Cold, Frosty and Sunny

Saturday, November 26th 2016

Windscreens had to be scraped and locks unfrozen before many of the ringers could set off from home.  A different sort of Winter Wonderland awaited them.  No snow but a really heavy frost covered all the vegetation.  Golden light could be seen through the conifers and out onto the moorland.

Golden lght

The heath was white.

Frost covered heath

Leaves were covered in spectacular ice patterns.

Ice patterns on a leaf

Nothing escaped the frost.  Hawthorn berries are still plentiful for the winter migrants, Redwing and Blackbird, both of which passed through the ringing room today.  As soon as the sun started to rise, its heat began to melt the frost on the berries!

Frost melting on the berries

Birds ranged from the 5g Goldcrests to the 100g migrant Blackbirds, with Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Redwing, Song Thrushes, Marsh Tits and Brambling in between.  Lesser Redpolls, now known again as Redpolls, are beginning to spread into the reserve for the winter.  The Mealy Redpoll, below, was newly ringed.  A five year old Coal Tit and Chaffinch were among the retraps.

A Mealy Redpoll

235 birds were processed today.  Ringing is not a numbers game, but the variety of species and totals of birds processed does give an indication of the health of the populations and their movements.  Not many Greenfinches have been seen or recorded over the last year so it was really pleasing to ring 28 new ones today.  Blackbirds have also been scarce.  They made up for it today as 20 were ringed.  The majority of these were migrants from Europe.

Ringers were kept busy carrying out net rounds and ringing the birds.  Thank you to all of them and to those volunteers who supported the day with cups of tea, biccies and sausage rolls!  It was a very productive session!

PS We have received a recovery of a Meadow Pipit that was ringed at the The Crater in the late summer two years ago.  More details to follow.

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