This morning was perfect for a spot of ringing, no wind, no sun and no rain. Still hoping for an increase in Goldfinches I went to the moss to top up the feeders and try a few nets.
For February the catch proved quite good, with 21 birds, 13 new and 8 recaptures. New birds: 5 Linnet, 4 Goldfinch, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 1 each of Reed Bunting and Blue Tit. Recaptures: 5 Goldfinch and 1 each of Dunnock, Chaffinch and Lesser Redpoll.
I thought a Redpoll spring movement might be underway when early on I heard several flying over and the first look at the net yielded 3 Lesser Redpoll and a Goldfinch. One of the Lesser Redpoll turned out to be a recapture from late November so I think that it’s likely that all of this morning’s birds had wintered close by and had simply called in for a Niger seed breakfast. I didn’t see or hear any more Redpolls this morning and despite 30 or so coastal Meadow Pipits yesterday I’m still waiting for a more obvious larger scale migration to begin.
The Linnets caught this morning were part of a wintering flock of 50+ feeding in a nearby field, the flock having shrunk from 140 just a week ago. I dedicate the Linnet pictures below to my pal Errol who lives in a part of the UK where I believe Linnets are even harder to come by than they are in these parts. Keep looking Errol.
Four of this morning’s Linnets were males, just showing first signs of their brick red breast feathers. In the winter the method of separating males and females is to compare the amount of white in the primary feathers, the white in males extending closer to the feather shaft.
With 9 Goldfinches caught this morning maybe the spring Niger feeders are beginning to finally work. Other birds seen this morning: 2 Kestrel, 2 Grey Partridge, 7 Yellowhammer, 2 Raven and 1 Hen Harrier.