Friday, 8 February 2013


Ever since the recent snow and ice, we have been getting an ever increasing flock of bramblings feeding in the garden. With all the borders and shrubs that have now grown up, getting an accurate count has been a nightmare. The only way to count them properly is when they flush up into the trees. Numbers have grown from half a dozen over the Christmas period to an amazing 42 earlier this week!! Other scarce finches have been putting in an appearance with peak counts of 11 siskin, 10 lesser redpoll and 3 bullfinches all in the last 6 weeks.

With what was probably going to be the last chance while they are still about, I managed to get my nets open this morning in the hope of catching a few. It didn’t look good to start with but the flock soon arrived. They obviously knew the nets were open but after a while I started catching. The first two females were caught along with a lovely adult male siskin. By the end of the morning I had caught 29 new and 4 re-traps including a very impressive 14 bramblings. It was interesting that 14 of the birds were females and only two birds were adults (male and female) with all the rest being 1st winters.

While out in the shed ringing, I noticed a strange but familiar sound overhead, I looked out to see a mute swan (it was the sound of the beating wings) flying over. Patch mega and species 57. Species 58 and my 2nd two-pointer soon followed as a red kite flew west over the garden.

A short walk around part of the patch (sleet set in) this afternoon produced a nice flock of thrushes in the horse paddocks inc 135 fleidfare, 2 redwing and a mistle thrush but most other things were keeping their heads down….

Patch yearlist now stands at 58 species, 60 points.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Gallinule delight

The weekend started well with a cracking ringing session on Saturday morning. With the threat of wintery weather we decided to only open a few nets. This proved to be a wise move as although we got no dodgy weather, we did get loads of birds. We were only expecting a few birds but, probably as a result of not being out for a few weeks, there were tons about. In 3 hours we managed to process 91 birds including 31 new. Highlights came in the form of a female brambling, 1st winter redwing, several goldfinch and a load of tits!!

Back in the garden there were still loads of bramblings, 2 lesser redpoll and 3 siskin on the feeders so the plan was to get up early and see what I could catch. Sadly the weather took centre stage and it was again too windy to bother opening any nets.

Out onto the patch then in search of shelter instead but sadly the lack of leaves means that there isn’t really any shelter yet and the small birds were obvious by their absence. Since the snow and the rain the marshy area has been getting wetter and I have been checking it regularly in the hope of flushing a snipe. I was walking along the road next to the marsh when I heard a familiar call….moorhen! Patch tick and to be honest, not something I was expecting but I will take whatever is on offer this early in the year. The rest of the walk was uneventful with the highlight being a flock of 115 fieldfare on the common. Patch yearlist now stands at a respectable 56 species

Hopefully the weather will be calmer by the weekend and I get the chance to catch some bramblings before they move off, fingers crossed….