Red Lodge: Sunday, 19th February 2023

Back to Red Lodge today. Yesterday’s high winds made any thought of ringing impossible, so the contrast with today’s weather was very welcome. I was joined for the session by Anna and Ellie and then, a little later on, by Laura with Daniel and Adam and then, a little later still, by Esmae, a young girl who lives in one the old Forestry Commission worker’s cottages (when they provided that sort of thing for their staff). Adam and Daniel got to ring a few more birds each this morning, and Esmae got to ring her first two (a Robin and a Great Tit.

After the failure of the nets away from the feeding station in the last two visits, I decided to try a different position for the extra nets:

They were about as successful as the ones they replaced: producing a Blackbird and a Wren.

The session was as expected: lots of Blue and Great Tits with a smattering of other species. It was pleasing to catch another Lesser Redpoll, but still no sign of any Siskin. Having seen a huge flock of Redwing when out filling the feeders on Friday, I was hoping there might have been a few around today. Unfortunately, they weren’t.

The list for the session was: Nuthatch (1); Blue Tit 21(11); Great Tit 13(4); Coal Tit (1); Marsh Tit 1; Wren 1; Robin 1(1); Blackbird 1; Lesser Redpoll 1. Totals: 39 birds ringed from 7 species and 18 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 57 birds processed from 9 species.

Another new Marsh Tit colour ringed this year brings it to three, which is a good start, especially as I cannot currently access two of the more productive woods for this species.

We were reasonably busy throughout the whole session, but with enough time to help the children further develop their skills. As usual, when I suggested that we would pack up at 11:30, we had eight birds in each of our last two rounds. We did finally do our last round and closed the nets at midday. With everybody pitching in to help take down and clear away, it took just 25 minutes to get everything packed up, and we were away from site in plenty of time for lunch.

I have to have another whinge about the amount of dog poo at this site. It is almost as if, after Forestry England put up the “No Fouling” signs, dog walkers are deliberately leaving piles of the stuff wherever they can. By my estimation there was approximately one pile of poo in every 1m square. It was impossible not to tread in it without focusing 100% on avoiding it. That is disgraceful. We had three children with us today, and they should not have to be spending their time watching where they are putting their feet because some people are too ignorant and too lazy to clean up after their pets.

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