Thursday, 20 October 2016

Black Park CP - 20th October 2016

It's a long while since we visited this site. The area where we used to ring had many of the mature trees and bushes removed as part of the heathland renewal project, added to this Burnham Beeches was made a dog free zone and this had impacted on Black Park with an increase in the number of dogs being walked at the site, often by paid dog walkers who may have as many as eight dogs and often dogs are not kept on the lead.

The site is very important for small finches and Goldcrest in the winter so we thought we'd go to an area where the gorse was taken down to ground level along several corridors. On arrival we found that the regrowth was rather more substantial than expected, and from the numerous trackways where people were clearly now walking, this was no longer an ideal place to set nets.

We moved on to the original site where several large flocks of Redpoll were seen overhead. As we checked out the expanding bramble bushes, we noticed that a few runs were still clear enough, although the vegetation that served to screen the nets was still rather sparse in some places. Then, we both heard a Yellow-browed Warbler - and we decided to give it a go anyway.

We set four singles, an 18m along the stream, 9m and 12m nets through the regenerating vegetation and a 12m at the end of the little stand of birch trees that were left at our request.

We put Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest and Redpoll audio-lures on, then didn't have to wait long. As has happened before the Goldcrest responded well. The Redpolls were less obliging, being drawn to the area but remaining high up. There were no Long-tailed Tits caught in this area, or anything that might have accompanied them. We had missed our chance of the YBW and had not even seen it!

 3F Goldcrest

Our first Lesser Redpoll of the season

By 10.30am the captures were slowing so we decided to return to the area of extensive gorse to see just how much disturbance from dog walkers there actually was. We put up a couple of single nets that we could monitor very closely and found that no one passed through in the space of an hour. There was some traffic on the main path, mainly joggers, but this had no effect on our monitoring area. Perhaps it may be possible to work this on weekdays in the colder months.

We caught a few more Goldcrests and some Long-tailed Tits including a recaptured bird, DRE638, ringed on 16th September 2012. There was some interest from a flock of Siskin but, like the Redpoll, none came low enough to fly into the net.


Other sighting included Red Kite (2), Redpoll (100+), Redwing (15), Siskin (12). Crossbill (perhaps two birds) were also heard in each of the locations.

Total: 46 (1)

Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 38
Long-tailed Tit - 5 (1)
Blue Tit - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1