Red Lodge: Friday, 3rd February 2023

Well, I finally found out where all the finches have gone: meeting local man John and his dog, Denver, walking in the woods this morning, he asked how the catch was going. I mentioned the dearth of finches, to which he replied that he had a flock of 40 Chaffinch and 30+ Goldfinch visiting his feeders, a mere 300m away from where our nets are set!

I was joined for the morning by Rosie, before she had to go off to work, and Miranda for the whole session. We set just the usual four nets by the feeders, and the dog leg further up the path. The dog leg was a complete failure today: despite a very noisy flock of titmice flying around the area, a couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and calling regularly, and a Song Thrush singing his heart out immediately adjacent to the nets. The feeding station more than made up for that.

As expected the catch was titmouse heavy, primarily Blue Tits. What was unexpected was that so few of them were retrapped birds. There seems to be a never ending supply of new Blue Tits at the moment. The list for the day was: Nuthatch 3; Blue Tit 29(2); Great Tit 12(2); Coal Tit 1(2); Marsh Tit (2); Robin (2); Chaffinch 1. Totals: 46 birds ringed from 5 species and 10 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 56 birds processed from 7 species. So John hadn’t hogged all of the finches!

Any session that produces three Nuthatch can’t be all bad! The year seems to have started pretty well for them so far: with seven ringed and two retrapped.

We did have one Great Tit with a somewhat unusual crown colouration:

Not great photos, but it was a pepper and salt crown. I have seen it in Coal Tits but this is a first for me in Great Tit.

One of the nice things about setting so few nets is that it takes very little time to take down and put away. We finished the last round just after 11:00, processed the birds, and were packed up and off site by midday.

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