Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Mealy steals the show!

After having my worst train journey imaginable, I finally reached Newton-Le-Willows after 3 and half hours worth of travelling. This route normally takes me 1 and a half hours but with a 30 minute delay at Bangor, one of the carriages out of order for some stupid reason, 100+ people crammed into 1 carriage, people and luggage packed tightly, a delay at Llandudno Junction and an argument with the the guard on the train as I was astonished at the ridiculously poor service they had provided - it was a relief to get off the train, albeit a few hours late!

On Saturday morning {22nd} myself and Kane met up with Steve Christmas in the Worsley garden, to see if we could catch some more Lesser Redpolls. The 30ft net was erected and we retired inside to let the birds descend to te feeders. Michael and Mary have recently had a maximum of 20 Bramblings in their garden, as well as many Redpoll, so we were hopeful for a good session.

Throughout the morning, Bramblings were calling all around us, perching in the nearby scrub at the back of the garden, but only 2 brave individuals ventured onto the ground, which managed to evade capture.

The usual culprits were caught throughout the morning and an increase in Goldfinch was obvious in the garden, resulting in 10 birds being caught; a few more than last time. Throughout the morning we were greeted with 2 surprises. First was a Mealy Redpoll that flew in with a flock of Lesser Redpoll and ended up in our mist net. This species was only the 5th record for Kane's ringing group! A much larger bird in the hand than seen in the field, with alot more white, bulkier appearance and an overall clean look to the bird. Also a new species to see in the hand.. The second surprise was a control Lesser Redpoll, which was ringed by Kane last winter at his Shakerley feeding station. For more informaton, see http://birdringing.blogspot.com/

Our first session here resulted in a Great-spotted Woodpecker just missing our net, but this time he flew straight in and livened up the morning even more. This bird was a juvenile male {euring age code 5}.


  • Lesser Redpoll - 29 new - 16 recap + 1 Control
  • Mealy Redpoll - 1 new
  • Goldfinch - 10 new
  • Great tit - 1 new
  • Blue tit - 6 new
  • Blackbird - 2 new
  • Great-spotted Woodpecker - 1 new

A total of 67 birds caught, including 50 new, 16 re-caps and 1 control.

Many thanks to Michael and Mary for having us along again, in conjunction with the toast and cups of coffee and tea that were provided.

After finishing here, myself and Kane headed upto the Lake district to catch a few Black-Headed Gulls, resulting in 3 birds being caught. Finding a nearby pub, we settled down for a pint, which soon turned into one, then two and so on.. Realising that Kane wasn't going to be able to drive home that night, we found ourselves a b&b for the night and the following morning, met up with Ciaran at Preston Docks for a natter and a bit of ring-reading..

Yet another train jounrey back to Bangor on the Sunday, thankfully alot less stressfull than the first and ready for my first lecture of this semester on the Monday morning!

Join me soon for some ringing with Steve this coming weekend..

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