With a capital “S” became the order of the day at Out Rawcliffe when catching just 24 birds took up four hours of the morning. Of the 24 birds caught, 15 were new ones, with 8 recaptures and a single “control”, a bird ringed elsewhere: 11 Chaffinch, 4 Goldfinch,3 Reed Bunting, 2 Dunnock, 1 Great Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Goldcrest and 1 Brambling.
The "control" bird a second calendar year male Reed Bunting, Y763574, was quite well advanced into acquiring the black headed appearance of a spring and summer male.
In all there were approximately 18 Reed Buntings in the area again, similar number to recent weeks and days. As most of them now manage to keep clear of the nets, the new birds I continue to catch must be precisely that, newcomers to the site. It was quite unusual to recapture 5 Chaffinch today, one of them first ringed here in September 2007, so now a good age for a Chaffinch.
The plumage confirms an adult, well demarcated tertial feathers and well rounded, even “squared off” tail feathers. There’s an adult male for comparison.
Chaffinch - adult female
Chaffinch - adult male
Although I caught 11 Chaffinch there didn’t seem many about until the shoot on a neighbouring farm caused 200+ birds to scatter from the stubble. There were probably Bramblings amongst the flock as I saw and heard at least 5 about the nets today, catching just the single female. Looking at the bird’s dirty bill, it too had probably flown over from the same peaty stubble field.
A number of Goldfinch appear to be attaining full breeding plumage, like the male below - black nasal hairs and red extending beyond the eye.
The slow ringing allowed time to look about and around, although not much happened until the nearby shoot disturbed many feeding birds. As previously mentioned, 200+ Chaffinch, 30+ Fieldfare, 25 + Redwing, 2000+ Wood Pigeon, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Kestrel, 2 Buzzard, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 7 Corn Bunting. One of the Corn Buntings sung a brief melody from the regular spring and summer fence posts nearby.
Slowly but surely, Spring will soon be here.
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