This morning we had our first ringing session at our new site at the National Trust property at Formby. Neil volunteers at the Nat. Trust once a week and three weeks ago, myself and Tineke joined Neil for a site visit to check out possible places to put a feeding station and also find some scrub sites for spring/autumn warbler ringing.
We didn't strain ourselves to get to the site at the crack of dawn, but arriving on site just after 8am, we set three nets around the feeding station and one near the old wardens house in the poplar understory. As we arrived, we disturbed Brambling and Chaffinch from the feeding station, so we were pretty hopeful of a decent catch of finches.
Despite the early sightings of Brambling, that continued to call until mid-morning, a few Goldfinch fly-by's and half a dozen Chaffinches or so, the finches all seemed to disappear. This suggests that the optimum catch times will be dawn and according to the wardens, probably mid to late afternoon - but that was what this session was for - getting to know the site. By midday, the birds had dried up and we turned our attention to preparing further net rides for future visits, relocating feeders and checking out the dragonfly pond.
Great Tit - 9
Blue Tit - 9
Coal Tit - 5
L.T.Tit - 2
Chaffinch - 3
Robin - 6
Goldfinch - 1
Jay - 1
March is a typically poor ringing month and it usually provides the opportunity to prepare ringing sites for the new growth come the spring. There is still a lot of work to do at Brook Vale, but work is progressing steadily. I am looking forward to what the spring/summer holds, now with three reed bed sites and their associated scrub (last year we only operated one) we hope to make good catches of Acrocephalus and Phylloscopus warblers and who knows, maybe another Cetti's?
We will be ringing at The Woodhams tomorrow with Daniel O'Donnell and Natasha the Ninja.