A Different Somerford Common: Sunday, 20th December 2020

The last few sessions have been at my usual woodland sites, with feeding stations in place. This has meant that they have been based very heavily on large catches of Blue and Great Tits.

As it was forecast to be a bit windy this morning I knew I would be woodland based. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to another big catch of Blue and Great Tits: you can have too much of a good thing. So I took the decision to head for the north western area of Somerford Common. This part of the site is on the edge of the large commercial conifer plantation. Being an ad hoc visit, there are no feeders set up.

The underfoot conditions were appropriate for a re-enactment of the third battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele, so I was a little apprehensive about being too busy, as I was working solo. Because of that, I set up just 2 rides: 2x 18m and 3x 18m, and put on lures for Redwing (L1, L2 and L3). Just like at Red Lodge on Thursday, we didn’t catch a single one.

In fact, it was a really slow start: I didn’t catch any birds between 7:30 and 9:00, and was thinking that I should have stayed in bed. Instead I changed the lures: L1 to Coal Tit and the others to Lesser Redpoll. I didn’t catch any Lesser Redpoll but the Coal Tits did respond.

At 10:15 I changed L1 and L3 to Goldcrest, and they started to arrive in reasonable numbers. In the end it was a decent catch of Blue Tit 2; Coal Tit 13; Wren 3; Robin 1; Blackbird 1; Goldcrest 11. Total: 31 birds ringed / processed from 6 species.

So not the biggest or most varied of catches, but a good relaxed session and an excellent opportunity to practice ageing Coal Tits (it’s all in the greater coverts!).

I packed up at 11:30 and was off site by 12:15. I have a feeling that this will be my last session before Christmas.

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