This time of year is pretty quiet in the woodlands. I have removed the winter feeding stations and the winter visitors have left, so no Lesser Redpoll or Siskin groups. Our resident tit flocks have split up, pairing up for breeding, as have our other residents. Summer visitors are arriving: mainly males setting up territories, and proclaiming their ownership at ever opportunity.
What is good about this time of year is that the pressure is off. As mentioned in my last post, as a trainer you have more time to introduce your trainees to the delights of sexing sexually monomorphic species: Dunnocks, Wrens, Robins etc. It also enables them to become comfortable with the differing stages of brood patches. In today’s catch we had females that were just starting to develop the brood patch, others with a fully cleared brood patch and a female Blackcap and Robin, both of which were definitely ready for brooding eggs.
I was joined for the morning by Miranda and Rosie, Rosie leaving for work just before 9:00, and the Steph arrived to spend a couple of hours with us as well, before leaving to pick up Bea.
As implied, it wasn’t our biggest catch but the boundaries have definitely changed: Blue Tit (1); Wren (1); Robin 2; Blackbird (2); Blackcap 4; Chiffchaff 7(1); Goldcrest 1(1). Totals: 14 birds ringed from 4 species and 6 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 20 birds processed from 7 species.
What was really rather odd about the session was that we had Willow Warblers singing all over the area, but did not catch a single one.
The weather itself was not great: no rain, no wind, but at one point the temperature suddenly dipped and it became very cold, so we packed up and tried to leave: only to find our exit blocked by a rather large lorry picking up the last of the timber stacks, that were supposed to have been removed by the end of March. It was a minor hold up.