Desperate Dan ('Desperate' in the form of most Liverpool fans, still, at least he isn't Norwegian!), Finn and Nigel arrived just as we were getting the last net up and immediately told us that there were seven Lesser Redpoll in the net already! Things were on the up!
Seven Redpoll became sixteen by the time we completed the first net round and included three retraps, all of which were ringed by ourselves, two from the previous session and one from early December suggesting that this was a local flock that had been emptying the niger seed feeders. Also in the first net round were a single juvenile female Brambling and a Jay - much to Finn's excitement.
Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret)
Finn was keen to see some Blackbirds in the hand and we managed six during the morning and proved more of a challenge when coming to handling the birds. Finn's enthusiasm was blatently apparent when he got to ring a Lesser Redpoll, a Blue Tit and a Jay - beaming doesn't really begin to describe it and you can read about the session from his perspective here.
Of the Jays, one was an adult and the other was a juvenile and following on from last weeks post about variation in adult Jays, I've included a photo showing the outermost greater covert.
Jay (Garrulus glandarius) - Juvenile. Seven bars of differing depth, irregular spacing that continues across the primary coverts.
Unfortunately we also caught two Chaffinches suffering from the papilloma virus, these birds were released immediately because it wouldn't be appropriate to ring these birds. Finn was telling me about a Chaffinch that he has feeding in his garden that has the same condition - for the most part, the birds seem to survive reasonably well. Last winter when we were catching a lot with this condition I was curious to the body condition of these birds and so I weighed a few - the birds seemed to be in good condition with average weights. These two Chaffinches however, represent the first cases of Chaffinch with papilloma since the spring and we really hope that they are the last.
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) with evidence of the papilloma virus
By the time we started to pack away, things had really quietened down. A female Kestrel was a constant menace, perching above the feeding station, keeping some birds away. A Sparrowhawk also made a late appearance, a bird we are yet to ring at Kings Moss, despite having previously had two in the net. Yellowhammer numbers are yet to build up and Reed Buntings are well down on last year - a legacy of the previous breeding season.
Catkins out on the Hazel
Goldfinch - 4
Chaffinch - 12 (2)
Brambling - 1
Dunnock - 2 (1)
Lesser Redpoll - 14 (3)
Great Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 3 (6)
Greenfinch - 6 (1)
Blackbird - 2 (4)
Jay - 2
Robin - (1)
L.T.Tit - (3)
Bullfinch - (1)
TOTAL: 47 (22)