Monday, 4 January 2010


Had to fill the Priory feeding station anyway, so stayed and put a net up. Overnight, temperatures had dropped to minus 7C. It was still minus 3C when I arrived just before 10:30. Eventually it warmed to plus 1C but had dropped to minus 1C when I packed in at 14:00. There was a lovely hoar frost today, our first since the fog (and minus 9C) on 23rd Dec. even though we, too, have suffered the low temperatures - but thankfully, without any significant snowfall.

Three hours produced 28 birds: Dunnock (6), Robin (3), Lotti (2), Blue Tit 3 (2), Gt. Tit 4 (8).
The oldest Blue was caught last January as a 5F; the oldest Great was caught in March '08 as a 6F; both Lottis (a pair) were ringed 108 days before and this was their 4th recapture since.

The Robins were all caught and ringed as 3s; two males in August '08, having been recaught here 7 times and 6 times, and the female just twice more since last September.

The Dunnocks provided the most interest. The oldest was ringed as a 3J In August '04 and has been recaught 12 times in 5 years & 150 days. A second was ringed as a 4F in April '06 and has been retrapped 6 times in 3 years 267 days. A third was ringed as a 3J in July the same year; it turned out to be a male and has been retrapped 7 more times in 3 years 170 days. The forth and fifth birds were both ringed on the same day in July '07; these are both females, one being recaught 7 times and the other just 4. The last bird was a 3M in November '08 and has been retrapped 4 more times since it was ringed just 1 year 53 days ago.

There's going to be a bumper crop of Ivy berries; they're swelling nicely, too.

The only set-back today was a young dog chasing madly through the area (it is fenced off) and running through the only net! Fortunately it didn't tear it but I spent quite a while picking it off the vegetation!

Addendum: As we are suffering a 'cold snap', the average weight for Dunnock was 23.9g (lowest 22.5g), the 2 fem Robins were 17.2g & 20.0g and the male 22.4g, the 2 fem Bluti were ~10.4g whereas the males were ~12.4g, and the 6 fem Greti averaged 18.1g with the 6 males at 19.8g. These weights (apart from 1 fem Robin) do not currently give rise to any unease. The feeders and ground are topped up every other day.

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