Saturday, 29 November 2014

Hen's Wood & Swindon STW 22nd November 2014

Hi, today was the day to visit Willow Tit wood or Hen's Wood. Even though the forecast was fairly dodgy we braved it and we got our rewards. We start to target woodland birds at this time of year as we (Matt) feeds these sites regularly to try and catch Willow Tits and other species.

Sadly it wasn't a Willow Tit today which was worrying as we didn't even hear a call. Goldcrests, Blue Tits and Coal Tits dominated the catch. Although, in the morning Woodcock were having a whale of a time flying over all the time, all we need is a tactical wader net set. With Coal Tit being a new bird for me. Ageing of these birds wasn't for the faint hearted... Covert break was the answer and if you only had a slight sight defect there was no chance in ageing!

Another great new bird was a Nuthatch, what a fantastic bird though... Just look at that supercillium (eyestripe)!

Just after that I asked for a "Head on view", this is the result...

Just look at this clown (Matt Prior)! At least the shot was in focus though, later on Marsh tits started to arrive. Even though the non keen birder may dismiss it as a drab bird I think that it is wonderful. Up close the cap is nice and glossy, also it has a nice timid attitude unlike the Blue, oh the devilish fiends!

After a fantastic morning we were off to a roost at Swindon STW. Redwing and Pied Wagtails were the target, but we did try Water rail at the Pied Wagtail net through the reeds for 10 mins with some responses but no catch. In fact nearly 5 answered in a small area and there was definitely one rustling around close by. 

We checked the reeds we cut and the main lagoon totalling 22+ Snipe and a Jack Snipe, wow! Thanks to Simon, Matt and Jack N's great work this happened so good job :) The Redwing net was very exciting seeing flocks of 50+ redwing flying over did liven it up, but with only 9 Redwing caught wasn't a true reflection...
Sorry for the terrible photo...
Back at the Pied Wagtail net we discussed future plans for the reserve which was great and exciting at the same time with Snipe being mentioned! In the net thought there were two Chiffs and one Wren. One of the chiffhcaff's wasn't normal however, it was greyer and drabber to be honest! This suggested it to be an eatern race, the prominent supercillium and dashes of green suggested Albeitinus, but you can never be sure!

Here are the totals from today, thanks to...

Goldcrest 35 (1), Coal Tit 13, Blue Tit 14 (3), Great Tit 3, Marsh Tit 1 (1), Nuthatch 1, Wren 6, Robin 2 (1), Dunnock 2, Blackbird 2 (1), Redwing 9, Chiffchaff 2

I'll post about my next adventure tomorrow. with a new bird added to my already impressive list! Also i have been doing some more drawing so will try and do that as well,



  1. What a great day, you rung loads of great birds

  2. Super effort Alex. Good laugh too, loved the 'head on' shot ;))