This upland conifer plantation is now in its sixth season as a netting site and it is great to be able to compare results between years. Last weekend over 240 birds of 24 species were ringed during the ringing course hosted by Teifi RG (for more details click here). The main species were Lesser Redpoll (37), Bullfinch (33), and Chiffchaff (28). Of these the total for Bullfinch is remarkable in that it equals the highest ever previous annual total for this site, and it brings this years total to 60. The reason for the Bullfinch invasion here is perhaps the result of a good breeding season, but may also be due to the abundance of food. Most individuals showed signs of having been feasting on bilberries, though some of the adults had bills half full of grass seeds. Whilst the numbers of Redpolls are not at record levels they are certainly the best since 2010. Other highlights were six more new Willow Tits, Redstart, Grasshopper Warbler and only the second ever Lesser Whitethroat for the site.
Its the time of year when the swallows start to roost in reedbeds and maize fields before they head off south and at Winterton Marsh the roost has already reached between 300 and 400 birds.
Last night we caught 64 Swallows and a Sand Martin in a single net just before dusk- all except 4 were chicks from this season. The birds did not arrive over the marsh until 2105hrs and by 2120 we had made the catch and taken down the net and the whole flock were in the roost before 2130hrs.