With the disastrous summer we’ve struggled for a decent catch of birds all year but our luck changed this morning with an excellent mixed catch of warblers at Out Rawcliffe. Will and I met at 6am and by 1030 we’d managed a catch of 28 new birds following what appeared to be an overnight arrival of mainly Willow Warblers, possibly birds from Scotland, especially since we were hearing and seeing Tree Pipits too.
Species and numbers caught: 16 Willow Warbler (3 adult and 13 juvenile), 2 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff , 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Reed Bunting. Approximately 35/40 Willow Warblers were about the immediate area this morning, some of them visibly heading south when they left the plantation.
With just a single Chiffchaff the morning clearly belonged to the Willys.
We counted 6+ Tree Pipits over this morning, a figure which includes the two juveniles caught.
The two Lesser Whitethroats were immaculate juveniles, the Common Whitethroat a juvenile in moult.
It’s always instructive to catch a Reed Warbler in the trees, so reminding ourselves that birds don’t necessarily do what it says on the label.
As the species isn’t proven to breed too locally and also scarce in the summertime we normally catch Lesser Redpolls in just spring or fairly late autumn and so do not see their moult patterns. This year I suspect a pair or two have bred very locally indeed, therefore catching a female in heavy moult reinforced the notion.
A juvenile Reed Bunting in post-juvenile moult.
Other birds this morning: Evidence of migration with 24 Snipe and 14 Golden Plover, otherwise less than five each of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and Chaffinch over, so no great finch movements as yet. Small number of Swallows in the area c40, but very little noticeable movement south. No raptors or owls this morning - most unusual, but then we were busy counting or watching Willys.