Red Lodge: Thursday, 6th October 2022

With Wednesday’s weather turning out to be as dire as forecast, I was relieved to find out that they had got it right two days in a row and we could get a session in this morning. It was forecast to be breezy so I decided it had to be a woodland and Red Lodge has not been visited for a considerable time. That it is within 5 minutes from my house is an added bonus:

I had Rosie joining to help set up and Miranda joining for the whole session, with a 6:30 start time. Unfortunately, waking at 5:15 did not warrant trying to get back to sleep, so I was on site for soon after 6:00. We had the nets open by 7:30. As there would only be two of us for the majority of the session, I only set 4 net rides:

The first two birds out of the net were Great Tits, which Rosie got to ring before heading to work at 8:30. The next round produced two each of Great Tit and Blue Tit and Miranda and I were beginning to wonder whether we were going to get any sort of decent size of catch and / or variety of species.

Fortunately, the next round, at 9:10 produced 13 birds from six species – but six of them were Great Tits and three were Blue Tits. However, the addition of a Blackcap, Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Robin did help raise our spirits somewhat: only to be dampened again by catches of one, two and three birds respectively in the next three rounds.

The last of those, the three bird catch, consisted exclusively of Goldcrests, having switched the lure from Marsh Tit to Goldcrest at the end of the previous round. The next round, at 10:50, produced 15 birds from five species, including another seven Goldcrests and adding two Chiffchaffs and three Long-tailed Tits.

The list for the day ended with 47 birds processed from 11 species and comprised: Blue Tit 1[5](2); Great Tit 1[11](1); Coal Tit [1]; Marsh Tit (1); Long-tailed Tit {2}(1); Wren [1]; Robin [2]; Blackbird (1); Blackcap [1]; Chiffchaff [3]; Goldcrest 2[11]. Totals: 2 full-grown birds ringed from 1 species, 4 adult birds ringed from 3 species, 35 juveniles ringed from 8 species and 6 birds retrapped from 5 species.

What started out looking as though it would be a disappointing session ended up being very satisfying. It is astonishing how quickly Goldcrest will respond to the lure: which is one reason why I don’t put it on until after 10:00 during a session: to give them plenty of time to feed up before we focus on them. At less than 6g I like to ensure they have the chance of a hearty breakfast before trying to catch them. In cold weather I don’t lure for them at all.

Miranda and I shut the nets at 11:50. As so often happens, as we shut the nets the light breeze that had been there all morning suddenly picked up into a strong wind. We were packed up and away by 12:30.

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