I tried another ringing session out on Rawcliffe Moss this morning. On Sunday Goldfinches made up a good proportion of the catch. Today it was the turn of the Chaffinches to come good with a less busy morning and catching at just a steady rate which yielded finches only - 20 Chaffinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll and 2 Goldfinch.
Later the IPMR database showed 152 Chaffinch caught at this site so far this autumn, the number comprised of 134 (88%) juveniles and 18 (12%) adults. The ratios are very much in line with those of the last two autumns here - see Those Chaffinch.
Chaffinch - male
Chaffinch - female
The morning started frost again, cold and clear, the type of weather where it is hard to spot birds moving high overhead even though some of their contact calls are audible. Lesser Redpolls were the early movers today, the earliest birds soon after dawn and a minimum of 15+ birds until 1100. In contrast, although starting much later than usual the Chaffinch movement remained steady with approximately 60+ birds throughout the same period.
Other visible migration, 2 Grey Wagtail, 12 “Alba” wagtail, 5 Reed Bunting, 18 Meadow Pipit, 2 Siskin, 2 Blackbird. Good numbers of Pink-footed Geese moving about in all directions this morning, no doubt unsettled from feeding by the surge in farming activity due to the unaccustomed spell of dry weather. “Otherwise” birds - 12 Snipe, 140 Lapwing, 2 Jay, 3 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker.
Just 2 Jays today - probably local birds. Following a poor acorn crop there has been a large influx of Jays to the UK from Continental Europe this week, with literally thousands of Jays arriving in the east and south east of England. While a few of those individuals may have reached the west of the UK, it is also likely that our resident Jays are moving about the countryside in search of food if the low acorn harvest is replicated here.
The Jay is one of the most important natural planters of acorns with the distribution of several oak species somewhat dependent on the birds’ presence. In autumn and winter large numbers of acorns are brought back to Jay territories and hidden for future retrieval. It has been estimated that a single Jay could bury up to 3000 acorns in a single month, not all of which are found by the birds when they later look for them - hence the growth of oak saplings.
More soon from Another Bird Blog. Stay in touch.