Saturday, November 21, 2009

A tail of two Marsh Tits

This morning, the circumstances were finally right to get some more ringing done in the garden.

Conditions were not ideal - it's a bit windy today - but the weather has conspired against, well, everybody lately, and we seized the chance (tomorrow's supposed to be even worse).

Each time, we seem to have one species which outnumbers all others. It was Greenfinches last time (51 Greenfinches, 8 other birds), Blue Tits in February and January. And so it was again today: we caught 29 new Blue Tits and three 'retraps' that we'd ringed before!

Now, my fingers hurt from a thousand tiny perforations inflicted by the 'cute' little fellows. Most people think "Awww! A Blue Tit! How lovely!" It's just not true...

Next up were Great Tits, with 15 new birds, two retraps and one which seems to be a control. That's a bird ringed by somebody else, somewhere else. It's not likely to have come very far, but it'll be interesting to get the details in the near future.

It was also good to catch two Marsh Tits. I'd seen one unringed bird in the garden, furiously cacheing sunflower seeds; we caught one unringed bird and retrapped one of the three we caught back in January. Photos below.

Almost forgot to mention that the first Marsh Tit (and about four Blue Tits) was caught while we were still putting our net up - we were holding the other end of it!

Interesting that we did not catch any finches, though as I look out of the window now, there are a few Chaffinches and Greenfinches around.

So, the totals were:
  • Blue Tit, 29 new, 3 retraps
  • Great Tit, 15 new, 2 retraps, 1 control
  • Coal Tit, 5
  • Blackbird, 2
  • Marsh Tit, 1 new, 1 retrap
  • Wren, 1
  • Dunnock, 1
which makes 61 birds, our second highest total ever.

A total of 327 birds have been ringed here in seven sessions since November 2007.
    Marsh Tit
    Scruffy tail of juvenile Marsh Tit (hatched this year)

    Marsh Tit
    Neater, broader tail of adult Marsh Tit

    photos taken with Canon EOS 30D