Having scheduled CES 6 for Sunday, so that Annie and Steph could make it, I decided that I would open a couple of nets and Potter traps in the garden on Saturday morning. I set them up Friday night, so I didn’t have to get up too early. The nets were furled, the Potter traps were locked open, so the birds could get used to them. I also had my moth trap out overnight as well. When, due to old man’s syndrome, I woke at 5:15, I went and closed up the moth trap. At that time the bait in the Potter traps was still intact. By the time I set them to catch 4 hours later, they were empty: so I was a little disappointed to only catch a single Starling in them over the course of the morning.
Knowing that Sunday morning would be a 3:30 start, I didn’t bother to set an alarm. Not being willing to stay up from 5:15, I went back to bed for a few more hours sleep. Consequently I didn’t open the nets until 9:30. Despite that I still caught more birds from more species in three-and-a-half hours than I did in six at Red Lodge on Wednesday!
My target for the morning were the juvenile Goldfinches hitting the sunflower hearts at my feeding station and the juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker that has been regularly present on the peanut feeder for the last two weeks.
The first bird out of the nets was a female Greenfinch with a nicely ripe brood patch. Possibly first brood but, equally possible, given that I have seen juvenile Greenfinches in the garden, a second brood. This is where bad weather in May at the start of the breeding season, whilst usually disastrous for Blue and Great Tits, who rarely try for a second brood, is less of an issue for many other species.
The highlights of the morning were: my first juvenile Goldfinch of the year:
This was followed soon after by one of the rarer birds of this breeding season:
Only my third juvenile Blue Tit of the year! I also caught a juvenile Dunnock and three juvenile Starlings. There was only one disappointment really: the juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker did get caught in the net but escaped before I could get to it. As usual, I did manage to catch a Woodpigeon in my nets. It is a mark of the strength of the Merlin nets I use in the garden that they can take the weight and strength of these birds without becoming damaged, as my other, more expensive nets, would.
The list for the session was: Woodpigeon 1; Blue Tit (1); Dunnock ; Goldfinch 2(1); Greenfinch 1; Starling 1; House Sparrow 1. Totals: 6 adults ringed from 5 species; 6 juveniles ringed from 4 species and 2 birds retrapped from 2 species. As much as I enjoy my birds, mothing has tremendous variety and will be my failsafe / fall back when I can no longer go ringing. Some classy moths made an appearance overnight:
With my neighbours on one side having some sort of garden party from noon and the neighbour on the other side having his usual Saturday afternoon play with his chainsaw, angle grinder or whatever other noisy equipment he can find to ruin the peace and tranquility of living in the countryside, I shut the nets just after 13:00 and retreated behind the peace and quiet of ultra-thick cottage walls and damned fine double-glazing.