Being a teacher, this morning I made the (very) difficult decision to go on strike in protest at changes that the ConDem government have made to teachers pensions. This however, is a bird blog, so to avoid alienating my audience, this is all I will say on the matter.
So this morning I met Charlie, later joined by Moxey, for a session at Ince Blundell. I would have preferred to ring at Brook Vale this morning, the feeders are getting emptied every other day so I had hoped to get a session in and see what is using the feeders. Recent visits have also highlighted a decent number of Water Rails in the reed bed - so hopefully I will be able to get some traps out to see if we can pick any up. Back to Ince, the shelter afforded by the woodland gave us more optimism for a more productive session but for a while, it looked like the public sector workers were not the only ones on strike!
After a slow start, yielding a large percentage of retraps, we started to pick up the Goldcrests, including one that was ringed at Crosby Hall last month.
Given the time of year, I would have expected to find more thrushes in the woods, yet during the whole ringing session, I only saw one Song Thrush, two Blackbirds and heard a single Mistle Thrush. This was in addition to a lack of Chaffinches - on paper, Ince Blundell is a the ideal woodland site for Chaffinches, but of the four caught, two were retraps - both ringed by Ian in nearby Thornton. Whilst this might sound like a ringer 'complaining' about low ringing totals, it does provide interesting conversation during the ringing sessions and begs the question, 'where are the birds?'.
Once Moxey had arrived, we put up an extra 15m net and had instant success as it brought in a first-year male Blackcap, four new Goldcrest and a retrap Treecreeper - justifying the long walk down 'the bottom'.
By 1am we had wrapped the session up and after the slow start, we had caught a satisfying seventy five birds, going some way to making up for the damp squib (David Cameron please take note of the real meaning of the term - ooops, sorry!) that was last weekend.
Goldcrest - 8 (5)
Treecreeper - (1)
L.T.Tit - 1 (3)
Coal Tit - (2)
Blue Tit - 8 (15)
Great Tit - 7 (15)
Chaffinch - 2 (2)
Blackcap - 1
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 2 (2)
TOTAL: 30 (45)
The weather doesn't look great for the foreseeable and we are still without any real cold weather.