The last few weeks have seen various combinations of the team sat around for days on end at our two Hawfinch feeding sites. The results have been pretty rewarding though.
Hawfinch waiting to come down to the feed. They tend to have a good look for quite a while before dropping down and anything that disturbs them in the meantime, such as other birds in a net, squirrels or people passing-by means they just won't drop. Whoosh netting seems to get around this problem......... well two bits of it anyway - no unwanted tits in mist-nets and the current Grey Squirrel whoosh-net total is 7!! Just need to sort the passers-by now.
This year we have largely switched to whoosh-netting rather than mist-netting and it is paying great dividends. So far we have caught and ringed 60 new birds along with a dozen or so retraps. We have also managed to catch the Forest of Dean bird (White F3) that was photographed by Trevor Bashford on his garden feeder last summer.
An immigrant from the deep south!
Also of great interest is the trapping of three more of last year's pulli. We have now caught and colour-ringed about 20% of the pulli we ringed last year which shows that post fledging survival in this species must be pretty good locally (given that there are undoubtably others out there that we haven't retrapped yet).
Last year we only managed to ring 64 new birds, but with the best month for catching still to come, I think this year will see a massive increase on last year's figure.
Cracking adult male showing square ended tail feathers and
deeply "crinkled' inner primaries.
Unlike Opal Fruits (or Starbursts to our younger readers!), these are made to make your eyes water!!
Thanks to Brendan for the photos.