A fairly quick return to Red Lodge this morning. I was joined by Lucy and David for the session and Richard Williams, a local birder with whom I have interacted on Twitter, came along to see what Red Lodge is all about. It was a cold start, with the temperature just below zero, and the birds did not start moving in any number until after 9:30, by which time it had warmed up (a bit).
It was, as expected, a rather Blue Tit heavy session, both with new birds to ring and a good number of retraps. However, there was one new bird that we could not ring:
As you can see, the lower right leg and the foot have atrophied. There was no sign of disease and no sign of anything cutting off the circulation to the leg. Those of us who handled it did a precautionary sanitising of our hands once it had been released. It seemed perfectly fine in every other respect, so is obviously coping with its problem.
Apart from that, Lucy mentioned that she hadn’t yet had a chance to extract and / or ring a Goldfinch. As seems to be the way at the moment, her wish was granted pretty soon afterwards. This was actually only the second Goldfinch that we have ever caught in Red Lodge. The first was caught in April 2017, so not common for us in this wood (although, as one of the residents of the Forest Cottages adjacent to the wood said, they get plenty in their gardens eating the sunflower hearts – my seed mix cannot compete).
My birding highlight of the session was a Coal Tit, D837461, which was ringed by me as an adult on the 22nd February 2014. So, over 7 years since it was ringed but has to be at least 9 years old (because it was a full adult when ringed it could not have been fledged in 2013, so it would have had to have been fledged in 2012 at the earliest). The longevity record for a Coal Tit is 9 years 2 months and 25 days from date of ringing. That bird was a first year bird. The survival rate for adult Coal Tits is just 43% and the typical lifespan is just 2 years. This is clearly a venerable example of the species.
Our list for the day was: Nuthatch 1(1); Blue Tit 20(8); Great Tit 3(3); Coal Tit 2(1); Marsh Tit (1); Song Thrush 1; Blackbird (1); Goldcrest 2; Chaffinch 2; Goldfinch 1. Totals: 32 birds ringed from 8 species and 15 birds retrapped from 6 species, making 47 birds processed from 10 species.
We closed up the nets at midday and left site by 12:30. I am sure Richard found it interesting. He was good company, and is welcome to join us again should he wish to.