Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dry Spot

It was raining pretty hard this morning at home here near the coast when I contacted Will to see how the rain was 13 miles away near near Garstang, a town overlooked by the Bowland fells where rain is a way of life. “Dry” he promised, so 30 minutes later a single net was set for the finches, near the 14 nyjer feeders but away from the few titmice that linger around the peanuts near the kitchen window.

We are sure the Siskins roost nearby as they arrive in the tree tops in half-light with a great deal of noise then wait there until it is bright enough to attack the feeders; this morning about 60/70 Siskin arrived together with a much smaller number of Chaffinch, maybe 30, plus one or two Brambling.

Our totals today were 31 new birds and 13 recaptures, the majority of which were again finches. New birds, 23 Siskin, 4 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Greenfinch and 1 Blue Tit. Recaptures, 10 Siskin, 2 Chaffinch and 1 Lesser Redpoll.

That brings our total of Siskin ringed here in 2011 to 105 new birds with 1 recapture from February 2010, but 21 recaptures already from this year’s birds. This suggests a large turnover of Siskins with a core of birds returning to the feeders regularly, so we take care not to overwork the site, allowing the Siskins plenty of time to feed. We await details of 2 Siskins caught here but ringed by other ringers, T879956 and X343298.

In January Chaffinch were the most numerous species here, replaced in February by Siskins, so it will be interesting to watch when both Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll begin to return in numbers, with today only one of each to trouble the mainly Siskin field sheet.

Siskin- adult male

Siskin- adult male

Lesser Redpoll



Other birds seen today, the Sparrowhawk that targets Blackbirds, chasing a Blackbird, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Nuthatch, 8 Jackdaws, one of which escaped from the net, and several wary Woodpigeons, far too clever to go into the net.


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