Friday, 29 November 2019

Harrington ringing


A cold morning at Harrington Airfield pre-dawn but it was great to again see the stars rather than cloud and gloom! And when the sun came out it turned into a lovely early winter day. A small number of mist nets were used to catch and ring birds as part of our on-going studies and a small band of us were kept busy with the capture of 133 birds of nineteen species.

Always difficult to catch using mist nets, the best bird of the session was a Woodcock which remained long enough in the top shelf of a net. In all likelihood this bird has come a long way to reach Harrington, very likely from central or even eastern Russia. The lack of feather wear and pattern of the primary coverts indicated it was an adult bird. Another infrequent capture was a female Kestrel which we judged to be a bird hatched this year.

However the session was dominated by thrushes with 66 Redwings, 2 Fieldfares, a Song Thrush and 7 Blackbirds all newly ringed. Other birds included 2 Starlings, a Meadow Pipit, a Robin, a Wren, a Dunnock, 2 Goldcrests, 14 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, 3 Tree Sparrows, 7 Chaffinches, a female Brambling, 9 Reed Buntings and 11 Yellowhammers.

Other birds seen on site included a couple more Woodcock, three Common Snipe, a Barn Owl, a couple of Golden Plovers and a covey of twelve Grey Partridges. A further ringing session is due again tomorrow and general access to the bunkers and old airstrip will be restricted.

Eleanor saw three or four Woodcock at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this morning and there are anecdotal reports of large numbers in our wet woods during the last couple of weeks...


Neil M

Woodcock courtesy of
Chris Payne.





Tree Sparrow.

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