Sunday, 16 February 2014

What a difference a day makes....February 2014

Yesterday the south of England was being battered by hurricane force winds and heavy rain showers, but today was like a perfect spring day. Overnight the storm force winds had subsided, the sky had cleared and a light frost had carpeted the ground. During yesterdays poor weather the first Eurasian Siskins of the year turned up on the feeders in the garden, so in todays calm conditions I set a net in the hope of catching some. 

Pair of Siskins, the first in the garden this year

I opened the net just after dawn and before long had my first three birds, a Great Tit, a Blue Tit and a Eurasian Nuthatch. All three were retraps, the most notable being the Great Tit which was originally ringed on 25th June 2011, 2 years 236 days previously. The session was steady but mainly consisted of Blue Tits, with other occasional species namely Dunnock, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit and a new male House Sparrow. The House Sparrow had dark lores but still showed some yellow at the base of the lower mandible, suggesting that it was not in full breeding condition yet.

Male House Sparrow

In total I caught 33 birds, of seven species, 15 of which were retraps. The majority of retraps were of recently ringed birds, but three of the Blue Tits were originally ringed over three years previously, one on 5th December 2010 (3 years and 73 days previously), one on 30th October 2010 (3 years 109 days previously) and one on 10th August 2009 (4 years 190 days previously).

The spring like conditions and warmth from the sun proved popular with bumblebees, several buff-tailed’s were flying around the garden and a brimstone butterfly. The latter was sunning itself on bushes next too my ringing station, it took a while to get settled but eventually found somewhere  suitable for it to soak up the sun’s rays.

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