Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Plans Of Mice And Men

This morning’s 0630 start for Will and I was similar to Saturday whereby from the off another cold easterly breeze looked likely to frustrate our hopes and schemes, despite the preparation of setting nets in the most sheltered westerly parts of the plantation.

We took another bash at catching finches and early season migrants but as we suspected the grey, overcast sky didn’t produce much in the way of new birds and a very slow session saw us catch 9 only, the saving grace being that all were target species: 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 2 Chiffchaff, both of the latter birds males as might be expected on this still fairly early arrival date.


The Niger feeders put up here just a couple of weeks ago have now been responsible for a catch so far of 37 Goldfinch and 16 Lesser Redpoll, so that little strategy did the trick so far.

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll


Visible migration of passerines was almost non-existent this morning, with counts of approximately 30 Meadow Pipits, 1 Siskin and 2 Lesser Redpoll, a few of which may have been birds we caught.

“Other” birds consisted of 150+ Curlew on nearby fields, several probably local Linnets, 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers drumming and 1 Fieldfare overhead.

At 10am we packed up the ringing gear and there followed the usual tortuous, bouncy drive off the rough farm track of the moss, avoiding the tractor made holes in the peaty soil. Fortunately the leisurely journey gave both time and opportunity to watch the 11+ Buzzards spiralling over nearby woods into the warming air: also 2 pairs of Grey Partridge, and several pairs of displaying Lapwings in residence, and yet again 2 pairs of Little Owl. Hopefully we’ll soon get to ring some little Little Owls and pint-sized peewits.

Grey Partridge


More dry days look possible for Monday and Tuesday before rain arrives later in the week. Let’s hope our next visit coincides with a change in wind direction to warm southerly winds carrying migrant birds from Africa, and then we’ll see what happens.

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