On Wednesday of last week, I decided that it was time I ran my first full session since my spinal operation. Not wanting to overdo it, I decided to set just 4 x 18m nets in Ravensroost Woods along the main track north of the public bridleway. Rosie, as ever, came along to help me set up, and stayed until she had to go off to work at 8:00. We met at 6:00 and had the nets open at 6:30. We caught three birds in between opening the nets and Rosie leaving for work : a Treecreeper, a Robin and a Blue Tit. Unfortunately, those were the only birds, caught until I got fed up and packed away at 10:00.
So to today. Nobody was available to help me over the weekend, but Ellie said that, as she was working from home on Monday, she could come and help me set up and do some ringing until just before 9:00 and, even better, come back at 12:30 to help me pack away at the end of the session, whilst having her various meetings in between. We met at 6:00 and had the nets open by 7:30. There was a bit of a wait before things started to move, and we didn’t catch our first birds until just before 8:00. It was never the busiest session: four or five birds per round but it was enjoyable, although the last hour, when packing away, was too hot. Next time I will start an hour earlier and finish an hour earlier.
Just before Ellie had to leave, she came back with a pair of juvenile Bullfinch from what is designated ride 2. The very next round, from the same ride and the same net, I extracted another couple of them. I am pretty sure that they were all four from the same brood.
It was a varied catch but, like my other sites this year, no sign of Whitethroat or Lesser Whitethroat. It is a little concerning. The top bird of the morning was a very fresh, young, Reed Bunting. It was the first of that age that we have caught at the site for over three years.
The list for the day was: Treecreeper ; Blue Tit ; Great Tit ; Long-tailed Tit 1; Wren (1); Dunnock (2); Robin (2); Blackbird (2); Blackcap (1); Garden Warbler ; Chiffchaff ; Willow Warbler ; Bullfinch ; Reed Bunting . Totals: 27 juveniles ringed from 11 species; 1 bird ringed of indeterminate age (the Long-tailed Tit was too far gone through its moult to tell adult or juvenile apart) and 8 birds recaptured from 5 species. Of the recaptured birds the Dunnocks, Robin and Wren were also juveniles.
A couple of photos to finish. The first is a juvenile Blackcap in the last throes of its post-fledging moult: the head is showing black feathers coming through the juvenile brown on the head, identifying it as a male:
The second is a bird I find particularly difficult to photograph: a Treecreeper. I have settled on a wing shot to show up the key diagnostic feature for distinguishing juveniles from adults once they have completed the post-fledging moult:
The reason I find them so difficult to photograph is that, with their down-curved bill and habitually humped shoulders, they always look so miserable and I have had quite enough of others making negative comments about photos of birds in the hand (usually other ringers, they aren’t all as relaxed and easy going as me).
We got cleared away and left site by 13:15: in time for Ellie to get back to her first meeting of the afternoon and me to get home and realise I have a way to go yet before I am fully fit again.