Surprise Snow and Birds

Sunday, January 17th 2016

Although the forecast had at one point mentioned a light covering of snow overnight it was a bit of a shock to the system to arrive at a snow covered FGC, especially when home had been snow free.

Snow covered FGC

As can be seen by the reflections in the Voley Pond, there may have been snow but there was no wind, so much bettter conditions for mist netting than of recent weeks.

Snow around the Voley Pond

Setting out to raise the nets, the Roe Deer had been there before us.

Roe Deer tracks

Most of the vegetation had snow on it somewhere.  Last year's Oak leaves were very attractive with their attached bits of snow

Oak leaves and snow

Angelica seed heads proved ideal for snow to rest upon.

Angelica seed head

Although there is little variation in colour at this time of year, the snow covered Teasel heads and dock seed heads, with a background of reeds, actually make a colouful photograph.

Snow covered Teasel heads

Outside there was little stirring, although the bird feeders were busy.  No Invertebrates were to be seen at all, as one would expect.  Peter found this spider enjoying the warmth of the kitchen.  A very sensible spider!


Throughout the day the very well wrapped up bird ringers went on their net rounds.  Many of the birds were retraps, as is the case at this time of year.  Coal Tits flock to FGC for the winter as they know there is food for them.  Come spring they disperse to the conifer blocks surrounding the reserve to breed.  Lesser Redpolls have been seen feeding and some arrived in the ringing room.

Long-tailed Tits are tiny birds, weighing less than 10g.  They are a delighful bird to photograph as they almost seem to ask 'Is this my best side?'

Long-tailed Tit

When the data for a retrapped bird is entered into IPMR, its first capture details are shown.  From this we can actually age the birds.  Today we caught 178 birds of 15 species - 67 of them were Coal Tits which is an amazing number, 17 of them new ones.  One Blue Tit today was 9 years old, and additionally there were 2 birds at 4 yo, 6 at 5 yo, 1 at 6 yo and 1 at 7 yo.  It was a fun and enjoyable day.  Thank you to everyone who helped.

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