Monday, January 14th 2013
Frost covered the vegetation this morning and turned the heath from brown to white.
The Juniper trees were also white and if you look closely at the photograph you can see some strands of a spider's silken web coated in frost. Are these the remains of webs from late autumn or is there a spider hidden deep in the prickly leaves?
Frost and low temperatures can cause problems for the bird ringers as they put up the mist nets. The aluminium poles can become very brittle and break easily.
When the data from retrapped birds are entered into IPMR (the data handling programme) their first capture details are shown. From this information we can work out the age of the bird. Today we recorded a Blackbird that was six years old, a Long Tailed Tit that was at least 5 years old and a Coal Tit and Blue Tit both 6 years old.
In recent weeks there have been large numbers of Coal Tits caught. These birds have come in from the surrounding conifer blocks to feed.
Several Lesser Redpolls, some with bright red heads, were processed. A Chaffinch whose wing length and weight were greater than usual, raised the question 'Was it a migrant from Europe?'
Great Spotted Woodpeckers can be very loud when being handled. It is unusual for three to be in the ringing room at the same time and for them to be so quiet!
Visitors to the ringing room were briefed about ringing and the information we can gain from ringed birds. Children were encouraged to look closely at the birds and to try to identify them. There were many interested visitors today.
A ringing day is not complete without many cups of tea, a variety of food, bag counting and tidying up - many thanks to everyone who contributed throughout the day.