After the BBC weather forecast of an easterly breeze and an unwelcome wind chill factor I was a bit unsure about heading out to the feeding station this morning. In the event and at 7am the conditions for ringing were ideal with pretty much full cloud and even better, a wind speed of nil. And If Thursday was a day of Fieldfares then today was definitely a Brambling day.
The session kicked off slowly with a couple of Reed Buntings, a Robin and a Chaffinch until the Bramblings arrived for their breakfast of sunflower and nyger seed. The calls of Bramblings dominated the morning with 30+ birds in the area and it’s speculation that there has been an influx of birds moving north and joining in with the number of Bramblings that wintered in this area. Also, as the food in nearby stubble becomes depleted, birds are finding the mixed seed I provide. In contrast to their colourful cousins, Chaffinches were much harder to locate this morning with 20+ the corresponding count.
By 1030 the breeze had picked up as promised and I had to pack in before totting up the field sheet at 21 new birds - 12 Brambling, 5 Reed Bunting, 3 Chaffinch, and 1 Robin, as not for the first time this winter Bramblings dominated the catch. Two recaptures were a Chaffinch ringed here 16th December 2012 and a Brambling ringed here a week ago.
Of today’s 13 Bramblings there was one adult male and 12 second calendar year birds, 6 males and 6 females. Apologies then - it’s more Brambling pictures.
The females lack the mostly bright yellow bill of the males.
Brambling - female
Brambling - male
The wing of a juvenile/second caledar year male shows marked colour contrast between the inner and outer primary feather coverts.
Brambling - second calendar year male
It’s a feature that isn’t visible in the closed orange-toned wing of a Brambling, the lemon yellow on the underside of the wing where it joins the body, more noticeable on males.
The rounded, black tail of the adult male Brambling.
Brambling - adult male
One of the Reed Buntings was an absolute corker of an adult male.
Reed Bunting - adult male
The combination of the overcast grey morning and time spent processing the catch rather limited today’s birding tally to just 1 Barn Owl, 3 Kestrel, 19 Skylark, 1 Curlew, 12 Corn Bunting, 140+ Fieldfare and 50+ Tree Sparrow.
It’s a similar forecast for tomorrow, cold easterlies but maybe a little more sun. Looks like a layering up morning again, four on top, two below, hat, scarf and gloves with fingers crossed around the coffee cup.
Pop by soon to see what’s happening on Another Bird Blog. In the meantime call in to see Anni who migh be out birding.