Webb’s Wood: Wednesday, 22nd December 2021

After the miserable failure to get to Ravensroost Wood at the weekend and Monday, naturally, Tuesday would have been fine for a session. However, knowing I was going to be at Webb’s on Wednesday with Ellie joining me, and Matt, who contacted me through the blog, coming along for his first taster session, I decided that 5 days of early starts is far too reminiscent of being back at work, so stayed in bed. I did pop over to Webb’s Wood later that morning to fill up the feeding station.

Wednesday arrived dry, cold and windless: perfect winter ringing conditions. Matt was in the car park when I arrived for 7:30 at Webb’s, and Ellie joined us soon after. We started setting the nets and had them open by 8:30. Because it was a cold start, all nets were closed once erected, until the final nets were in place, when they were all opened together, to ensure that no birds were in the nets for any length of time. As the site we ring is very compact, and all nets are in nearly full view from the ringing station, we ensured that all birds were extracted within a couple of minutes of being caught in the nets.

I put on lures for Redwing and Lesser Redpoll. The former was a complete failure last time in Webb’s but, pleased to say that, this time the Latvian love song (as it is known) worked its magic and we had a small catch of Redwing in the first round. Thereafter they just flew over and ignored it but we got some.

The birds didn’t really start moving until 9:00. Our first bird, at 8:50, was a solitary Blue Tit. The second round, at 9:25, was the busiest, with 17 birds, including our four Redwing and six Lesser Redpoll. Thereafter they came in threes and fours until we closed the nets at 11:30.

The list for the day was: Blue Tit 6(7); Great Tit 3(4); Robin 2(2); Redwing 4; Goldcrest (1); Lesser Redpoll 6. Totals: 21 birds ringed from 5 species and 14 birds recaptured from 5 species, making 35 birds processed from 6 species.

Not a huge catch but it is noticeable that we are catching far more Lesser Redpoll in the wood than we ever have before. Prior to this year, from when I started working in Webb’s Wood in 2013, we had caught a total of 18 of them. So far, in just two sessions in December, we have caught 26 of them (after last time’s stupendous catch of 20 of them). I wonder if that has anything to do with the thinning of the wood over the last winter?

It was a nice, easy session. Matt enjoyed the experience and will be joining me again over the holiday period. We were packed up and leaving site by 12:30 – cold but happy.

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