Don’t worry it’s not politics, just birds, so read on. At the top of Smithy Lane it was difficult to decide which way to turn, left for birding at Pilling or right for ringing on Rawcliffe Moss. Dawn was imminent and I could just make out a little movement in the trees, hopefully less than the BBC’s 10mph forecast, so as the steering wheel turned clockwise towards the moss I hoped the last minute decision was a good one.
Everything started well with a hunting Barn Owl on the farm track and when I stopped to watch the Barn Owl heading off into the distance, 2 Tawny Owls called from the block of trees nearby.
With just a couple of nets up I caught quite well until 1030 when a strengthening breeze dictated taking the nets down again. 27 new birds of 6 species caught: 20 Chaffinch, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Dunnock, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Goldcrest. Visible migration was fairly light this morning, with c60 Chaffinches and 15/20 Siskins to the fore, followed by a thin passage of approximately 30 Meadow Pipit and ones and twos of wagtails, “albas” and Grey Wagtail. The pipit passage consisted of mainly single birds which hardly warranted an attempt to catch any.
Including today, an examination of the Chaffinches caught here in September shows 67 new birds, only two of which have been adults (both females) with 65 juveniles. The 65 juvenile birds have been made up of 43 females and 22 males. These ratios correspond with figures from the autumns of 2010 and 2011, although this year the proportion of juveniles so far is significantly higher.
Chaffinch- juvenile female
Chaffinch - juvenile male
One of today’s Chiffchaffs and almost certainly a female, was barely bigger than the Goldcrest.
At the end of the season it’s always good to mop up any remaining summer visitors.
Although mostly busy with the ringing, in between times I managed to see more than a few other birds: 24 Snipe, 1 Jay, 50+ Swallow, 1 Raven, 3 Skylark, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Buzzard and 2 Kestrel. Coming from the farm track I disturbed 4 Roe Deer feeding just inside the wood.
So, a successful and rewarding morning when turning right turned out right after all. If only it was always that simple.
And now for readers interested in bird migration and from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, there is a fascinating account of visible migration during the 9/11 Tribute in Light held in New York, but please come back to Another Bird Blog soon.