Monday, 2 January 2012

Home Cottage Farm, Iver Heath - 2 January 2012

Chris and I took the last chance of the festive break to target thrushes at Home Cottage Farm today. The weather forecast was not promising with strong gusts expected but, with the prospect of work for the rest of the week, we went anyway.

We set a double beneath a huge pear tree where birds were seen feeding on the ocassion of our last visit, but this produced none of the target species and would have been a total failure were it not for a couple of Green Woodpeckers, one of which was first ringed on 19th December 2009.

Initially we set a double at the bottom of the orchard and a run of three, mid orchard, alongside some particularly delicious looking Spartan apples that birds had clearly been visiting. The final double was erected next to a berry patch.

To out dismay, the Fieldfares that had patiently awaited our departure, bowled into a corner of the field where we had no coverage at all! So the double by the berry patch came down, rather sharpish, and we hoped that our disturbance wouldn't put them off of their favoured area for good.

On the next round we found that the bottom double had caught our first Redwing of this winter.


The hastily erected net in the corner caught a second Redwing, a Starling, Fieldfare and a couple of Mistle Thrush, one of which was not properly caught and made its escape before I could get a hand to it.

Field fare

Starling - 5 female


Mistle Thrush

The triple had a couple of Chaffinch, a Goldfinch and a second Mistle Thrush under attack by a Kestrel. Amazingly, despite the heap of shed feathers, the Mistle Thrush (pictured above) was unharmed and suitable for ringing. This made me very happy, partly to see it fly off fit and healthy, but also because Chris and I alternate when we get a species that neither has done. For the second time in a week (last Tuesday it was Crossbills) we both got to ring a new species - great for me since it's actually his turn next!

Kestrel - 5 female

It was very quiet after 11am and there were no further captures.


Kestrel - 1
Green Woodpecker - 0 (2)
Robin - 1
Fieldfare - 1
Mistle Thrush - 2
Redwing - 2
Blue Tit - 1 (1)
Starling - 1
Chffinch - 1 (1)
Goldfinch -1