Saturday, October 17, 2009

Redwing City

More of the same this morning when we made the trip to Rawcliffe Moss where the mist of two days ago was replaced by a fine if somewhat cold start as the outside temperature gauge on my dash read “1°”.

We put up the nets in no time, in fact had time for a warming cup of coffee as we listened to two and possibly three Tawny Owls whilst waiting for first light and the opening net check. It was also still pretty much dark when we heard two Stonechats along the ditch waking up “chacking” and then seemingly departing the area because we didn’t see any after that.

Just as well that we managed to grab a coffee early on because for the next four hours we barely stopped until midday when we took down the nets as the thrushes dried up and by when we had renamed the plantation “Redwing City”.

Today I remembered my camera but as usual Will had his Little Red Lumix to hand in a trouser pocket just in case; the only problem was that we had barely enough time to take pictures we were so busy. Just as on Thursday, our first catch included 2 Fieldfare in addition to half a dozen Redwing, which boded well for the morning session.

Steady rounds ensued and by 1130 when overhead things were quieter, we had ringed 48 Redwings and agreed that this would be the last round of the nets; But Hey Presto, two more to make 50 Redwings caught; a notable point indeed at which to stop.

We caught 17 adults and 33 juveniles, adult on the left, juvenile on the right of the picture.

Even after their overnight trip from lands further north we found that about a third of the Redwings still carried varying amounts of fat, scoring between F10 and F30 with individual weights ranging from 52 to 69 grams, those at the lower end of this range with no visible fat.

This morning the visible migration was from the south, especially noticeable with the Redwings that came in small groups of 6/8 and larger parties of 40/50. Although we were very busy with the ringing and may have missed some birds, a count of 800 Redwings is therefore probably an underestimate, especially read in conjunction with catching 50.

Other than the 2 Fieldfare ringed, we saw no more which seems a little strange but as before, we may have missed them while busy ringing. Other thrushes comprised 2 Song Thrush and 1 Blackbird caught amongst the Redwings with 8 more Blackbird over.

Other passage was quite thin with a summary of this and other sightings below;

Snipe, 1 over
Reed Bunting, c20 over with 8 new ones ringed to make 18 new this week
Chaffinch, 5 new ringed but strangely, very little visible migration
Goldfinch, 17 over
Grey Wagtail, 1 over
Meadow Pipit, less than 10 over
Long-tailed Tit, 4 new ringed plus two retraps from earlier in the year
Dunnock, 2 new ringed
Robin, 1 new ringed
Kestrel, 2
Buzzard, 3
Barn Owl, 1
Grey Heron, 1 over
"Albas", one only

Masses of Pink-footed Geese on the moss this morning, with an estimated 8000+ which ties in with my quick visit to Lane Ends yesterday where I thought there were 20000+ birds on the salt marsh at dawn.

Four Roe Deer put in a brief appearance this morning before doing their usual disappearing act.

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