The Firs: Saturday, 19th March 2022

With the wind changing to an easterly and forecast to be quite strong, I changed venue from Blakehill Farm (one day!) to the Firs, because of its north-south ride axis, and the woodland to offer protection from the breeze. I was originally expecting to have quite a big team out, so packed plenty of kit in the car, only to have all bar Rosie drop out for one reason or another. Rosie joined me to help set up before heading off to work at 8:30. It was quite cold initially, but pretty quickly the sky cleared and the sun came out and began the warming process.

The feeding station hadn’t been topped up for a while, so I wasn’t expecting a huge catch. We did fill it, but it was a bit of a token gesture. I will be removing it next week, until next winter. We put on lures for Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin: hedging our bets on which migrants might be around.

The first round produced three unringed second year Wrens. It never got busy but there were usually two or three birds per round. We had listened to several Chiffchaff singing away around the wood and the second round served up our first of the morning. Next round we caught LXL932, ringed in the Firs as an adult in April 2021. The following round we caught, in the same net, LXL931. We often catch sequential numbers of resident birds, but catching sequential numbers for a summer visitor is really encouraging.

Whilst extracting the birds for this round we were distracted by what was clearly the distress call of a Corvid. The next thing, a huge influx of Jackdaws were heading towards the source of the call. We didn’t have time to go and investigate what was going on but the distress call went on for several minutes and was quite disturbing.

There was a lot of birdsong all around the woodland, and we were also treated to a drumming display from two Great Spotted and one Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. The Firs is the one place that I regularly see and hear Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, but I have not yet found evidence of breeding, unlike in Ravensroost Wood where I have found both nest holes and seen newly fledged young in the past.

The list for the day was Blue Tit 2(3); Great Tit (3); Coal Tit 1; Wren 3(1); Chiffchaff 1(2); Goldcrest 2(1). Totals: 9 birds ringed from 5 species and 10 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 19 birds processed from 6 species.

Early signs of Spring: there were several Brimstone butterflies flying around the central glade.

The wind really started to pick up at just after 10:30, the net pockets were blowing out and the possibility of catching anything else was remote, so I decided to shut the nets and take down. I left site at just after 11:30.

%d bloggers like this: