Posts Tagged ‘berkshire’

Boxing Day

Having checked the weather for the Christmas period I noted that boxing day was the only day the wind was predicted to be calm and the promise of a frost. I decided to try a session over on Tadworth Meadows.

I enlisted the help of my mate Dave and set a 0700 hrs start. We set a line of single panels, 45’/60’/60 for the Skylark and we put a 30′ 4 panel net across the hedge that dissects Tadworth Meadow.

The Skylarks were not really flying about the field, probably conserving energy, and only took to flight if flushed. All was not lost with a single bird eventually ending up in the net. The 30′ was a little more productive with 8 birds caught; 5 x Blue tit, 2 x Great tit and a single Blackbird.

We set down at 1000 hrs and headed home for a cuppa.

New Years Eve

I was intending to have another go for the Skylark, but having had a chat with Carl was persuaded to go over to Woolley Firs and try for Yellowhammer and Redwing.

We arrived at 0700 hrs to frost covered fields and a light freezing fog. We split into 2 teams of 2 to set-up.

It was a quiet morning bird wise with just 19 birds processed, we did however catch a Yellowhammer and Redwing.




I left early at 1000.

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A new blog dedicated to owls, owl boxes and owl ringing from my friend and fellow ringer, Paul.

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Having spotted c70 Redwing last week at Woolley Firs it was decided that we should have a go at catching some this weekend. This did mean a really early start as we needed to get the nets in place before first light. With a 0600 hrs meet time agreed and a 40 mile journey to site I set my alarm for 0420, I also factored in time to thaw the car as a -3°c frost had been forecast for Epsom Downs!

A small team of 4 arrived on site at the designated time and we set about setting up, splitting into 2 teams we soon had the nets in place.

The first round was key to our Redwing success and we weren’t disappointed with 9 caught. After we’d processed the initial catch we added some double panel nets in the hope of catching Skylark, a few had been spotted by the staff during the week.  Subsequent rounds throughout the morning didn’t yield any more Redwing, or Skylark for that matter but we did catch a good number of other thrushes, 11 Blackbird (a session record for the site beating the previous high by some margin) and a single Song thrush. Other species on the day; 4 Great tit, 3 Blue tit, a Robin, a flock of c20 Meadow pipits were seen in a tree near by late on, so with a quick change of bird call on the players we managed to encourage 6 to the nets, however the c20 Yellowhammer we also spotted couldn’t be tempted!

We ringed our last bird at 1230 hrs, bringing the total to 35, and proceeded to set down. With another successful session in the bag we retired to the local for a well earned meal and a pint.

Other birds of note spotted; Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel (sat atop one of the net poles!)


wf 027

Meadow pipit




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Woolley Firs again this week with ringing and bird box cleaning planned.

A damp and misty start meant leaving slightly earlier to allow for the slower journey to site.  A five strong team arrived on site for the 0715hrs start.

A quieter session than of late with 35 birds processed, we did put a percentage of this down to the empty feeders which usually are kept topped up. At 1030hrs myself and Roj started the task of checking and removing this years nest material from the 40 plus bird boxes we have in the nearby wood, the task took the best part of 2 hours with all but a couple completed. The next visit we’ll be moving some of the less productive boxes and repairing a few that need a little attention.

Birds spotted, c70 Redwing, 3 Mistle thrush, 11 Lapwing and 3 Skylark, Red Kite.

We left at 1345hrs and, pub, pint, chips, home, followed.

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Having had to cancel my visit to last weeks season opener at Woolley Firs due to an alternator failure I was eager to make it this week, this was put into jeopardy on Friday morning after a massive hole appeared on the M25 following road works over-night. The road was still not open by bed time on Friday night but was due to re-open at 5am Saturday.

I confirmed the M25 had actually re-opened Saturday morning before setting off to Woolley Firs for the planned 07:00 meet. It was damp and misty throughout the morning but this didn’t seem to hamper the catch with a respectable 64 birds processed. The highlights of the day; a first year male Firecrest (a ringing tick for me) and a first year female Great spotted woodpecker.

Mistle thrush and Redwing were spotted but couldn’t be tempted down to the nets.


Firecrest (3M)



Firecrest Head

Firecrest (3M)


Great Spotted Woodpecker (3F)

Great spotted woodpecker (3F)

The now ‘traditional’ after session pint was quaffed before a remarkably traffic free trip home.



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…500th bird processed on Saturday and then 2 new species ringed on Sunday.

Saturdays session was over at Wraysbury, the mercury was reading -8°c when I got in the car to leave however by the time I arrived on site it had warmed to -4°c!

Nine of us turned out for the session (which was not bad considering how cold it was) 2 trainers, 2 ‘A’ ringers and the rest being trainee’s.

We split into 3 teams and set about putting the nets up. Once We’d set up we didn’t have to wait too long before the birds started to catch, we started off with a few Robins and Blackbird and on the second or third net round a Fieldfare which was not to much of a surprise as we had noted after the first few net rounds that there was a flock of Fieldfare gathering just along the track from our processing position. The flock started to build in number with more and more birds ‘dropping in’ from above, we where hoping a few more of them would find our nets and by the end of the session a few more had indeed found our nets, a group session record of 24!


  1. Robin x4
  2. Blabi (Blackbird) x 3
  3. Field (Fieldfare) x 2

Sunday I was up early again (madness you’re thinking!) I had been invited over to Woolley Firs by Gavin, a fellow ringer and all round nice guy, this location is Gavins ‘patch’ run by the Wildlife Trust and consists of farmland,woodland and an apple orchard.

When I arrived (0745) Gavin was already hard at work setting up so I quickly parked up and joined in. Initially we set up in 2 locations, firstly a 60ft along one of the hedgerows in a field placing apple underneath as we were targeting Redwing/Fieldfare and secondly, in the same field but along an adjacent hedgerow a 60ft/20ft dog-leg with some seeders to attract smaller passerines, tits, finches etc. This set of nets proved to be the most productive and we caught a fare few, the other set however didn’t catch anything the Fieldfare proved to smart managing to avoid the nets but still manage to eat the apples! We decided to relocate this net to a different field and try and catch some House Sparrows that we had seen. We ended up with just one Sparrow but I was more than happy as I got to ring it and it was a species first! Gavin decided to set one more 60ft up in the wooded area to try and catch Redwing, again we caught one and another species first for me.


  1. Blabi (Blackbird) x 1
  2. Bluti (Blue tit) x 10
  3. Grefi (Greenfinch) x 3
  4. Housp (House Sparrow)  x1 species first
  5. Redwi (Redwing) x 1 species first
  6. Robin x 1

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