With the temporary improvement of the weather this week-end, many of the county ringers endeavoured to try and catch and ring some of the migrant birds before they move off and some of the residents before they start breeding. The difficult weather conditions for much of this year has frequently compromised ringing operations so some effort was required to catch the last of the winter finches and other wanderers. Pitsford Res was the venue for yesterday with ringing at the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station and in the Walgrave Bay. Tree Sparrows, Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings made up much of the catch at the main feed station, with common tits and other woodland birds being processed in the Walgrave Bay.
This morning and we changed venue to Kelmarsh Hall which continues to attract small numbers of transient finches and woodland birds. Six Siskins and three Lesser Redpolls were caught and released, but the three or so Bramblings remained out of reach in the tall trees (more intent on singing their wheezy songs than feeding)! A Woodcock narrowly missed the nets. A short ringing session in our small garden at Hanging Houghton this afternoon was sufficient to catch, amongst others, four Reed Buntings and two Lesser Redpolls.
This morning there were still two female Bramblings at Harrington Airfield, but despite a shift in the wind direction, no obvious arrival of traditional summer migrants was evident. There should be reasonable numbers of Chiffchaffs by now, but they remain very few and far between.
A quick spin around the woodlands on the Kelmarsh Estate to replenish the feeders this afternoon was mostly uneventful, but both a Woodcock and a Roe Deer sprung from the undergrowth at Scotland Wood.