The poor often wet and windy weather and high water levels has rather restricted our ringing mainly to garden feeding stations. We have made 11 visits this autumn and winter to Jerry's and Barbara's woodland edge garden. The highlights have been the catching of 19 Great Spotted Woodpeckers compared with only 8 in 8 visits last winter and 17 Nuthatch compared to just 5 last year.
We are colour ringing the Nuthatch and Jerry & Barbara have recorded 453 sightings to the end of January. These reveal that 12 birds are visiting the well stocked feeders regularly, very often in pairs and it is rare to see more than two birds at any time in the garden. It will be interesting to see what happens in spring-one pair bred in the garden last year
Blue tits continue to be present in lower numbers than last year, but Coal Tits are well up with 95 this year compared to 47 last winter. Great Tits are very similar to last year and Chaffinch have gone up from just 5 to 33 this year. Rarities include a Reed bunting and two House Sparrows!
Recent recoveries have included a Barn Owl found dying in poor condition and very thin- no doubt a casualty of the poor weather. There has been many reports locally of Barn Owls hunting in the daylight, a sure sign that they are having problems finding food. Another was a Pied Wagtail recaptured in Devon; only our third recovery on the south coast of this partial migrant. In times past we have had three from France, two in Portugal and one each in Spain and Morrocco.