Now that we are confined to ringing only in our gardens again it seems that the flocks of Goldfinch, and those of Starling, have disappeared. Today’s session was so much better than Monday’s, although 14 birds compared with 6 is not too much to shout about, it was the quality of the catch that made the difference.
I opened the nets and set up some Potter traps baited with dried mealworms and put on lures for Goldfinch and Starling. Whilst heading back indoors a Pied Wagtail flew across the drive and into next door’s garden. I muttered something rude under my breath as it narrowly missed one of my nets. I was just on my second mug of tea when the net suddenly jerked and there it was:
This is a first winter Pied Wagtail: and the first that I have caught in the garden. The yellowish tinge to the face is a clear juvenile characteristic as are the unmoulted greater coverts. Along with this, there were a couple of Goldfinch: both first winter and both females. Next into the nets was a rather good looking Starling:
I changed the lure on the apple tree to Greenfinch and half-an-hour later I took this fabulous first winter male out of the net:
I loved the attitude and thought that it reminded me of something else. A quick Google search and I found what I was looking for:
They could be twins!
The last bird I took out of the net was an adult female Goldcrest:
Soon afterwards I looked out of the kitchen window and saw the neighbour’s cat sitting under the apple tree, clearly looking for the Greenfinch singing its heart out in the branches. That decided me that it was time to do three things: chase off the cat; close the nets and pack up and recharge my solar powered cat scarers (there hasn’t been a lot of sun to keep them going.
The catch for the session was: Blue Tit 2(2); Great Tit 1; Dunnock 1(1); Pied Wagtail 1; Goldcrest 1; Starling 1; Goldfinch 3; Greenfinch 1. Totals: 11 birds ringed from 8 species and 3 birds retrapped from 2 species, making 14 birds processed from 8 species.