Sunday, 13 February 2011

January ringing highlights

The weather has been variable recently, to say the least. December was freezing and with all the snow, this stopped ringing activities. By the new year the snow had gone and a session Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) on 8th Jan produced just 3 birds; a Coal Tit, Blue Tit and this:

Above: A Kingfisher that had survived the December freeze!

Severe wind (no, not anything to do with my digestive tract) has been the main problem in January. MT and I made an attempt for Waxwing (2 attempts) and Tree Sparrows (1 attempt) but with waxwings being difficult to catch and the wind, we drew a blank. Birds 3, Ringers 0. Being positive, we did see a lot of waxwings and got to know Shefford a bit better!

I also went looking for a Bittern at Priory Country Park (it's been seen there regularly since just before Christmas) but I drew a blank.

Instead of chasing Bedfordshire rarities, I wanted to chase Siskins at SSNR.

SSNR on 22nd Jan: 4 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits and 1 Coal Tit. No Siskins (200 + still around).

SSNR on 30th Jan: 4 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Coal Tit and 2 new species ringed for the site, 2 Goldfinch and 1 Blackbird. No Siskins (still around though between 100-150).

Above: The first Goldfinch ringed at SSNR.

Above: The first Blackbird ringed at SSNR.

Above: A female Chaffinch.

A combination of the time of year, weather (wind, rain, warmth), increased natural food sources and unknown factors, means reduced catches but with a Kingfisher and 2 new species for SSNR, I feel the effort was worth it. There's still time for Siskins in the next month or two... I hope!

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