Monday, 11 February 2013

More Garden Redpolls

An early window of opportunity on Sunday morning in a day of otherwise unfavourable weather saw the capture of another five Lesser Redpolls in the Lound back garden. Given that the garden is only marginally large enough to accommodate a 30' mist net and that this is the first winter that Redpolls have visited then to catch five is a real treat but discovering that one was already ringed and that it wasn't mine, was particularly special as it makes this bird my first garden control. It will be interesting to find out where L526502 has come from.

Lesser Redpolls - adult male control (left), 5 male (right)

Male Lesser Redpoll

This morning (Monday), a pair of Siskins - another garden first! - were seen checking out the Nyger feeder and will hopefully be back when the wind has dropped.

On Saturday only four birds were caught but a Great Tit had an interestingly deformed bill.

Great Tit showing curiously deformed bill

Saturday Totals - 3 news, (1) retrap
Robin - 1
Blackbird - (1)
Great Tit - 1
Starling - 1

Sunday Totals - 7 new, (1) control
Dunnock - 1
Blackbird - 1
Blue Tit - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 4, (1 control)

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Well, what can I say? We arrived on time, in the dark, set our mist nets up around the only trees with berries on that we knew they'd been feeding in virtually all week and we stood and waited. Their shrill contact trills gave away their presence and in they came over the top of the nets as expected and away again. A fleeting visit by five or six Waxwings where in the week there had regularly been over fifty.

In the icy cold we waited and again they came and again pausing for the briefest of moments. Then Ron announced that he'd seen a bird hit a net but all that we could see was a feather that on closer inspection was a tiny Goldcrest peering down at us from where the Waxwings should have been by now. It was extracted and ringed, meaning that we wouldn't leave having ringed nothing this morning.

Again more trilling and they sneaked in where our nets weren't but again stopping just long enough to pluck a few berries before departing. Then one seemed to stay longer than the others and Paul crept forward with the hope of flushing it out low into the waiting nets but astonishingly the bird flew below the bottom shelf and away leaving three shivering ringers standing looking at each other with incredulous surprise.

Then was we moved forward to start taking down the shortest of the three nets Paul motioned us back and pointed to a Waxwing that had flown out of nowhere to feed in solitude. We waited until it started making it's way further down through the twigs and branches towards the low hanging fruit and then Paul inched forward for the flush and a streak of pink rocketed straight into a net and hung there, our prize waiting to be extracted. I took that honour already knowing that I would let Rob ring it, Norwich to Gorleston is a long way to travel only to leave 'empty handed' He was pleased, as were we all at seeing a piece of Russia in Norfolk. It's just a shame that there weren't more of her compatriots with her this morning. What had she done to find herself away from the flock?

Adult female Bohemian Waxwing