Saturday, 7 November 2009


This is the culprit. "All the Sparras is up the other end of the park, mate! Leave our tits alone!"

Three degrees when we arrived - (not those singing gals!) - bloody parky and fingers numb by the time we got the four nets up. First bird out was a Redwing. Then a lull until a Gt. Tit flew towards the feeders, intent on some breakfast and, in the other direction, that young hoody of a Sparrowhawk above. He was nabbed and ringed in the evening twilight nearly four weeks ago; he's obviously trying to claim this area for himself.

Overhead migration was weaker than it has been recently. A few incoming, continental Blackbirds (like the female above) and Redwings but not as many as last week. We did have a site rarity, Linnet, and a male at that, singing away as it flew south. Shortly after, a Brambling went the other way, settling in the top of the one and only Alder - until we tried to get a better view!. Both Green & Gt. Spots trogged back and forth, the former at low level (but not low enough) and the skewbald one at some height. The local Kestrel arrived, hovered, and was then seen off by 7 Sky Larks that appeared from nowhere.

Today's tally for a 6 hour stint was 16 new & 11 r/t: Sparr (1), Wren 1 (1), Dunno(1), Blabi 4, Redwi 4, Chiff 1, Lotti (1), Bluti 2 (2), Greti 3 (4), Bullf 1 (1).

In the last three and a half weeks, we have ringed 9 new Bullies, which is 50% of all the newbies this year. Of these nine, just 2 have been female. With recaptures from previous years, that's 32 different individuals in all, a decent haul at this site which is ideally suited to their continued presence for years to come.

This little fellow was singing away happily as soon as the sun rose above the trees. A few wheezy calls followed before he graced us with his presence. A big lad at 64.5mm in the wing; sorry, should have addressed him as 'Sir' since he was an adult. He looked as though he had been in the wars with his abraded tail and spent a few weeks down the boozer with the belly on him (a good fat4 for those who haven't twigged). This is the second 'northern' bird of many to come, perhaps.

We've now had 18 Redwings in the bag, a record for any one year. Usually they pass through very quickly before we've have a chance to get our act together (the weather usually stops us). The other thing which might be helping is the 'much reduced number' of Grey Squirrels that have devoured the Hawthorns berries in the past before the thrushes even arrived.

Next week - it'll be cleaning out, repairing and swapping nest boxes plus a few extras that a kind birder has donated (cost him a £ton). Thanks, pal.

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