Here on the west coast of Lancashire we set our sights a little lower than Spurn Point, where fresh in off the North Sea, 21,000 Redwings and 9,500 Fieldfares were logged on Monday, and then another 2,000 or so of each on Tuesday. It’s all relative of course, and my counts of Lesser Redpoll this week together with 27 caught already would appear to surpass figures for the world famous bird observatory!
I was on Rawcliffe Moss again this morning where I counted 190 Redwings and 45 Fieldfares between 0730 and 1000, when at the ten o’clock point what little passage there had been just petered out. The Redwing count is made up of 5 or 6 groups of birds, the biggest counted being 80 and 50 individuals. Just a couple of Fieldfare gangs appeared soon after dawn to make up their total. Many of the Redwings appeared to come from the east this morning although it is not always easy to say from which direction as they suddenly and almost literally fall from high in the clouds. Maybe they had crossed The Pennines, that immovable object in the centre of the UK which makes over and above travel more problematical for a bird looking for the bright lights of Lancashire?
The finch passage was very slow this morning, and after a zero catch of Chaffinch their inland passage may well be over, particularly so when for weeks now their numbers have been low in comparison to the previous two autumns here. Lesser Redpolls were less conspicuous too with just 8 logged.
Birds ringed: 10 Redwing, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Blackbird, 1 Great Tit, 1 Tree Sparrow. So apologies, there are more pictures of Lesser Redpoll and Redwing today, plus pictures of those rare catches here, Tree Sparrow and Great Tit.
Lesser Redpoll - adult female
Most of today’s Redwings were juveniles, birds born this year, aged by the white notch on tertial feathers and their pointed tail feathers. No prizes for spotting a regrowing “adult” type feather in the juvenile tail below.
Redwing tail - juvenile
Redwing tail - adult
In October it’s exciting to catch a number of Redwings Turdus iliacus, knowing they probably just arrived from Northern Europe, even though the few handled are a tiny, miniscule part of the European breeding population. This population is estimated at 16,000,000 - 21,000,000 breeding pairs, equating to 48,000,000 - 63,000,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 50-74% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 65,000,000-130,000,000 individuals. Maybe I should go out tomorrow morning too and see if I can catch up those Spurn numbers?
Redwing - Turdus iliacus
Other birds today: 3 Tawny Owl, 2 Jay, 2 Raven, 3 Snipe, 1 Kestrel, 8 Blackbird, 3 Siskin, 6 Meadow Pipit, 4 Reed Bunting.