Monday, November 1, 2010

The Same But Different

After yesterday’s good catch and a promise of more ringer friendly weather Will and I met up at Rawcliffe Moss again with the same objectives - catch more migrant thrushes, finches and buntings. Of course it might be a similar routine, but at this time of year 99.9% of the birds we catch are new ones to us because of the constant, daily, even minute by minute throughput. So it was today, and although things were quieter than the rush of Sunday morning, we witnessed again how transient is the autumn population of moss land birds.

We caught another 31 birds of just 4 species today, 29 new and 2 recaptures. New birds; 8 Fieldfare, 10 Chaffinch, 1 Redwing and 10 Reed Bunting. Recaptures were 1 Chaffinch and 1 Reed Bunting. The Reed Bunting captures took our total of Reed Buntings caught in the plantation this year to 99 individuals, with 71 of those birds caught in October.

Interestingly the Reed Bunting recaptured today was first ringed here on 12 October 2008 but not recaptured on any intervening dates until today despite many ringing visits later in 2008, then the whole of 2009 and 2010.

It was this week that we began to notice bigger, longer winged Chaffinch appearing with today two adult males with wing lengths of 93mm each, and yesterday 2 birds at 90mm. Not conclusive of course that they are of more eastern European origin, but their appearance coincides with the mass arrival of both Bramblings and Waxwings in the UK. However unlike recent days and especially yesterday, this morning we didn’t see or hear a single Brambling amongst the 140 or so Chaffinch that passed through the site, either overhead or moving quickly through the trees.

The movement of thrushes both was very distinct and seemingly urgent this morning, occurring soon after dawn but lasting an hour only by which time we had counted 260 Fieldfares and less than 40 Redwings, a very similar ratio to yesterday, with all today’s thrushes caught before 8am.

Reed Bunting





Other visible migration seen and/or heard: 2+ Redpoll sp, 8+ Siskin, 12 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Yellowhammer, 3 Blackbird, 7 Woodpigeon. Other birds seen were 14 Whooper Swan, 2000+ Pink-footed Goose, 2 Tawny Owl, and 45 Goldfinch.

Whooper Swan

Yet Another Fine Morning

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