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Our netting attempts are being badly affected by the winds this month, with many planned sessions having to be cancelled at the last minute. We seem to be in a bit of a cycle at the moment with the wind speed rising at the weekends.

March 7th

A return visit to Fifield and Touchen End with Carl & Paul, adding 2 Kestrel boxes, 1 Little owl box, 1 Barn owl box and a replacement Tawny owl box for one that had been fitted in 2013 and disintegrated in 2014 (not one of ours I might add!). A pleasant dry day with plenty of sunshine. A visit to our ‘local’ in the area for a spot of food and a pint.

March 14th/15th 

Planned session on Chobham Common cancelled.

March 21st/22nd

Planned weekend session on Chobham Common cancelled but Monday 23rd did show a little more promise with wind speeds down to 8mph with 11mph gusts, just within our margins. I had a days leave booked and with a few ringers eager to get out managed to persuade 4 of them to join me.

We met at 0615 hrs with a plan to catch Meadow pipits if they were about; Dartford Warbler, quite a few territories have been identified so far this year, and Stonechat which also seem to be on the Common in fairly good numbers. We set up our nets for the Meadow pipits and identified a couple of areas for the Dartford’s, a male and female Stonechat were also spotted along with a Whinchat so a net was deployed for them too.

It stayed calm for a while but a slight breeze was detected about 0930 hrs gradually building over the next hour or so, by 1030 hrs the nets were looking obvious. To say it was a slow morning would be rather understating it, we managed to catch just one bird, a male Reed bunting.

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Saturday part 1 saw us in the middle of a Willow plantation at a new site in Berkshire. Carl had been there midweek cutting a couple of rides through the Willow in readiness for a weekend session.

Clear early morning skies meant a cold start to the day with a definite need for the thermals, Carl, Marie and myself arrived on site at 0615 and set up 2 2×60′ nets in the 2 new rides.

Once the sun was up it did start to warm a little and we saw plenty of birds flying about but unfortunately only a single Jay managed to land in the net, the field is rather large so much longer rides are probably required.

We left site at 1100hrs.

Processed totals

Jay x 1

Saturday part 2 was a visit to Woolley Firs to number up our bird boxes, gps any that were missing from our map and record any activity in the boxes. This took the best part of 3 hours and we left site around 1430 hrs. There was good signs of nesting activity with a few of the boxes with fresh nesting materials.

Sunday was another first for us with a visit to my ‘patch’ and an attempt to catch some of the many Skylark in a field close to my home. Carl pulled into my driveway at 0515, another rather chilly start with cloudless skies.

We set 2 lines, line 1: 2 60′ singles & a 60′ double, line 2: 2 40′ doubles. We didn’t have to wait long before we had our first ever bird on the farm in a net, a beautiful Skylark. We stayed out on the field until 0830 and managed to catch a further 5 Skylarks which was a great way to start our ringing on the farm.

Processed totals

Skylark x 6

LBF Skyla 02

Skylark

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