Yesterday on my way home I called at my feeding station on Rawcliffe Moss. As I drove down the track towards the farm buildings I flushed three Jays ahead of the car. Although you do get Jays on the moss, they aren't common unless it is one of those invasion years. As I watched them fly away from me on rounded wings with white rump glinting in the soft afternoon light I thought thank **** I'm not having to extract them from a mist net!
They have a little hook at the end of their upper mandible with which they are adept in using to inflict pain on the ringer!
There isn't a great deal of light left at the end of the day now around home time since the clocks went back, so at first I was surprised to sea a group of Chaffinch heading purposefully as if flying to a roost until I realised that dusk was just round the corner! That probably accounts for the fact that there was only 56 Tree Sparrows at the feeding station when there were 130 a couple of days ago. In fact the Tree Sparrows were making their way along the hedge away from the feeding station. I am not sure whether they roost in the hedge, but away from the feeding station, or whether they actually leave the site altogether to roost. I have witnessed behaviour to suggest both!
Looking back in one of my note books from 1985, Jay's were a feature of a morning ringing at Snettisham Common in west Norfolk on 26th October. I actually ringed three that morning, but have no recollection at all as to whether they inflicted any pain, but I am sure they did! In addition to the Jays I ringed 11 Bullfinch, 3 Coal Tits, 5 Goldcrests, 4 Long-tailed Tits and a Yellowhammer. I wonder if the site still exists? I'll have to have a look on Google earth.
In Memory Of My Dearest Father - *PETER CLARKE* Ornithologist, Naturalist, Photographer, Author, Founder and first Warden of Holme Bird Observatory and NOA Dearly loved husband of Margaret...
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