The morning began dank and cold with a touch of mist, but the closer I got to Rawcliffe Moss about 8 miles away, the thicker the mist became. Out on the ringing site at 0645 the mist had turned almost to fog, the sort where birds don’t move around much and so not the ideal weather to try and catch birds for ringing.
A very slow start ensued and by 0930 when I’d caught 6 birds, and with the obstinate mist still in place, I almost gave up. Then Colin the gamekeeper turned up to feed his pheasants and told me all was clear and bright just a few miles away in St Michael’s village, so with a hint of blue sky above I decided to wait for a while. Just as well I did as the next few hours produced a rush of birds until I packed in at 1130 having caught 41 birds of 11 species, 39 new and 2 recaptures.
New birds: 16 Goldfinch, 10 Chaffinch, 4 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blackbird, 1 Dunnock and 1 Great Tit. The two recaptures were Goldfinches from recent weeks. The first few birds were Goldfinches and a Lesser Redpoll feeding on Niger seed, closely followed by a Chiffchaff heard “pheweeing” nearby.
Sun And Mist
At this time the camera was set at ISO800 to cope with the poor light. At least the Lesser Redpoll was bright, a juvenile male.
The single male Goldcrest showed some of its hidden gold.
All but one of today’s Goldfinch turned out to be juveniles, the exception an adult female.
There were Siskins going over as soon as the sky cleared. I didn’t expect to catch any because around these parts the Siskin is something of a late winter speciality for ringers. Upon examination the bird proved to be an adult female.
A couple of “others” photographs.
The heavy mist made sure I saw nothing between 0700 and 0930, with just the sounds of local Goldfinches and cups of coffee to keep me company. After 0930 I was almost too busy with the ringing to make much sense of the visible migration with probably. 50+ Meadow Pipit, 35+ Chaffinch, 6 Siskin, 5 Reed Bunting and 12 Alba wagtail.
Otherwise: Huge numbers of noisy Pink-footed Geese flying around to the distant north and west somewhere over Pilling Moss, luckily none came down to the decoy but not-quite-perfect-calls of nearby shooters. Also, 8 Snipe, 1 Peregrine, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker. I had a stroke of good fortune when from a party of 5 Jays, one found itself in a mist net but managed to jump out and fly off in pursuit of the others just as I reached the ride.
The morning turned out to be very productive after all. Glad I persevered with it.