It’s almost September so at Out Rawcliffe today our recent strategy changed from that of catching summer warblers to more of an autumn targeted one, aiming firstly for a catch of finches, then secondly the notion that any warblers that come along are a bonus.
We started the morning on a double disaster when firstly Will discovered that he forgot to put coffee in his flask of hot water and milk! Worse was to come when putting nets up in the dawn light we disturbed a Roe Deer that promptly panicked in the direction of where we had just set Will’s almost new 60 foot net. When we checked the net the deer had indeed crashed right through, snapped the bottom strand and left netting all over the vegetation. Such a net costs almost £100 – an expensive morning out. We put the net incident behind us as Will persevered with his warm, milky water refreshment for the rest of the morning, I sipped my flawless coffee whilst steady catching kept us both occupied.
We totted up a good selection of 12 species with 36 new birds and a single recapture. Of the 36 new birds 18 were finches, 14 warblers and 4 miscellaneous. New birds: 9 Chaffinch, 8 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 5 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Robin, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Great Tit and 1 Tree Pipit, the latter one our fourth of the autumn here. The single recapture was a still moulting adult Whitethroat.
One of the Chiffchaffs captured was a very smart, bright juvenile, very smart in fact because as I held the bird for a photograph it snapped at and caught a passing fly.
The bird watching was subdued this morning and the overall catch better than our simply birding observations might suggest, with 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit and c40 Chaffinch overhead. Although welcome autumn additions, today’s Linnet and Goldfinch captures represent a small proportion of the two species on site with a sometimes mixed flock of 300+ birds. Otherwise we saw 80/100 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Raven heading inland again, 1 Great=spotted Woodpecker, 1 Skylark, 1 Kestrel and 30+ Lapwing keeping company with a single Golden Plover.