Blakehill Farm West: Saturday, 28th January 2023

With it being forecast to be flat calm, I had hoped to be able to run a session at Brown’s Farm. Unfortunately, it is the last weekend of the pheasant shooting season, so the weekend is taken up with that. Instead we headed to Blakehill Farm. Doubly unfortunately, it proved to be a very small catch. Nice quality, shame about the quantity. I was joined for the morning by David and Anna. We set nets in the fields either side of the Whitworth Building:

These nets regularly catch good numbers of birds, particularly the 9m net set in the gateway from the farm buildings into the field, which is T-boned with the 18m and 12m nets set. It did catch a couple of birds, whilst the other two nets caught not a single bird. However, it is the one net, of all of my sites, that I can usually rely on to produce House Sparrows: not today!

The first round produced a Song Thrush, our first of the year, and two Great Tit. One was a retrap and the second was a new bird but it was deformed: the tarsus and the foot were missing. This was on the left leg, but the right leg was completely normal. It is a male that fledged last year: possibly a casualty of unsuitable nesting material?

I will stress that this could not be a ringing injury: we ring on the right leg. There is no sign of it being a recent injury, it is perfectly healed. I decided to ring the bird so that, hopefully, we will be able to recapture it in the future and see how it is faring.

Whilst the catch was very small, it wasn’t without interest. The third round produced just two birds, from the long net line, two male Bullfinch:

The last round produced a female Bullfinch and a female Greenfinch:

This was the first Greenfinch that Anna has ever ringed, and she paid the entry fee:

They really do have a strong beak!

The list for the day was: Blue Tit 5; Great Tit 1(1); Song Thrush 1; Bullfinch 3; Greenfinch 1. Totals: 11 birds ringed from 5 species and 1 retrap, making 12 birds processed from 5 species.

We did a last round at 11:00, which yielded precisely nothing, so we shut the nets as we went, took down and were off site just after midday.

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