After a few false dawns the weather came good this morning. I’d taken the precaution of throwing a lump of old carpet across the windscreen for the predicted frost and just as well because at 0730 the gauge showed −1 °. The first frost of the winter had arrived.
I met Andy up at Oakenclough where after first topping up the feeding station we set about catching a few birds in the by now bright sunshine. It proved a busy session with barely time to grab a mug of coffee as we processed 73 birds of 12 species. There were 61 new birds plus 12 recaptures from recent weeks.
61 New birds:- the main object of the exercise the finch family named first: 31 Goldfinch, 7 Chaffinch, 3 Greenfinch, 7 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Dunnock, 2 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 1 Blackcap.
12 Recaptures, and the Coal Tits keep coming back for more: 8 Coal Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, 1 Goldfinch.
The Blackcap was something of a surprise as autumn migrants have long gone to be replaced now by small numbers of wintering birds, possibly from the Continent. Not unexpectedly upon examination our bird proved to be a first-winter male.
When we set this project up little did we expect to be catching good numbers of Goldfinch here in December and at more than 200 metres above sea level. It will be interesting to see how many Goldfinch remain into the usually colder part of the new year.
The two male Blackbirds caught both showed characteristics of Continental birds, the scalloped breast and throat feathers plus an all dark bill.
During the busy four hour ringing session we managed to see a few other birds - Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1+ Siskin.
There's more soon from Another Bird Blog.