For months I've been wondering which culprit has been stealing my seed from Sandy Smith Nature Reserve. I haven't been catching enough birds at each visit for them to be chomping through all the seed.
From the stripping of the bark on the tree, I thought it was probably a squirrel but I've never seen a squirrel near the feeders. More recently, the plot thickened and the seed was being knocked onto the floor and eaten from there.
In a ringing session today I met the juvenile delinquent responsible going by the first name of Jack, last name Daw! It received a standard ankle tag (ring) before it left. A first for me and the first ringed at SSNR. I think I can live with the extra expense for the seed now :o)
I did take a photo or two with my phone camera but in trying to work out how to get them off the phone, I've managed to lose them. They would have been grainy anyway!
Of note, I caught my first Willow Warbler of the year. A juvenile that has probably come from elsewhere and is on the move. 2 juvenile Coal Tits were a bonus. However, as a site known for its Whitethroats, today's catch did not include a single one. The adults I have caught in the last couple of weeks were moulting and I suspect they're going or have already departed on their journeys. The juveniles are few and far between too.
I compared 2011 and 2012 total catches of juveniles at both SSNR and Priory Country Park up to 22nd July. If you want to see the results visit the Ivel Ringing Group blog here.