Sunday, 25 October 2009

Feed the Birds

Oct 25th. We of the north journeyed to keep company with they of the south at Stockgrove Country Park. The weather brightened up after a showery start - and the people ventured out. The local RSPB, ourselves, the BTO rep and the Greensand Trust guys all joined together to encourage the visitors to think more about our birdlife. 'Twas a fairly busy day with a steady stream of grown-ups and children, many with their dogs, to our table "down in the woods".

We played our part well with over 50 birds to show the public. With three ringers, three nets and three helpers we managed to put on quite a display with lots of good humour. Lots of kids really enjoying the experience of see common birds close up. Plenty of laughter when the tits retaliated by pecking the ringers! These must be the most photographed birds of the weekend - apart from a Brown Shrike and that Eastern thingy.

The area we utilise is very boggy as there are loads of seepages along the valley just before the stream enters the bigger of two lakes. The trees here are also 60-80 feet high so we rely on birds coming to drink or to bait. Fortunately there are one or two small willows which we can align the nets against. Today it was mainly tits, a few different finches and a lone thrush. A Green Woodie graced us with its presence - but before the third net went up, admittedly.

Checklist = 48 (4) 7 spp. : Blackbird 1, Coal Tit 2, Blue Tit 21 (2), Gt. Tit 18 (2), Chaffinch, Siskin 4, Lesser Redpoll 1.

The Marsh Tits and Nuthatches stayed on the other side (away from the nets), lured by little heaps of seed placed on the fench posts at the junction of the paths. This practice has been going on for as long as I can remember and the birds are habituated to it. Even the Mallard and Moorhen enjoy the spoils. Apparently the Mandarin venture out only under cover of darkness. Our problem is that the other side of the fence is SSSI and we have to get specific permesso from the N.E. Peterboro' office to ring in there.

We shall probably ring here again in another three weeks, and so on throughout the winter.

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