About a week ago we were kindly sent a Redwing track from Fernando Gavilan in sunny Spain. We have nicknamed this track as the Spanish Serenade. Today was the first trial.
Well we met at the rail track normal time 5.30. Unfortunately Dawn and Simon couldn't make it this morning so I though it would be a small group of Mick, Adam, Jo and myself. Angus my lad had decided he would come along and help, however when we got to the gate, Mel was already there and and Jamie joined us a while later.
We trundled on down the track and split into 2 groups to erect the nets. Mick and Mel went one way and the rest of us the other. We alternated the Latvian Love-song and Spanish Serenade at each net ride.With the nets up we all returned to base and waited for light. After a coffee and a natter we were off on the net round. The first couple of nets had a Redwing a piece. But when we turned the corner to the line of 3x60', the nets were sagging with Redwing. Brilliant! We extracted all the birds from those nets and 4 other rides before returning to the vehicle to process the birds. On our return Mick and Mel were back and had already started processing their birds. The first bird a retrap Cetti's. Wonderful !
For the first round we had got about 45 birds of which about 25 were Redwing. The second round didn't provide as many birds but did provide Jo with a new bird. Another new Cetti's, fantastic. This is the forth new Cetti's this year and beats our old annual record of 2. This bird was a male and the earlier retrap was a female so we have our fingers crossed that they stay at Stanford and breed next season. The nets along our side of the Reservoir didn't catch another Redwing all morning so the MP3's were changed to Redpoll, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Jo had to swan off early about 10.30 using some lame excuse about going to see old girlfriends. Ha Ha Where is the commitment from trainees these days?
Well the next round provided a bird that Dawn has been hankering after for the last three years. A Sparrowhawk.
This was a young male. I put a ring on its leg with some assistance from Mel holding the talons. So Dawn to stop me dealing with all these wonderful birds you're going to have to change your job, and come ringing at Stanford.
All in all we rallied round and got a total of 37 Redwing, which is our best daily number this year. Was it down to the Spanish Serenade? Well I think its a bit early to say. We will keep trying it and will see how our annual numbers fair. Thank you Fernando. So totals for today 59 New birds, 20 retraps of which included 37 Redwing (1) 6 Blackbirds, 2 Cetti's (1), 2 Treecreepers (1) and the Sparrowhawk.