Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Siskin Sheet

I hope regular readers are up for more news of the bird ringing at Oakenclough? It seems the best place to be at the moment with good numbers of finches continuing to pass through. Down at the coast the news from birders is that the lasting high pressure system is holding back migration. Early migrants like Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins and Wheatears seem hard to come by whereas winter birds like Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Goose are noticeable by their continued presence in good numbers.

I met Andy at the ringing station at 0630. We were later joined by Will who called in to trade birding gossip and to ring a few birds.

On a grey, cold morning we caught steadily for about three hours as both Siskins and Lesser Redpolls arrived from the south, some stopping briefly, others flying determinedly north and west. This was especially true for Siskin as their vibrant calls rang out from close to the feeders but also overhead as small parties flew over. Lesser Redpolls were not so numerous, as reflected in the ringing totals below. There was also a movement of Chaffinches with at one point ten or more in the tops of a couple of nearby trees.

Chaffinch

Following a catch of 22 Goldfinches last Friday the species’ status as a sometime migrant was confirmed by today’s catch of a single new bird and two recaptures. Suddenly at 1030 the feeders went quiet and overhead birds dried up. By 1130 we had decided to pack up and go home.

We totalled 31 birds today – 22 new and 9 recaptures. New birds: 12 Siskin, 4 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Wren, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Robin. Recaptures; 4 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Great Tit.

The Reed Bunting proved to be a second year male.

Reed Bunting

Two male Siskins. The adult Siskin is on the right, the second year on the left.

Siskins


Lesser Redpoll

At each ringing session all the captured birds are entered onto a field sheet. The Information is later transferred to a database, Integrated Population Monitoring and Recording (IPMR) and each month a file of captured birds e-mailed to the BTO for inclusion on their master database.

Field Sheet - 23/03/2016

In the left hand column of the field sheet “N” indicates a new bird while “R” signifies a recapture. The system uses a five letter code for each species. Age “5” means a second year bird while “6” indicates an adult bird. We collect wing length as in many species this can be used to separate males and females where both sexes are similar. Weight at the corresponding time of capture is recorded as an indicator of general condition. At 14 grams one of today’s Siskins had a weight somewhat over the an average. Upon checking the amount of visible fat in the furculum, “little fork” or wishbone, the Siskin was found to have a fat score of 30, pointing to an individual in active migration.

Birding today - singles of Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush.

The month of March is proving to be very productive for our ringing but with the weather due to change tonight there may be a lull in proceedings. Not to worry, there will be more news and pictures very soon on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to World Bird Wednesday, Anni's Blog and Viewing Nature With Eileen.

24 comments:

Errol Newman said...

Have sent 200+ Siski 'your way' this year [mainly Z882 & S168]. Heaviest so far was 14.2g and best FS =30, all this week's. Reckon a big push is due over Easter. Shame about the weather.

Linda said...

Very beautiful, Phil!

Breathtaking said...

Lovely images of all the birds Phil.:)

Stuart Price said...

A Siskin's 'Fat Score'! Didn't realise they were worried about BMI too.....................

I guess I'm not in 'active migration' mode much these days alas.

Christian Perrin said...

Interesting to see how weather patterns affect bird migration. I suppose it's hard enough to move ships through certain systems, let alone for a tiny bird to fly through them! Coming into spring must be a great time of year for you Phil, I hope you keep enjoying yourself out there :)

Margaret Adamson said...

I love seeeing the close up of the birds in hand to be able to see details of them.

Andrew Harris said...

Have caught 18 siskins in our garden in a Kent in the past 2 days. Weights range from 11.2-16.7g, fat sores 10-50,so likely to be moving your way soon! Don't usually see any in this area after mid April.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I am looking forward to the spring migration. It has been a little slow around here lately. Lovely birds and images. The closeups are always amazing. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy weekend! Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Beautiful, love the close-ups so we can see such details.

carol l mckenna said...

Great macro shots of our feathered friends ~ guess you might be a serious 'birder'? eh? ^_^

Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^

Anni said...

Okay....a novice here. So, gotta ask...just how can you tell the difference from a 2nd year and the adult Siskin? The white detailing colors on the wing probably, but what I'm asking is how do you know it's a 2nd year and not a 1st year? You always pique my interests.

That's quite an impressive number of ringing. I was fascinated by the charting you shared also.


I would like to convey my thanks for your sharing of wonderful birds and photos today and adding your link at I'd Rather B Birdin'. It's always a pleasure visiting with you.

Phil Slade said...

Hi Anni. Thanks for your question. If you look carefully at the Siskins you will see that the adult on the right has more rounded tips to the tail feathers and that the whole feather is wider than the pointed appearance of the second year bird. Also the tertial feathers of the adult are broadly tipped silver grey and edged by a silvery line, absent from the greyer tertials second year bird.

Anni said...

Phil...thank you for explaining!! Your knowledge of this is incredible.

Lowcarb team member said...

So good to see all your photo's here, I cannot get over the lovely colouring in the many birds. I'm learning a lot, thank you.
Another thank you too ... for getting up so early to do this!

Hope you've had an enjoyable and Happy Easter.

All the best Jan

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Fine job and great pics, Phil. I admire your dedication.
~

Dina Lettre said...

A finch couple builds in a fern on my front porch each spring/summer. They are such a joy!

Fun60 said...

That's a beautiful photo of the siskins.

Stewart M said...

I love the kind of detail shots you can get with birds in the hard - I need to make an effort to band more over the next year!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Chris Rohrer said...

This is very interesting. Looks like a great day out banding. Having already banded birds return is a treat. I enjoy the recording bit and taking data on the whole thing. Glad you have been seeing higher numbers. Interesting as always. Especially love the Chaffinch!

Gayle atMuldoon said...

Wonderful close-ups.

Neil said...

Great to see all the birds up close.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Very interesting ... You really can see so much detail in your pictures. I wondered the same thing as Anni did and saw your explanation to her. Thanks for sharing all the knowledge with this amateur.

Mary Cromer said...

Fascinating and you must have by now thousands of those page entries. What a heart of dedication you, Andy, Will and others bring with you in this process. I do not imagine the birds thank you for your hard work, in all kinds of weather, as often as you can, getting out in the fields, doing what you love. So beneficial to the knowledge of these birds and where they go, where they have been, wonderful stuff! The beautiful colourations of all of the birds, just outstanding and the Chaffinch is my favorite. Have a great remainder to your week~

David Gascoigne said...

Good morning Esteemed Sladester: I left for a week's birding in Cuba the same day you posted this; hence my delay in posting a comment. Had a great time there and succeeded in seeing almost half the Cuban endemics. Needless to say, as I sipped my gin and tonic in the warm Cuban sunshine after a wonderful day's birding I thought of you freezing your nether regions in Lancashire!

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