Saturday, 23 November 2013

Home Cottage Farm - 23 November 2013

The visit to Home Cottage Farm was planned to allow us to reacquaint ourselves with the site and the way that birds are using it. There were no visits last winter as the crop was poor and little was left for the birds after visitors went to 'pick their own' and the sheep had polished off the fallen windfalls. It was a very different situation this year with a bumper crop reflective of the optimal conditions that caused a mast year in the natural food supply.

Every row of trees showed the same story - excess windfalls

There were windfalls below every tree posing the problem of where precisely to place nets. There were a few thrushes around and Fieldfare and Mistle Thrushes were in the orchard but with the option of feeding in the adjacent fields, they soon moved away due to our disturbance. We need some really low temperatures, cold enough to harden the earth, to improve our catching chances.

The catch was still very respectible with a total of 42 birds. Most were tits but there was a bit of variety including some Blackbirds, Goldcrests and a juvenile Sparrowhawk.

3M Sparrowhawk

Ten of the birds were retrapped with two having been processed at the site on 20 November 2012.

Adult Coal Tit Y599947

The other eight retraps had been done, since September 2012, in our back garden just a kilometre away.   Coal Tit Y599267 being the earliest date 08/09/2012,  Goldcrest EBX489 was done on 23/09/2013 and the most recent, Blue Tit D710087 on 18/10/2013. 

Totals: 32 (10)

Sparrowhawk - 1
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 3
Goldcrest - 3 (1)
Long Tailed-Tit - 5 (2)
Coal Tit - 0 (2)
Blue Tit - 13 (5)
Great Tit - 1
Chaffinch - 3
Goldfinch - 1