Sunday, April 3, 2011

Caught In A Weather Window

The promised window of weather this morning allowed Will and I a trip to Out Rawcliffe for the usual 0630 start. The BBC forecast was fairly accurate with the less than 10mph breeze that let us put a few nets up with distant rain showers passing over the flat Fylde several miles to the west. We caught reasonably well but maybe the rain to the south and west kept migrants down: if nothing else ringers can always come up with theories as to why a catch of birds is less than desired but actually perfectly typical of the prevailing conditions, be it the weather or the birds of the day.

Our total: 17 new birds with 2 recaptures. New birds: 10 Meadow Pipit, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Willow Warbler.



Willow Warbler

Our two recaptures were a Willow Warbler first ringed on 3rd August 2010 and a Goldfinch first ringed 22nd May 2010, neither of them caught again until today.

There was just a small movement of Meadow Pipits this morning, with perhaps 80-100 birds heading north throughout our 4 hour session: now into April the numbers left to head north will diminish greatly. Other than Meadow Pipits, visible migration was negligible with 10-12 chattering Redpoll, the most noticeable species again.

We captured a large and pale Meadow Pipit this morning, insipid and almost whitish underneath with a greyer head than normal and also cold greyer tones to the upperparts. Although the weight was normal at 16.9 grams the wing length was quite striking at 88mm. Whilst the bird was still of the nominate race pratensis, we thought it likely to be of more Northern European and possibly Scandinavian origin than any of the other 50 Meadow Pipits we have handled this year.

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Other birds this morning, 4 Buzzard, 1 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 1 Sparrowhawk and 3 Black-tailed Godwits heading north.

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