Today we pay the price for the week or two of fine weather as cold northerly winds with snow hit Cumbria, Yorkshire and Derbyshire, north, south and east of this coastal location. This April surprise brought down the curtain on any springtime birds likely to head this far north and so put paid to any birding or ringing for me today.
We received yet another Goldfinch recovery in the south of the UK. L863394, a fresh juvenile bird of the year caught on 2nd September 2011 during one of many ringing sessions at Rawcliffe Moss. It was recaptured at Cadborough, East Sussex just 44 days later on 16 October 2011. On 2nd September Will and I caught a total of 19 Goldfinches, a number which made up the majority of the catch of 31 new birds, so we probably hit an autumn movement of Goldfinches that day.
During 2011 we ringed 280 Goldfinches at this site and this latest recovery is similar to ones notified in the past which show how Goldfinches from the north of England travel south in the autumn to spend the winter near the south coast and then return north in the spring. Yet others may hop across the English Channel to France, Belgium or Holland and we await a record of this type. I plotted the most recent example on the map below together with others involving the Fylde area of Lancashire. Three of those shown involve birds from Rawcliffe Moss, two individuals from mine and Will’s gardens respectively and the final one a road casualty. Interestingly five examples involve sub-adult females, the road casualty of unknown age. Juvenile and females Goldfinches are known to migrate further than males.
In recent years the population of Goldfinches has increased tremendously in this part of Lancashire whereby they are now a very common garden bird plus a bird of farmland and woodland edge, all of which makes it possible to catch numbers only dreamt of ten years ago. So all you ringers there in the south of England, keep catching those winter Goldfinches, there’s a good chance one will be recaptured up here or you will find one originally ringed in the Fylde.
Those lottis of mine just completed the nest before the cold winds came. The feathers should keep the eggs warm.