22nd December was our third attempt at catching any, the first was a non event when for some reason or another we decided not to fire the net when there were birds in! The second time, the net was set, birds began to arrive and then it sleeted down!
Some of the team with their Yellow Bunt's
The third time proved much better. Numbers had been building up nicely with estimated counts of 40+ on first trip, 70+ on second trip and a staggering 100 in the area on the third trip, by far the largest number of Yellowhammers any of us had seen in recent times.
Adult male, 1st. Winter Female Yellowhammer's
However, they were proving to be very wary, sitting in nearby hedges most of the time and only coming down briefly to feed in small numbers. Finally after about 3 hours our patience paid off and we managed to catch 14 Yellowhammer and 1 Reed Bunting, all new birds to ring. Since the formation of the group in 2006 we have only ringed 10 Yellowhammer up to this year, so we were well happy with the catch.
Adult (left) and 1st. Winter Yellowhammer tail feathers.
Hopefully we can get another session in soon.
Also in the area were several flocks of Pinkfeet, Fieldfare and Golden Plover going over, 31 Skylark in the adjoining field and a Common Buzzard was hunting over the fields.