like it was going to be very slow session.
Steph arrived (with 18 month old Beatrice) at 9:15 after the school run, and we processed another few birds in the next few rounds. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel, at 10:45, a significant tit flock arrived, together with another bunch of Goldcrests. Lucy has certainly been well and truly initiated into the “delights” of extracting and ringing Blue Tits! Not only that but Beatrice was saying “Blue Tit” quite clearly by the time she and Steph had to leave at 11:30. Her first bird name!
The morning’s catch was: Treecreeper 1; Blue Tit 19(1); Great Tit 3(2); Coal Tit 6; Marsh Tit 2; Wren (1); Robin 1; Song Thrush 1; Blackbird (1); Goldcrest 10(1). Totals: 43 birds ringed from 8 species; 6 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 49 birds processed from 10 species.
As on Monday, lots of Nuthatch calling but not getting into the nets. Very enjoyable, and I am sure that Lucy will make a great addition to the team.