Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hints Of Spring

While others sunned themselves in Egypt Will kept up the good work by feeding his garden finches and fitting in a few ringing sessions which yielded more than 25 Siskin and another 15 winter Blackbirds. Having post-holiday withdrawal symptoms from ringing I was keen to get out as soon as the weather allowed, and last night’s forecast appeared almost perfect for this morning with a promised easing wind and a touch of sun.

The morning was indeed fine so we set nets at 0730 and caught steadily until 1030 with 49 birds in total, 40 new and 9 recaptures. New birds, 24 Siskin, 5 Tree Sparrow, 5 Chaffinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Blackbird and 1 Brambling. Recaptures were 6 Siskin, all from recent weeks and days, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Dunnock and 1 Greenfinch.

There was just a hint of spring today whereby the 3 Lesser Redpoll were not only the first in garden for some weeks but were also brightly coloured spring males. Tree Sparrows are fairly uncommon in Will’s garden, so to catch 5 in spring is both unprecedented and unexpected. Although we caught 24 Siskin, the numbers moving through continue to build with a minimum of 70/80 individuals today, and we await details from the BTO of 2 Siskins caught in late January, X343298 and T879956.

A sure sign of early spring is when the titmice move out of Will’s garden and take up residence in nearby woods, so with very few sightings near the nets of the three main culprits, Blue, Great and Coal, we breathed a sigh of relief and concentrated on catching finches.

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll



Siskin - female

Tree Sparrow

Other birds seen this morning, Grey Wagtail, Kestrel, Nuthatch, and several Greenfinch and Chaffinch in song all around us.

It’s not a good weather synopsis for a good few days so it may be back to Egypt for blog readers in the next day or two and a bird that is a little like a Robin.


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