The Firs: Wednesday, 12th January 2022

A very pleasant session at the Firs this morning. I was joined by Rosie, Miranda and, the first time for a long time, by Alice. Alice is going to be put forward for her A-permit shortly, after a year of very busy and varied ringing activities in 2021.

When I went to top up the feeders, in preparation for today’s session, I found that the Wildlife Trust’s Well-Being group were on site. They were the group that spent time with me, getting close to the birds, at my last appearance at the Firs. The way I was greeted by them was lovely. I had a chat and found out that a different group would be there today, so I let them know that we would be happy to show them more birds if they wished. They wished.

We arrived on site at 7:30 and erected 2 rides of 3 x 18m nets down the central glade and a single 12m net to form a sandwich either side of the feeding station. Birds started being caught straight away. Unlike Ravensroost on Sunday, it was never excessive. This time, as Rosie had some work to do for the Trust on the site, she was able to ring a decent number of birds, including a lovely female Bullfinch.

Our second round didn’t produce a lot of birds, but it did produce our first Jay of the year:

I wonder how long it took to style that quiff?

The catch was steady all morning. What was notable was the proportion of retrapped birds: of 41 birds caught, 29 were recaptures. The list was: Nuthatch (2); Jay 1; Blue Tit 2(11); Great Tit 1(10); Coal Tit (3); Wren 1(1); Robin 1(2); Song Thrush 1; Blackbird 1; Goldcrest 1; Bullfinch 3. Totals: 12 birds ringed from 9 species and 29 birds retrapped from 6 species, making 41 birds processed from 11 species.

Whilst the Jay was the undoubted highlight, three Bullfinches in the session was a pretty close second. Two of them were almost certainly a pair: a male and a female within a few inches of each other in the same net is a pretty decent indicator.

The Well-Being group arrived at about 11:00 and, true to form, the next round was the only empty round we had all morning. Our final round at 11:30, however, did turn up four birds: the Goldcrest, a Great Tit, a Coal Tit and a Wren. The attendees loved the birds. The Great Tit spent her entire time, whilst holding her for a few seconds so people could take photographs, was the way that she would select which finger she wanted to have a go at, rather than just attacking the nearest. However, the bird that they all agreed was their favourite was the Wren. There is just something about the way they hold themselves that appealed to everybody in the group. Anyway, I am pleased to say that the people were so happy that several of them came and helped us take down the nets, which made our life very much easier.

We were packed up and left site by 12:30.

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