Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Continuing Quest for Crests

The wind over the last couple of days has been getting steadily stronger, and the blustery conditions have made it much more difficult to find sheltered sites. Yesterday, I headed back to Manor Farm Country Park to try and catch some more Firecrests there. I initially retrapped the two birds that I had ringed with Rob on 20th December, but after trying a few different sites, I caught a new female. Five new Blue Tits were the only other species ringed.

Firecrest - Manor Farm Country Park

This morning the wind was even stronger and so I headed to a couple of local sites that I had been saving for such conditions. At the first site I could hear a Goldcrest singing and quickly caught two, followed by another new Firecrest and a Robin.

Goldcrest - Funtley
Firecrest - Funtley

My final destination of the day was another very sheltered site, about a mile south of the first. This area is dominated with yew and cherry laurel, and therefore there is plenty of cover. I sat and listened for a while but did not hear a crest, undeterred I set a net and yep you've guessed it, I caught another new Firecrest and also a Goldcrest.

Firecrest - Funtley

So that is now 10 new Firecrests and 17 new Goldcrests that I have ringed at four sites since the beginning of November. All of the birds have been using areas that were dominated with evergreen shrubbery, usually holly and yew, but cherry laurel and rhododendron is also used. Such sites presumably provide the best shelter and food, and it will be interesting to see if the same birds use the same sites next winter. I have previously seen wintering Firecrests at all the sites I have visited so far, so time will tell. 

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