Thursday, 7 December 2017

Brackenhurst visits

26 November

A frosty start at Brackenhurst greeted Jim, Tom, Issy and me. Setting the nets in Orwin's in the dark was a challenge, but rewarded by a fleeting glimpse of a Woodcock in the ride. Unfortunately it, like most of the Fieldfares and Redwings around, evaded the nets.

Catching was steady enough to keep us busy at the copse feeder site throughout the morning, with quite a lot of new Chaffinches, despite letting a few go due to leg disease. We found time to cut out a new ride in Orwin's later on as the wind got up and things slowed down. Hopefully this will be useful in the future.

We finished on a total of 29 birds, including 15 retraps. The catch was made up of (new/retrap): Redwing 1/0, Robin 2/4, Goldcrest 1/1, Blue Tit 1/7, Great Tit 1/3, Chaffinch 7/0, Yellowhammer 1/0. All of the retraps were first ringed at Brackenhurst, with the oldest retrap a Blue Tit after nearly 4 years, ringed as a juvenile in December 2013 and previously retrapped twice in 2014 at the same site.

3 December

A still and overcast morning made Jim, Duncan, Issy and me hopeful of a good catch. Meanwhile, the sheep greeted us, hopeful of some breakfast. We were both eventually rewarded for our optimism. We got the nets up in Orwin's early and there were plenty of thrushes around. They were definitely interested in the tape, but they remained high up in the branches. We also noted a female Sparrowhawk patrolling the area, keeping things moving.

We finished on a total of 44 birds, including 20 retraps. The catch was made up of (new/ retrap): Dunnock 0/3, Robin 1/2, Blackbird 1/0, Fieldfare 1/0, Redwing 2/0, Long-tailed tit 1/2, Blue Tit 4/7, Great Tit 5/4, Tree Sparrow 1/0, Chaffinch 4/2, Yellowhammer 4/0.

All of the retraps have been caught at Brackenhurst before, mainly as young birds. The oldest retrap was a Long-tailed Tit, first ringed at Brackenhurst in November 2014 and retrapped 5 times in between at either Orwin's or the copse.

Sue Lakeman

 Blackbird, Yellowhammer, Blue Tit and hungry sheep (I. Connell)

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