Thursday, 21 January 2016

First Bird Ringing Of 2016

With a couple of days midweek forecasted to have little/no wind, I wanted to get out with my mist nets on at least one of them, so yesterday headed out to the superb Lower Bruckland Ponds...



Because it was so cold I only put two nets up, and didn't open them until the sun had come up. It's only right to be extra cautious when ringing in cold conditions like this.  The two nets in two and a half hours gave me just nine birds, but it was quality not quantity. 

Over the past few weeks I've been chatting to other patch birders about how scarce Green Woodpeckers have become, I hear them only very occasionally now and I've not seen one on patch for over a year. But as I was putting up my nets I heard one call in the distance, so once the nets were up I gave Bun a call to let him know there is still at least one left here!  While we were nattering it flew down from the slopes above and began feeding around the base of some of the small trees at the Ponds.  Occasionally it flew up to a large oak, which is when I was able to get this snap...



From this oak it kept returning to the same small trees to feed in, but after taking this photo it flew straight for the clump of trees which had one of my mist nets in.  I looked around the corner and was shocked to see it IN my mist net!!!  I ran...


This, not surprisingly, is the first Green Woodpecker I've ever ringed.  And it's a bird I thought I would never ring around here, what an absolute privilege.  Lower Bruckland Ponds is a big site, and two mist nets covers such a tiny proportion of it - I was so so lucky!

The other eight birds caught included a couple more notable highlights. Two of the four Goldcrests I caught already had rings on, one was a bird I ringed here on 1st Nov 2015. Really interesting to see it is over wintering at the ponds, and it was half a gram heavier so it must be doing ok. The other ringed Goldcrest wasn't one of mine, anyone reading this recognise ring number CPX749

Two male Siskins were great to ring, the flock has been here since October but they are very hard to catch as they usually stay up at the tops of the trees...



And the last highlight, in fact the last of the nine birds I caught, was this fantastic male Stonechat - he's been overwintering at the Ponds and I see him most times I visit...



What a fantastic morning, lovely weather too. Sadly though it looks like we've slipped back to wet and windy conditions again...

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