This morning, I headed up to Wheats & Son Garden Centre in little Aston as the Brewood Ringers were doing a demonstration. I have been with Ben Dolan, one of the ringers, to Cannock Chase to look for nightjars… you may remember my blog post about it. The garden centre , along with help from lots of volunteers, is working hard to develop some of their land for wildlife and you can see more about it on their website HERE.
The team had set out a selection of nets, near their feeders and in other spots around the land. It was not long before the team started returning to the demonstration area with some captures! We learnt about how the different rings are used and how this can inform us of movements of these birds. All those ringed are measure and the information is logged and then uploaded in to the BTO database.
We started with a great tit. Ben showed us how to ring it and measure its wings. A young visitor was then able to hold it and release it!
This beautiful male blackbird was next for a ring and a wing measurement. Looking healthy, the vibrant yellow of the beak and eye ring was great to see close-up!
A Blue tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Long-tailed tit were next… so lovely to see these birds up close. I held and released the long tailed tit and was astounded at how tiny its body was…. weighing hardly anything, I could feel the warmth of its body and its little heart racing….
The next captures were particularly special as we had the two species of redpoll that visit here! I have had the lesser redpoll visit my feeders a couple of times, but the team also caught the rarer Mealy (or common) redpoll. This redpoll is rarer in the UK and it is not often you have the luxury of seeing the two species together. The lesser redpoll is a warmer, browner colour on the body and a little smaller than the Mealy. The Mealy is paler and more streaked and is slightly bigger. It was a real treat to look at both of these and I even held the Mealy redpoll and released it!
A female Chaffinch, another Long tailed tit, blackbird, greenfinch and Canada Goose (not in the mist nets!) allowed us wonderful close-up views…
It was a wonderful couple of hours and I learnt loads about these species and how they can be aged and sexed as well. There was an excellent turn-out on a beautiful morning. A massive thank you to the team from Brewood ringers. What a great morning!