The weather forecast for the weekend had been changeable for days, and the main concern was that the north-easterly wind would be too strong to allow a session to be held or that it would seriously limit the catch. In the event, it was relatively calm first thing, and the wind only picked up gradually over the morning.
Being mid October, there was always the feeling that we could catch something out of the ordinary. We did, but it was not the eastern vagrant that we might have hoped for! Instead, a couple of magpies got themselves tangled up in an extra net put up near the on site wood store. Despite their abundance, they are normally too clever to fly into nets, and even when they do so, they tend to get out pretty quickly. One duly escaped, but the other was successfully extracted.
In the hand, the ageing of magpies is based on the amount of black on the first and second primaries, with adults having a thinner black fringe on both, and the shape of primary 1. Our bird was an adult, with the first primary being far more clear cut (in terms of pattern when ageing) than the second. A stunning bird to look at closely.
The catch amounted to 28 birds: song thrush 1; (winter) wren 7; robin 3; Cetti’s warbler 2; great tit 1; goldcrest 6; chiffchaff 4; magpie 1; blackbird 1; blackcap 1; and, dunnock 1.
Thanks to Cedwyn Davies, Heather Coates, Aaron Davies and Keith Vaughton for another enjoyable morning.
Owain Gabb 12/10/13