Despite a bitterly cold north-easterly a brief attempt yielded a new Chaffinch plus three retrap Robins and two retrap Starlings.
An early frost cleared quickly but the wind moving to north remained cool. The feeders continue to be popular but catches remain small. The new bird today was a female Mallard caught in the heligoland. The other birds were retraps of Wren, Chiffchaff and Blue Tit.
Mild and sunny with a bit of a breeze. Although the feeders are being emptied it is probably mostly by Jackdaws who know to arrive after we leave. Today, the new bird was another Redwing but the most significant bird was a retrap Woodpigeon. It had been ringed on 26th March 2005. It was a full adult then and so is at least 19 years old, indeed it could be older than the person who processed it! The oldest Woodpigeon on the whole BTO database as of 2022 was 17 years 8 months and 19 days. It is even more impressive when one thinks of the amount of shooting which goes on around here. This is not the first time it has been retrapped it was also caught in 2006, 2008 and 2015.
A brief attempt was made but the wind quickly put an end to proceedings with just one new and two retrap Chaffinches.
Cold and frosty with fog to start with. We are on the edge of the Saharan dust and so the sunrise was briefly notable.
It was an interesting mornings ringing for the last BTO Winter Ringing Project visit. There were eight new and eleven retraps. The second round proved interesting with four new birds - two Starlings (the first of the year), a Jackdaw (also the first for the year) and a Blackcap (the second this year). This was trumped by the last round where the new bird was a Tree Sparrow. This would not have raised an eyebrow 15 years ago but it was the first to be ringed by us in eleven years. A further indication of their scarcity these days was that it was a new species in the hand for a recently qualified senior ringer.
No ringing today but there have been a couple of our rings reported elsewhere. The best was a Black-headed Gull which had been ringed as an adult near Herne Bay on January 30th 2012. Its number was read from a photograph taken on January 21st 2023 at Herne Bay. So it is at least 13 years old.
A Blue Tit ringed here on October 3rd 2019 was retrapped nearby at Stonelees on January 22nd 2023.
Milder today with complete cloud cover. There were three new and eight retrap birds. The new ones were single Redwing, Blackbird and Chaffinch.
Calm and frosty again but the surface thawed quickly. There was a bit more activity today with 12 new and 12 retrap birds. A new Chiffchaff was of interest as there were also two seen just 500 metres down the road. Two new Song Thrushes reflected the increase of these in nearby hedges. The other new birds were a Dunnock (the first of the year), a Blackbird, a Great Tit, four Chaffinches and two Goldfinches.
Calm and clear conditions overnight led to an almost snow like covering of frost. The sun soon put paid to that. Although plenty of birds have been using the feeders (they were empty again), they were not showing this morning. Four birds were caught - a new Blackbird and Chaffinch and a retrap Blue Tit and Great Tit.
A Water Rail was caught in the Heligoland, the first ringed for two years. Interestingly it was an adult. Usually when they grace us with their presence they are wandering immatures.
Colder again, but sunny today. The 'only' new bird of the day was a Moorhen. Amongst the 11 retraps was a Starling. Gone are the times when they were a winter staple along with the now even scarcer Greenfinch.
A bit more breezy than hoped for but still a good session. Twenty-nine birds were caught of which 13 were new. It was an interesting variety with two of the crows which have been regularly using the Heligoland finally being caught. A new Blackcap and two new Goldcrests were also unexpected. The other new birds were two Robins, a Blue Tit, two Great Tits and three Goldfinches all of which suggest birds are still moving around the area. There have been more Long-tailed Tits moving around the hedges recently but all five today were retraps.