After the BTO relaxed the ringing restrictions for England in an email on the 12th February, quite naturally the weather was then dreadful for about the next week, just adding to the frustrations caused by the lack of activity – and the lack of birds visiting my garden. It is as if they knew!
Perhaps more surprising: despite the restrictions and the weather, we actually carried out more sessions than we managed in 2020! The average catch wasn’t much bigger, but overall it was a happy return to activity. As the Beast from the East was in 2019, I really cannot remember why February 2020 was so bad: we weren’t in lockdown by then, it must have just been bad weather.
The results for the month were:
There were quite a few highlights: Alice caught her first Lesser Redpoll for the Hogacre Common Eco Park, Ellie got to ring her first ever Siskin. The colour saturation on a male Siskin’s wings and tail are superb:
David found, extracted and ringed his first ever Brambling. The Brambling catch was very welcome. They have never been a common bird for us: two caught in 2018 by Jonny and Andy, near Chippenham and Warminster respectively, being the first two since the group split at the end of 2012, and they had only been caught three times since then in the Braydon Forest: twice at Somerford Common and once at Ravensroost, all in 2019. Last year was a blank, so, even though it was only one, to get another at Somerford was very pleasing.
I was pretty delighted to catch my first Sparrowhawk of the year in my first outing since New Year’s Day, even if the photograph did spark a lot of other ringers on Facebook telling me we were asking to get spiked by its talons because they are so mobile (my little team has ringed 14 in 5 years, which is a good average for catching free-flying Sparrowhawks, without any undue injury from their talons, I am pleased to say). Everyone’s an expert!
As blog followers already know, March has started well – but that’s a story for next month’s round up!