Rawcliffe Moss again this morning, nets up in the dark waiting for thrushes. Pre- dawn I caught a few of the target species, then soon after dawn several more, and then a handful of finches. In-between came a hefty Sparrowhawk looking for a thrush breakfast.
About 10am for an hour or more ringing took second place when I became a spectator only as thousands of Redwings and Fieldfares piled overhead, all flying North West in flocks of several hundred individuals, sometimes mixed but often just Fieldfares, hence the totals below. By 10am the bright sun, the slight breeze which billowed the nets, plus the lack of leaf cover made the nets entirely visible to sharp eyed thrushes, meaning that although several hundred of each paused in the plantation, the whole of my meagre catch occurred before 10am. My final estimated numbers from 0700 to 1100 hours - 3300 Fieldfare and 1500 Redwing, 80% of these birds seen between 10am and 11am. When I left, more Fieldfares were seen arriving from the direction of St Michael’s village, these individuals also heading North West. With this late arrival overhead I guess the many thousands of birds had travelled a fair old distance since dawn.
Totals caught: 24 birds of 6 species - 10 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Sparrowhawk.
There were more Chaffinch today, and after the normal few from the north at early-doors came a definite arrival with the thrush-rush, and an overall total of 40+ Chaffinch. Otherwise, the passerine passage seemed poor with 2 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Siskin, 1 Brambling and 5 Reed Bunting.
The female Sparrowhawk was quite a handful, so I wasted no time in releasing her quickly, especially since she clutched an unwary finger and drew blood. Please, no jokes about the female sex.
Other birds today: 12 Whooper Swan, 1 Buzzard, 90+ Lapwing, 1 Kestrel, 4 Snipe.
Tune in soon for more gripping news on Another Bird Blog.