Sunday, March 6, 2011

Looking For More

The ringing in Will’s garden has been very productive so far this year, with 140 Siskin and 85 Chaffinch ringed, not forgetting 12 Goldfinch, 8 Brambling and 4 Lesser Redpoll. With signs of everything quietening down last week we had another shot today, hoping to at least hit the 150 mark for Siskins.

It was a bit early to disturb Will’s slumber so I called at Out Rawcliffe for ten minutes or so and a quick look, where I found instead a Little Owl staring down at me. Little Owls aren’t always obliging so I stayed in the car, and not for the first time used the opening sun roof to get a picture or two. Also near the Little Owl spot were 3 Yellowhammer with one singing its dawn melody, a “little bit of bread and cheese”.

Little Owl

Little Owl

There were Siskins in the garden, maybe a dozen or so in the tops of the alders and a few on the feeders but they quickly cleared off, leaving about 60 Chaffinch, 2 Brambling, several Greenfinch, the regular Robins, Blackbirds and Greenfinch and a good number of the tit family.

The catching was slow today, in fact as slow as we have ever experienced there and we ended up with 10 new birds only, 5 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch and 2 each of Blue Tit and Great Tit.


Our one recapture today was a resident adult Dunnock, readily sexed as a male on today’s early March date by the cloaca. The male Chaffinches are now looking particularly bright, reminding me that in parts of Scotland the Chaffinch was, and may still be known as “Blue Cap”.



Other birds over and about the nearby fields: 4 Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Mistle Thrush, 25 Greylag, 2 Canada Goose.

So whilst we didn’t achieve today’s objective of more Siskin, a nil result can often tell us as much as a good result. In our case we are now pretty certain that the throughput of both Siskins and Chaffinches is coming to an end and that perhaps it is time to switch our allegiance to spring and summer ringing sites in pursuit of more birds.

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