Sunday, 3 January 2010

Fieldfares at the Nursery

NE Cheshire is not the most inspiring place for bird ringing in the summer as our total of 12 warblers out of 1118 new birds in 2009 shows. In winter however things are a bit better with a couple of decent roosts round the Nursery holding 1000+ finches and 100 or so thrushes. A couple of snowfalls and minus 6 Celsius temperatures saw us leaving the Lesser Redpolls to get on with the nijer seed as we tried for the thrushes. The cleanest surface for the whoosh net was on the bungalow front lawn, but only the Blackbirds were regularly on the feed line. A constant stream of shouting dogwalkers and their barking friends and the clatter of car doors from the next door neighbours had the Redwings and Fieldfares leaping into the treetops before they could settle onto our chopped apples, and we had two near misses only to show for a few mornings' effort. Next door down the track towards the airfield Richard has a large bungalow with an old orchard behind and Richard kindly let us have a go there. The ground was covered with hundreds of windfalls but with most of them covered with snow the Fieldfares were squabbling over the spoils in front of the net. In spite of a few small technical problems, over a couple of days, we ringed 13 new Fieldfares and retrapped one. The retrap had lost 3 grams in weight overnight showing how hard life can be at this time of year; they can now have a few days to put their weight back on before we try again.
Together with the total from the Great Warford Shelter Best boys we have 10% of our group's 43 year Fieldfare total, and Jake and Clive finally had an opportunity to sex and age them.

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