Friday, 6 February 2015

Holly Hill Country Park and the continued quest for Crests

This morning I headed out with Rob for a spot of bird ringing. We had been hoping to ring at Manor Farm to top up the Redwing totals for the year, which currently stands at one, but it was just far too windy. Instead we decided to head to Holly Hill Country Park and try for more Firecrests, as it was a woodland site and more sheltered. I had checked out this site last Sunday to see whether it had potential and whilst there I met a local birder who said that he regularly had Firecrests there, so I decided to give it a go.

The site is very public, and there were loads of dog walkers, with most dogs off the lead, but there were enough areas where I could tuck myself away. The site has a distinctly ornamental feel about it, with Rhododendron and Cherry Laurel dominating the understory, but large areas of Holly are also present. The woodland is predominantly broad-leaved with Oak, Ash, Alder and also London Plane present.

We selected a suitable location and set our nets but did not catch a single bird. The second capture site was better and we immediately caught a female Firecrest, followed by a couple of Goldcrests and then a male Firecrest. The male gave some excellent views and was regularly displaying before being caught.

Displaying Male Firecrest
Male Firecrest
Displaying male Firecrest
Male Firecrest

We ended the session having caught three new Firecrests, two females and one male, and also had a close encounter with a fourth bird; another male. We also caught four Goldcrests and a Great Tit, so a very successful morning.

Male Firecrest
Female Firecrest

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