Monday, 27 December 2010

In the snow at Cardington

Though today started out with snow still on the ground, hard and icy, a thaw has at last set in. Temperatures reached 3 degrees Centrigrade by 1pm.

Small numbers of Fieldfares were around the area, a Buzzard flew over, two Marsh Tits were in the bushes. There seemed to be fewer Blue and Great Tits around, which was reflected in the ringing totals.

Between 10:30am and 1:50pm, 13 new birds and 11 retraps (shown in brackets below) were caught:

  • Blue Tit 2 (1)
  • Bullfinch 1
  • Goldfinch 4 (1)
  • Greenfinch 2
  • Long-tailed Tit 1 (4)
  • Marsh Tit 1
  • Robin 1 (1)
  • Song Thrush 1
  • Dunnock (3)
  • Great-spotted Woodpecker (1)

The female Bullfinch (see left) was only the 2nd ringed at the site this year (the first being ringed in May).

The retrap Great-spotted Woodpecker was first ringed on 30th October.

It was good to actually retrap a Goldfinch at last - this was the first bird retrapped, with a total of 27 now having been ringed so far this year.

Lastly, the Marsh Tit (see left) was the 2nd ringed at the site so far this year.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

2 new species for Sandy Smith NR

The first two birds out of the net this morning at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve were both new species to be ringed on this site. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Coal Tit.

In the end, 2 Great Spots were ringed but just the one Coal Tit.

Above: A coal tit.

Dunnock 3
Blue Tit 13 (mostly retraps)
Great Tit 3
Coal Tit 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Chaffinch 1 (2nd of this species ringed on this site)
Robin 1
Siskin 2

26 birds of 8 species.

11th December 2010

Between 8am and 12.30pm today 30 birds of 10 species were caught, ringed and released in 'the rough.' New (retrap):

Great Tit 4 (6)
Blackbird 3 (0)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (1)
Blue Tit 4 (4)
Dunnock 1 (0)
Wren 0 (1)
Marsh Tit 1 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (3)
Bullfinch 0 (1)
Robin 0 (1)

Above: This Marsh Tit V670965 (an adult) is only the third caught & ringed at this site (the second this year, the only other being in 1993). DK got some photographs for the Priory Bird Report but DB & JA missed out having already left.

The Bullfinch was first ringed as a youngster on 11th October 2008 (also recaught a few times inbetween) and a retrap Great Tit was first ringed in Box 4 in May this year.

On my last visit (27th Nov.) I retrapped a Blackbird that was first ringed in August 2005 as a youngster.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


I popped into Bromham Mill first thing this morning. The plan was to put a net up for 30mins, just to sample birds using a small feeding station I've been running there for the past few months.

First bird was a Robin. While ringing the Robin, a Marsh Tit went into the net. I extracted the Marsh Tit and suddenly a flock of Blue Tits and Great Tits appeared, 14 birds went into the net in about 2 minutes. I ringed them, noting their age and sex, measured their wings and released as quickly as possible.

There was a small party of Long-tailed Tits on site also.

The trees around the Mill were looking fantastic this morning. Covered in hoar frost, it was a real Christmas card image.

Totals ringed today were:

  • Robin 1
  • Marsh Tit 1
  • Blue Tit 8
  • Great Tit 6

Monday, 6 December 2010

Thank goodness I like retraps

A short session in Cardington on Saturday 4th December. The temperature was marginally 'warmer' - reaching approx 1 degree C. 3 new birds were ringed and 10 retraps were caught (retraps are shown in brackets):

  • Long-tailed Tit 1 (1)

  • Dunnock 1

  • Blue Tit 1 (6)

  • Great Tit (1)

  • Marsh Tit (1)

  • Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
The 2 Long-tailed Tits were part of a small party. They are fantastic birds - very sociable and it is amazing how they survive the harsh conditions of a Bedfordshire winter. Saturday's birds weighed 7.3g and 7.5g, not much more than the weight of a 10p piece (6.5g).

Friday, 3 December 2010

Nuthatch at Stagsden

I paid a short lunch-time visit to Bedfordshire Golf Club at Stagsden on Thursday 2nd December. My plan had been to go there first thing in the morning to top-up the feeders, but as it was snowing I waited until later.
There were no golfers braving the near-arctic conditions, possibly due to the course being entirely covered in snow (it was open for play - just totally white).

The staff are very keen to make the course more attractive to wildlife and, with some help from residents in Stagsden, have been putting up nestboxes. I am hoping to help them further this year - just need to find suitable construction materials.

I put a net up for a short while and ringed a Nuthatch, Robin and Great Tit.