Friday, 12 October 2012

A Busy Week At Stanford

Masai Mick sums up one week's ringing at Stanford:

High winds and rain during the first few days of October put paid to any mid-week ringing so that the first session of the month at Stanford was on Saturday 6th,  We arrived at 0600hrs to erect the nets and start the sound systems going before dawn.  The resulting catch for the morning was a creditable 58 new birds and 12 retraps.  The most interesting bird was an adult Grasshopper Warbler in moult which none of us had seen before - it had moulted its head, back and rump together with a pair of tail feathers.  On its wings it had moulted the scapulars and tertials together with the greater and lesser coverts.  Other birds of note were 16 Chiffchaff and 5 Lesser Redpoll (adding to the two ringed last month which were the first of the autumn).

Sunday 7th:
Suspecting that the autumn's Redpoll movement might now have begun, Adam, Jacana and I decided to return for another session on Sunday.  It is extremely unusual for us to ring on a Sunday but we were not disappointed with a catch of 40 new birds (plus 14 retraps) which included 6 new Goldcrest. A further 19 new Lesser Redpoll and a Belgian control Lesser Redpoll made the effort all worthwhile.

Tuesday 9th:
Jacana and I ventured out and had a great morning with 80 new birds and 12 retraps.  The first Coal Tit of the year, 5 new Goldcrest and 34 new Lesser Redpoll being the highlights of the session.

Wednesday 10th:
With the good weather continuing, Webmaster Mike and I were back at Stanford - 60 new birds ringed included 6 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest and a further 26 Lesser Redpoll.  A Kestrel caught at the edge of a 30 foot net on the Railtrack was a new species for Mike.

Thursday 11th:
The weather conditions changed as I tried a solo effort for the last session of the week - overcast and windy meant that there were very few birds moving and only 20 new birds were added to the week's total - another Coal Tit and three Lesser Redpoll were the birds of note.

In summary the week's effort was well rewarded with the Belgian Lesser Redpoll control and totals of 259 new birds ringed and 63 retraps processed.  New birds included 5 Blackcap, 3 Reed Warbler, 27 Goldcrest, 28 Chiffchaff, 29 Tree Sparrow, 14 Greenfinch, 87 Lesser Redpoll and 11 Reed Bunting.
The current number of 89 Lesser Redpoll ringed is encouraging as it is already our second best annual total for this species and that last year we had only managed 6 at this time although we did go on to a record breaking 144 for the site.