Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Par For The Course

There was only me this morning at Out Rawcliffe because everyone else had work or family commitments; so at 6am I put up just three nets where normally there would be more. Just lately 18/20 birds is the average catch for a ringing session on the moss, so to get close to that typical number would be ok I reckoned.

I caught 18 birds again, 11 new and 7 recaptures, before packing up as the wind increased about 1030. New birds: 5 Goldfinch, 4 Willow Warblers, 1 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Whitethroat. Recaptures: 4 recently ringed Goldfinch returning to the niger feeders, 2 Whitethroat and 1 Willow Warbler. It’s good catching new birds, but equally it's important to recapture previously ringed ones so as to collect information about them, especially those species that migrate south during the northern winter and return for our summer.

Whitethroat V576414 was first ringed here in the summer of 2008 as an adult male then recaptured in 2009 and 2010, and now in 2011. Our UK Whitethroat population winters in Africa from Senegal in the west and to Ethiopia in the east, a straight line distance of approximately 2900 miles from Out Rawcliffe. So wise old V576414 has completed this journey at least 8 times, and whilst my whizzy 21st century calculator tells me the sum total is 23,200 miles, it didn’t tell me how such persistent feats of navigation and endurance can be possible.

A mere beginner by comparison, Whitethroat V971612 was first ringed here in 2009, then strangely not captured in 2010 whereby it may evaded us by staying about the extremes of the area, but he returned here today. Even without the ring information both birds were obviously mature males by the rather dark grey head and strong eye colour.

Whitethroat V576414


Willow Warbler AVC164 also had “previous”, from 2009 and 2010.

Willow Warbler

It looks like the Lesser Redpoll surge of recent weeks has slowed with the single capture today another laggardly female, males seemingly the earlier birds of recent weeks.

The clear overnight and morning conditions had a bearing on visible migration which once again was nil apart from a succession of Whimbrel heading north but to the east of my position. Otherwise it was the usual stuff, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Great-spotted Woodpeckers and Corn Buntings.

It was a lovely sunny morning with bird song everywhere from the now many Willow Warblers and Whitethroats, why I even managed a picture of that ever scarce bird the Song Thrush.

Song Thrush

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