Tuesday 30 October 2018

Noughts and crosses...

Despite being a relatively common species in the UK, we rarely get to catch Common Crossbills. We have a couple of sites where we try most years to trap them, but given that their number fluctuate greatly and that we have to rely on a number of other factors to be able to catch them: no wind, not too much surface water, their drinking ponds to have water in them and most importantly the birds have to be present.
Today was one of those days where everything fell together. As we were setting up the first net, I could hear Crossbills nearby. As we arrived at the second net site I could see some already coming down to drink (I was actually a bit annoyed that we hadn't set that net up first). Unfortunately they flew away as we started to set up the net. I was hopeful that they would return. To my amazement, just after we finished setting up the second net we walked past the first net (just 5 minutes after setting it up) only to find 9 birds in there already - all of them were Crossbills!! I was hoping we might catch one - as I always am when we come here, but to catch 9 was just incredible.
To show just how good this catch was, we have been coming to this site several times a year for the past 8 or 9 years, and in that time have only ever trapped 19 Crossbills in total (4 in 2010 and 15 in 2011)! Hopefully it won't be another 7 years until we catch some again. It definitely makes up for all those occasions when we didn't catch any.

Other birds trapped during the 1 hour that we were there were: 5 Siskin, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Coal Tit and 1 Dunnock.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Hello, EZ39944, how was you journey?

My first woodcock of winter 2018/19, a re-trap of a juv I ringed on exactly the same spot on Jan 18th 2018. It was even more special as it was on home ground 10 minutes walk from my back door.