Starlings, Tits and a green thing with a strong, red beak

Bletchingley Bird Ringing ~ 16th February 2014 ~ 

Having not been ringing since before Christmas, I was glad that at last the weather looked favourable for a ringing session, and on the first weekend of half term too! No sooner had I thought this on Wednesday evening, did I have an offer of going ringing at Bletchingley, a garden site I have been to once before, on Sunday morning from CL and DKL. After a bit of arm twisting and pleading with my parents, I was glad that my mum agreed to take me.

We met CL and DKL at the service station where we enjoyed a cup of tea and a bit of breakfast to kick-start the morning.

Arriving at the site, we erected four nets around the numerous feeders and didn't have to wait long before the birds descended in their masses!

A smart Lesser Redpoll.

Like when we visited before, there were hundreds of birds around the garden and as a result there were plenty of birds to ring and process. We were so busy that we didn't sit down from the time we put up the nets, to the time we left at 16.00!!

This is a beautiful male Goldfinch and you can tell this because the red on its face extends
beyond the eye and the nostril hairs are more of a black colour than pale black/grey
which you would generally find on a female Goldfinch.

The highlights of the session for me were the Ring-necked Parakeet - amazing to see up close, but their bills are so strong and can inflict a lot of pain if/when they choose to sink it into your fingers, the Starlings - it was great to catch a few different individuals and be able to compare them next to each other and see the differences between ages and sexes side by side, last but not least the Great Spotted Woodpeckers, of which we caught 8 - they like to practice their pecking skills on your fingers but it is such a privilege to see them up close that you don't tend to worry about it too much!

The wounds inflicted on my fingers by the Parakeet - ouch! 

This is a male Great Spotted Woodpecker and you can tell this due to the red on the nape. Also,
you can tell that it is aged 5, which means that it was born last year, because of the unmoulted
greater coverts (they are browner than the rest which means they are a different generation of
feather) and the white tips to the primary feathers are only present in juveniles and sub-adult birds.

All in all a fantastic ringing session and hopefully it won't be too long before the next session, fingers crossed.

Me holding a Starling while sporting my new BTO beanie hat!

Many thanks to CL and DKL for inviting me to join them, and to Ralph and Pat for their hospitality!

Our totals for the day are as follows: 148 (37)

Ring-necked Parakeet - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 6 (2)
Blackbird - 1
Dunnock - 1 (2)
Robin - 8
Blue Tit - 71 (24)
Great Tit - 26 (8)
Nuthatch - 1 (1)
Starling - 7
Chaffinch - 6
Goldfinch - 14
Lesser Redpoll - 6


As always, thank you very much for reading and you can keep up to date with my activity on Facebook and Twitter and my website here.

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