Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Thrushes

At this time of year there is simply nothing quite like going out in the early morning to catch overnight thrushes freshly arriving from goodness knows where. After a catch of 50 Redwings yesterday and the massive thrush movements recorded all week, we really couldn’t let another opportunity pass, especially since the forecasts suggest Sunday as the last fine morning for the next few days.

This morning seemed much as yesterday with overnight very clear, a light wind at dawn and good visibility. The major difference this morning out on Rawcliffe Moss was that the slightly fresher wind now blew from a south easterly direction and although the temperature was 5°C instead of 1°C, it felt much colder, with our fingers nipped by the cold but rescued by cups of hot coffee. The visible migration now took place from the north and North West as the birds travelled in a southerly direction. Numbers of all birds were much lower today with a notable lack of small birds and lesser numbers of thrushes with the exception of Fieldfares.

Our first net round at 0720 today comprised of four Redwings and two Song Thrushes. As expected, Redwings dominated the 0715 to 1045 count again today with about 400+ birds in parties of between 10 and 60 birds dropping into the plantation before generally moving on quite quickly. One Redwing caught yesterday was retrapped this morning.

This morning we caught 28 Redwings, made up of 4 adults and 24 juveniles, where just a few had visible fat.

The overhead Fieldfare count came to 65+ with a lone male ringed.

Other counts and observations below. All heading south unless noted otherwise:

Tree Sparrow, 14
Reed Bunting, 6 only, noticeably less birds compared with the several days before with 1 new bird ringed today
Brambling, 1 quite late in the morning
Linnet, 3
Goldfinch, 15
Whooper Swan, 2 west
Snipe, 3
“Albas”, 2
Blackbird, 9 over with 1 new ringed and 1 retrapped
Skylark, several early risers in the dark then the usual 100+ sticking to the stubble fields unless disturbed by geese or microlight
Pink-footed Goose, several thousand increasing as the morning went on
Chaffinch, 40ish with 1 only ringed.

This juvenile male Chaffinch provided some interest in its tertial moult whereby on one wing only it had replaced the diffuse edged juvenile feathers with sharply demarcated chestnut edged adult feathers.

Other birds seen today included 3 Kestrels and one Buzzard. Down at the feeding spot we counted 90/100 Tree Sparrow, 2 Yellowhammer and several Chaffinch.


Pete Marsh said...

Hello Phil
Did you catch any Reed Buntings this last week with rings from elsewhere? We've ringed almost 100 at Middleton IE with most of them in the last fortnight as 'vis mig' birds heading your way. Similar numbers recently ringed at Leighton Moss

Looks like thats it for a bit ringing-weather- wise



Phil said...

Hi Pete

No ringed reebus caught this autumn but keep watching this space, I wouldn't be surprised as there are plenty passing through. Looks like we might get out later in the week.



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