Due to restrictions imposed by the Wildlife Trust on my ringing activities at this site, as a result of both Covid and the unpleasant incident in Ravensroost Wood in July 2020, my work within Ravensroost Wood has been severely limited so far this year. When I finally got back into the Wood, on the 8th July, it was not an auspicious start: just two birds, a Blackbird and a Song Thrush, in three hours before I gave up and went home. The next attempt was a month ago, on the 15th September. That was slightly better with eleven birds ringed and three retrapped from a total of eight species. The only real highlight of that session was a new Marsh Tit. So it was with some trepidation that I approached today’s session. To be completely honest, I had hoped to go to Brown’s Farm this morning but, unfortunately, due to them hosting their first pheasant shoot of the year today (they used to run them on a Friday) I was asked to put it off until next Saturday. With all of my other sites either already visited recently or too exposed for today’s breeze, that left Ravensroost Wood.
Part of my trepidation was because I was being joined by Rosie and Anna for the session. Rosie has been a star: selflessly turning up to help me set up, and then having to leave to go to work before being able to process many birds. Anna has turned up regularly but it seems every session she was available for had a small catch. One other pressure: after my last Lower Moor Farm ringing demonstration I was contacted by one of the Mum’s (Claire) whose young son (Samuel) is very keen to become involved in bird ringing and asked if they could come to another session and we arranged for the session this weekend.
I set just 6 x 18m nets in the top rides either side of the main path:
I started with a lure for Redwing on the left-hand double and Siskin and Marsh Tit on the right-hand quadruple. After two hours with no sign of any Redwing I changed that lure to Lesser Redpoll. Then, an hour later after no sign of any Lesser Redpoll, I changed it to Goldcrest: that was a good move.
The session started quietly with three birds in the first round: Blackbird, Bullfinch and retrapped Marsh Tit. Between 9:00 and 10:00 we processed just ten birds, including one Goldcrest – and then, as previously mentioned, I changed that lure to Goldcrest. It made all the difference. In the next couple of rounds we took out 12 Goldcrests.
It is not to say that the morning had not been satisfying up to that point: any session with two new Marsh Tits and two new Nuthatch is a good morning in my book.
I made the mistake of saying to everyone at 11:45 that we would shut the nets as we emptied the nets on the next round: cue our biggest round of the day, another 14 birds! We shut the nets as we emptied them.
The final catch was: Nuthatch 2; Blue Tit 9; Great Tit 3(2); Marsh Tit 2(1); Long-tailed Tit 3(1); Wren 1; Robin 1(1); Song Thrush 1; Blackbird 2; Goldcrest 16; Bullfinch 1. Totals: 41 birds ringed from 11 species and 5 birds retrapped from 4 species, making 46 birds processed from 11 species.
It was a lovely relaxed session and gave Samuel a lot of opportunity to find out a lot more about bird ringing. He was given a lot of opportunity to handle the birds, and to get used to being pecked by both Blue and Great Tits which, if he wants to become a ringer, is essential. I am sure he will be back as I have promised that he can start ringing birds next time! It also gave Rosie a chance to start her extracting career with me, which both she and Anna did extremely competently.
After we finished processing our last round of birds, we took down, and left site by 13:00.