Blakehill Farm, Part One: Thursday, 26th November 2020

Having spent as many sessions as possible giving my T-permit trainees the chance to join me in these 1 + 1 times, it was good to have my longest suffering trainee, and C-permit holder, Jonny Cooper out with me this morning.

We had a two-fold target: primarily Redwing, secondarily Meadow Pipits. The former we were very successful with, the latter was a complete failure. When we arrived on the site the temperature was just below zero but as the sun broke through the mist it warmed up quite nicely.

We set up 6 x 18m nets along the perimeter track and put a lure for Redwing in place midway along. Within a few minutes we had the first few Redwing fly in. Apart from a flock of 15 at 9:00, they came in small groups throughout the morning, ending up with a good total of 37 ringed in the session.

Once the peri-track nets were set up, we then set up the Mipit triangle. Unfortunately, all it caught was a solitary Wren. About 10:30 I changed the lure to a louder version, almost immediately a flock of about 30 flew around the nets and then pushed off elsewhere.

At 10:30 we caught and extracted a decent proportion of a foraging flock of Long-tailed Tits: nine of eleven ended up in the nets. We caught a couple of Wrens and Robins and a few Great Tits. All were new birds. The list was: Great Tit 3; Long-tailed Tit 9; Wren 2; Robin 2; Redwing 37. Total: 53 birds ringed from 5 species.

With Jonny having to leave for work at midday, the birds kindly stopped moving at 11:30, giving us just enough time to take everything down before he had to leave.

Part 2 will follow tomorrow, when I will be working with my second longest suffering C-permit holder, Ellie Jones, on the other side of the Blakehill site. Again I will be targeting Redwing and Meadow Pipit so that we can compare and contrast.

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