After two weeks of seemingly endless gales and rain, I managed to squeeze in a morning’s ringing before the next national lockdown starts tomorrow. It was a cold start with the first frost of the autumn and the mist net poles were covered in ice when I arrived, but things gradually warmed up despite a northerly breeze blowing down the valley. Ringing was steady but not very exciting. Crests seem to be thin on the ground this year but at least there were a few Chiffchaffs about, including 3 returning wintering birds – two from 2019 and 1 from 2018. The highlight was five Cetti’s Warblers, four of which were new birds. This brings the year’s total so far up to 22 individuals, which may be a record for SML. I’ll have to check!
A couple of Sparrowhawks, which appeared to be hunting as a pair close to Marsh Ride, kept me on my toes, as did a sighting of a stoat scuttling across one of the paths in the same area but my presence kept them away from the nets. Woodpigeons were much in evidence as well with at least a thousand heading south during the morning, together with about 20 Skylark and a couple of Siskins. Final totals were 46 birds of which 29 were new: 1 Blackbird, 4 Blue Tit, 5 Cetti’s Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 3 Dunnock, 4 Goldcrest, 2 Great Tit, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Robin, 1 Song Thrush and 6 Wren.