Farmland ringing

This weekend we had two fantastic ringing sessions on my family’s farm in Wiltshire!

We put up nets in a few different places including round the cows, in a field of maize, in the woods and in between trees!

There was a massive flock of finches moving through, mostly continental birds heading back! In total we caught 80 Chaffinches – really big beautiful birds as well as a few Goldfinches and a Yellowhammer! Sadly a lot of the Chaffinches had a horrible disease called Bumble foot which is a type of cancer that starts on the feet and moves up through the body.

CHAFFINCH – Male (above) and female (below)
Adult bird hatched before last year – rounded, glossy tail feathers (above) and young bird – pointed, thin, scruffy tail feathers (below)
Male chaffinch with disease called bumble foot – a cancer which starts in the feet and makes its way up the body

Catching lots of Chaffinches was great in the sense we had lots of practice in ageing them (between 1st year and adult). We looked at the fringes on tertials – if they were a bit scruffy and didn’t have much colour on them, it suggested they were a young bird

Here the tertial fringes are in good condition and have a lot of buffy brown – indicating it is an adult bird born before last year

We also caught a few tit species including lots of pecky Blue tits and Great tits as well as a Coal tit and Marsh tit.

AGEING BLUE TITS – you can age blue tits from the contrast in colours between the greater and primary coverts, as seen in the photos below

The absolute highlight was two stunning 6 male (born before last year) Bramblings! It was lovely to see them in the hand and very exciting as it was a first for me!

The total was:

Chaffinch 41
Treecreeper 1
Robin 5
Dunnock 10
Marsh tit 1
Blue tit 5
Coal tit 1
Long tailed tit 1
Blackbird 2
Goldcrest 1
Wren 4
Yellowhammer 1
Brambling 2
Goldfinch 3

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