Everything was ready for an early start today. List of equipment duly ticked off, vacuum flask filled, breakfast on the passenger seat and camera at the ready for an early owl along the farm track. The organisation was so good I found myself out on Rawcliffe Moss in the dark, too early for an owl but with plenty of time to erect a few nets. No Will to share the burden this morning as he’s got other commitments for a while which means solo efforts from yours truly as long as body and soul stay willing and able.
The morning proved to be busy, with barely time for a coffee or breakfast and I could have done with an extra pair of hands in dealing with the 42 birds caught, 40 new and 2 recaptures. New: 32 Chaffinch, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Blackcap, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Goldfinch and 1 Willow Warbler. The two recaptures were a Chiffchaff and a Goldfinch, both from last week.
The numbers above tell the story of a morning dominated by overhead and arriving Chaffinches with a minimum of 100 birds from 0630 until 1045 when I packed in at an increase in wind speed from the previous zero. Today’s age/sex breakdown of the 32 Chaffinch caught - 18 female and 14 male, but every single one of them a bird of the year as an illustration of the juvenile dispersal from upland areas of the UK but north of Lancashire.
The only other finch on the move this morning seemed to be Siskin, with c10 birds over, but still no sign of any numbers of Lesser Redpolls. The Greenfinch and Goldfinches caught were close to the Niger feeders, with a few of each species beginning to return to our supply rather than natural sources. There are lots of very young still buff-headed Goldfinches about, obviously from second or even third broods.
The Blackcap had a goodish weight of 19.1 grams and a fat score of 30, the Sedge Warbler quite lightweight at 10.5 grams and zero fat.
I was fairly busy with the ringing to note much in the way of birding. At one point a gang of protesting Swallows alerted me to something happening in a net below them, and when I went to investigate a female Sparrowhawk was pocketed half way along a 60ft net but rose effortlessly out when she saw me appear 30ft away. Otherwise, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Reed Bunting, 10 Snipe, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Buzzard and then half way through the morning, the inevitable Marsh Harrier on its vast circuit.
On the way home across Pilling Moss I looked to see if the Little Owl was out in the sun. It was.
A successful morning. Here's to many more on Another Bird Blog.