It was another 6am start out on Rawcliffe Moss with ideal weather for a spot of ringing, no wind and no sign of rain, at least initially. The idea was to catch a few Redwings, maybe Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, overnight migrant thrushes which are often still on the move at dawn or soon after.
Apart from a sharp shower which caused me to close the nets for thirty minutes, I worked through until 11am with a catch of 30 birds of 8 species. After an initial hit of thrushes the morning followed the theme of recent weeks with Goldfinches and Chaffinches to the fore. Totals: 8 Chaffinch, 7 Goldfinch, 6 Redwing , 3 Coal Tit, 2 Blackbird, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Chiffchaff.
The Redwings and Blackbirds were indeed caught at first light or soon after with the Redwing arrivals consisting of small parties only, the largest a group of 30+ birds, the smallest and last a party of four at almost 10am making a total of less than 100. The Sparrowhawk was caught at dawn too, the young male targeting arriving Redwings but instead finding itself in a mist net. Luckily for me working alone, a male Sparrowhawk is infinitely easier to contain than the much larger female.
Sparrowhawk- juvenile male
Three new Coal Tits today, not a large number, but obviously representative of this year’s irruption of the species. Yet more Goldfinches to add to the 120 here this year, many of today’s still in the mainly juvenile plumage of late broods, the one below a juvenile male - black nasal hairs, red extending behind the eye, longish wing.
Here on the moss the autumn Chaffinch passage has been markedly thinner than that of the last two years, with the movement quite slow today, as reflected in the catch of eight and the number overhead at less than 40 during the shower interrupted session. This could be the simple explanation that visits have been less during poor weather of September and/or single observer visits when another pair of eyes and hands would be useful.
Other “vis” today 2 Siskin, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Reed Bunting, 5 Pied/White Wagtail, 10+ Meadow Pipit. Other birds: A loose feeding flock of 350+ Woodpigeon, 6,000 Pink-footed Goose feeding in nearby fields, 30+ Snipe, 2 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Jay, 20+ Tree Sparrow.