13Th February 2010
First ringing trip down to Waterside of 2010 and as usual we were made welcome by John and Margaret who do a wonderful job of feeding the birds and managing this fabulous bit of habitat around their home. I was immediately aware of the many birds using the feeders as they were all over the place and very vocal. Quickly Jamey and I put up a small 20' net at the rear of the garden and returned to the car to see what we would catch. Although pretty cold as demonstrated by the frozen pond it was a clear day with little wind although we are further sheltered as Waterside sits on the floor of Conieglen and is largely surrounded by mature trees. While waiting we visited the fore mentioned pond and although covered in ice we could still see the first clumps of frog spawn seen this year, a Sparrowhawk passed by but high and on the other side of the road and then Jamey and I seen two Great spotted woodpeckers crossing from the wood on the far side of the road down into Waterside. These have been reported as being females and at least one is in the habit of appearing on the feeders, so excitement was climbing with the hope of catching one of these uncommon Kintyre birds.
On Checking the net for the first time it was no surprise to find it full of the abundant Blue tits and a couple of Chaffinches but alas no woodpecker. A Yellowhammer was spotted on the ground in front of the net and it has been a number of years since I have had one of those in the hand. As the morning wore on the catch of Blue and Great Tits increase with lesser numbers of Chaffinch, did see a single Dipper fly low up burn followed shortly after by a Grey Wagtail. On walking around the woods on the opposite bank of the river I was amazed by the amount of blackbirds feeding amongst the leaf litter, counting 38 in the small area that I was standing and being aware that more were rising from other areas of the woodland. A single Woodcock was also flushed from one of the ditches near the woodland edge. The highlight of the day for me was the capture of a male Brambling, a new ringing species for me and a bird I have only seen on a few occasions.
The ringing totals for the day are as follows;
ROBIN - 1
BLACKBIRD - 1
COAL TIT - 1
BLUE TIT 53 (including 3 retraps, one from 2005)
GREAT TIT - 31 (including 2 retraps)
CHAFFINCH - 12
BRAMBLING - 1
TOTAL 101 BIRDS