Easter Ringing

To say that it has been a wet Easter weekend is probably an understatement. Blocks of persistent heavy rain have swept across the county on each day, with the sky never varying from a sombre grey. Dodging between these periods of rain we did however manage to squeeze in some bird ringing sessions over the extended weekend.

Good Friday saw us at Lodge Farm near Santon Downham. The garden, shimmering green with droplets of water hanging from all the bushes, trees and grass and splashes of yellow from multitudes of daffodils, was alive with the sounds of birds. The calls of brambling and siskin were distinct among the singing greenfinch, goldfinch, nuthatch, blue and great tits. It proved to be a very busy morning. Despite the bulk of the catch being made up of blue, great and coal tits, there were also good numbers of those brambling and siskins.

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Stunning male brambling. Photo: Lee Barber

After a Saturday of Easter egg hunts and chocolate indulgence, the forecast for Easter Sunday was looking good for ringing (calm and overcast) and so we took the opportunity to return to our new farmland ringing site nicknamed Frosty. Last time it certainly lived up to this name, with bright freezing conditions. Today it was milder and muddier.

Frosty – our new Norfolk farmland site

Like last time there was a flock of yellowhammer, reed buntings and chaffinch, moving through the hedgerow and flicking down to the seed scattered among the cover crop of flattened maize

Unlike last time the flock was smaller and tree sparrows were notably absent. Much of the flock appears to have started to disperse into the wider landscape to breed and with the milder conditions they are not as reliant on supplementary feeding.

Still, catching any number of yellowhammers is not ever to be sniffed at, with the wonderful yellows of their plumage brightening up a very grey morning.

Even a female yellowhammer brightens up the day

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