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Another Very Cold Day

Monday, December 3rd 2012

Only four more late starts at Foxglove for the bird ringers, after the 21st December the arrival time begins to get earlier!!  Everyone was well wrapped up as they headed out to put up the nets.  The sky was blue, the sun was bright and the moon was still in the sky.

Early morning

Ice had formed on the ponds in the Scrapes making amazing patterns.

Ice patterns

Walking along the boardwalk, to the bridge over the head of the lake, Long Tailed Tits were observed flitting quietly between the branches of the trees along the lake side.  Trying to photograph these small birds was difficult, as they did not stay still for long.  Amazingly this one was caught on camera and is in focus!

Long Tailed Tit

Later in the day some Long Tailed Tits were processed.  Over 140 birds were brought to the ringing room in just 3 hours and many were birds that had been ringed before.  The data collected from these retrapped birds is very important as it gives information about their longevity and movements.  A large proportion of them seem only to winter at Foxglove and clearly make use of the food supplies available.  Some spend the same two winter months at Foxglove every year and then disappear again who knows where.

When all the information was recorded on paper it took many hours to input into IPMR (the computer programme that handles all the data) some months later.  Since March we have been inputting all the data straight into the computer; this not only saves a great deal of time but also means that CES data was ready to be sent to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) long before the date required.  The BTO has just published the initial findings from CES 2012 and this can be viewed on their web site.

Finally, a pair of Ravens were flying over the reserve for a large part of the morning calling loudly with their loud raucous call; this is not an every day occurrence and may be a new site/sight? record.

Thank you to everyone who helped today.

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