…on the 17th April. A clear bright morning with a light WNW breeze.

A modest 31 birds processed with a 14/17 new/retrap split and a good number of species caught including:

  • 8 Blackcap
  • 2 Willow warbler
  • 1  Whitethroat
  • 1 Lesser Whitethroat
  • 1 Sedge warbler
  • 1 Chiffchaff
  • 3 Song thrush
  • 6 Dunnock
  • 5 Long-tailed tit
  • 2 Robin
  • 1 Blue tit


Although I felt as rough as a badger’s… I still forced myself up and out and managed to get over to Woolley Firs on Saturday, the not-so-early start of 7am a welcome incentive.

Another two part day planned, ringing first thing if the weather permitted, followed by the final box checks before the breeding season really kicks on. A few boxes still needed a spring clean and a few more removals/relocations needed to be carried out.

The weather did it’s usual, with the possible predicted winds not arriving, but instead, a short period of rain, not predicted! This hampered us slightly with the nets furled for the duration, on the whole a productive morning with 47 birds processed.

30 Blue tit, 8 Great tit, 4 Coal tit, and singles of Dunnock, Robin, Treecreeper, Chaffinch and Long-tailed tit.


…At last…

…enabling us to venture out and put some nets up.

Woolley Firs was the destination Saturday morning, ringing and bird box relocation planned. A foggy journey along the M25 had me taking extra care with visibility badly compromised.

By the time I arrived nets were already set up in the fields, some full height nets along the hedge line and some single panels in the field for Skylarks. The first couple of hours proved to be quite slow with only 10 birds caught; a single Chaffinch, 3 Blue tits, 2 Blackbirds, a Goldcrest and 3 Yellowhammer


Male Yellowhammer

Alas the Skylark nets didn’t attract any birds.  Around 10am we decided to move our focus from the fields to the feeders located near the trust buildings, this proved very productive with a further 57 birds processed, 45 Blue tits, 9 Great tit, 2 Coal tits and a single Chaffinch. One of the retrap Blue tits was one of our chicks ringed last summer.


With a steady flow of birds finding our nets we carried on ringing until 2pm at which point we set down and prepared for the second part of the day’s activities, relocating 4 tit boxes, the boxes in question had produced hardly any young during the previous few seasons, either undesirable location or predation. We moved them to an area recently cleared by the trust.

We left site about 3pm satisfied with the days efforts. The journey home was delay free, probably down to the Rugby at Twickenham.


Our group (Bisham Barn Owl Group) is now featured in this report.


16th Feb…

Having nearly fallen off my chair at work after checking the weather Monday lunchtime, minimal wind speeds predicted for Tuesday! I quickly arranged a day off work and a visit to Chobham Common. I was joined by Erica, a fellow C permit holder, meeting at the site for 0630. A lovely clear crisp morning with the temperatures early on around the -1 mark. We set just one 40′ net to begin with and played Lesser Redpoll on the tape lure having spotted a couple near by. A second net was added about an hour later with the catch still in single figures. It proved to be a quiet session and we decided to set down at 1030.

Although the final total was 10 birds, 8 Lesser Redpoll and 2 Long-tailed tits, it was still great to be out on a beautiful morning on the Common.

Chobham Common

Chobham Common

Chobham Common

Chobham Common

The long planned ringing demonstration at BBOWT Woolley Firs took place on Saturday 13th February, however the weather let us down again and we were not able to open any nets due to the persistent rain.

We’d planned to net the fields beforehand, 0600, hoping for some winter thrushes, the weather on arrival was dry with a borderline wind speed, but we were able to use the hedgerow to protect the nets and any birds we caught. We only managed to catch 8 birds in total, 6 Redwing and 2 Song thrush before the rain started.

Although still raining we decide to set up a 30′ net next to the feeders, the net was furled (rolled up and unable to catch any birds) but ready and in place should the rain stop. Alas the rain didn’t stop. At 0900 Carl slipped off to do a pre-planned radio interview for BBC Radio Berkshire. By 0930 the activity centre was buzzing with people, unable to show any birds being ringed Carl decided to go and explain what ringing was all about. It was obvious the rain was set for the day so at 1030 we packed up and headed home.

On Sunday I was over on LBF farm, in the wood repairing three tit boxes which had been damaged by the squirrels last summer, all three had the entrance hole enlarged. All are now set for this year’s breeding season, 11 tit boxes, a Treecreeper wedge, Kestrel box and a Tawny owl box.

2016-02-14 12.59.12 2016-02-14 12.32.00 2016-02-14 12.22.26


The weather continues to be dominated by the wind with storms rolling in off the Atlantic on a regular basis, this in turn is dominating my ringing activities with very few opportunities to get out this month. My only session held in the garden on the 21st, with 15 birds processed including a small flock of 10 Long-tailed tits.

The 30th saw me over in the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire with Carl, Paul and Sarah continuing our work as members of the Bisham Barn Owl Group (BBOG) checking & cleaning out nest boxes ready for this years breeding. Owls will often use boxes outside of the breeding season to roost in, especially when the weather turns colder, so there’s always the possibility of us catching birds during these rounds, alas we didn’t find any BO’s this time.

Following on from the last two seasons of monitoring, ringing and nest recording, this year we are starting a RAS scheme (Retrapping Adults for Survival) one of only 4 such schemes being carried out in the UK this year. More information on RAS here.

We also have Tawny Owl, Little Owl & Kestrel boxes in place and we caught this Little Owl roosting in one.

Little Owl

Little Owl

Little Owl

Little Owl