Over the last few weeks there have been a steady flow of Siskins coming in to the feeders, I probably only see 2/3 on the feeders at a time but we have now reached a total of over 20 ringed in the last few weeks. Not a large number compared to some parts of the country, but a nice species for the group to handle.
There are two large feeders with Niger seed and seven feeders with Black Sunflower. In this area Siskins are a fairly uncommon species, breeding was only proven when group member Andy Smith caught a female with a well formed brood patch a couple of years ago.
|Male Siskin, courtesy of Neil Hagley|
We catch the majority of our Siskins in the second half of the winter, mainly late February and March. There are definite "Siskin" years, this being a modest one. It coincides with the first half of the winter period seeing record numbers of Brambling being caught. I am not sure if the two are related. The previous record year for Siskins was 2003 when we had recoveries of Siskins ringed from as far afield as Eastern Germany and France as well as a modest number from the UK.
Here are todays totals, New Birds/Retraps
Blue Tit 1/0
Great Tit 1/0
At one point I did catch a grey squirrel in the top shelf as it was jumping from one side of the net ride to the other. Luckily, it extracted itself without damage to the net or me!!