Margaret is not happy. Well she lives up this track at Dobcross and got stuck in the snow as we made our modest contribution to the Fieldfare totals. What can one say? Michael on the other hand, lured by Kane's offer of a few Coot and group first Tufted Duck, took his eye of the ball a little and gave the Nursery Boys a bit of elbow room. The Greenfinches have moved on, the Fieldfares have moved on, so our three nets 9m, 4m, and 12m whoosh were aimed eagerly at our priority species Reed Bunting. Unlike Michael down in Alderley Edge with a dozen or so, we had rarely seen more than three, but last Saturday was a bit different. We ringed nine (and a retrap) and followed this up with two more on Sunday. Now The Prof writing in the Cheshire and Wirral Atlas would have us believe that he has them all at Runcorn, apart from when he lets a few go to either Woolston or the coast; so how come two dozen are slumming it in the north east of the county when we don't even have a dot on our tetrad in the Winter distribution map? In addition we ringed seven new Bullfinches (thirteen for the year so far), six Goldfinches, five Lesser Redpolls and eleven Siskins. For our sins David pulled the trigger on four Wood Pigeons, before the flock descended (!), and demonstrated his handling skills by nearly let one fly up his nose: He has seen the error of his ways and realised that a pane of glass in a greenhouse just might not hold a fleeing 550 gram bird.
Of more interest to Jake was the fact that on release every Reed Bunting flew directly to the small phragmites bed, in contrast to the tits which headed for the wood and the Blackbirds for the laurel hedge. Our haul of two Song Thrushes was equal to our whole 2009 total, but having ringed eleven Jays since the middle of October it was a surprise not to add to the total. 77 birds processed on Saturday was only 7 short of our daily best tally for the site.
News of our exploits brought Nev, Justin, and Clive along on Sunday, and although we failed to repeat the performance 25 new and 37 retraps added one or two 'old friends' to our year's total.