Friday, April 8, 2011

Wind In The Willows

Will and I met at 0630 at Out Rawcliffe for yet another ringing session. It was a clear and cold morning, with at first a very light north westerly air flow.

We caught a reasonable total of 29 birds, but unlike recent ringing sessions, in addition to the 19 new birds we had more than our normal recapture rate with 9 new and 1 “control” bird. The 19 new birds: 10 Goldfinch, 7 Meadow Pipit, 1 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Linnet, a fine male. The 9 recaptures: 6 Goldfinch, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Great Tit.

The control bird was a Great Tit with number TP78956, not ours; this bird bore a “B” ring, and as a second year bird was ringed elsewhere last year, but as a Great Tit is unlikely to have travelled far.

The morning was dominated by 2 species, Meadow Pipit and Goldfinch. Meadow Pipits arrived in a short rush soon after dawn, with approximately 110/130 arriving from the south east before quickly moving off north and west into the wind: we intercepted just the seven individuals above with at least another seven making the customary Houdini escape from mist nets before we could get hands on them. In addition to the 10 new Goldfinch, today’s 6 recaptures were all caught here last summer, but one of them ringed in 2008 then recaptured again in 2010; Thus our Goldfinch seem to display good site fidelity.

The male Willow Warbler we caught had lots of “previous”, with a site history going back to 2008 when first ringed as an adult in July 2008, then 3 recaptures in 2009 and 4 recaptures in 2010. That’s several journeys to Africa and back with quite amazing site fidelity for such a tiny waif.

The wind direction was not the best for visible migration today, and the clear skies meant little in the way of grounded birds. Best “others” were 5 Swallow, 3 Sand Martin, 2 Lesser Redpoll and the normal 4+ Buzzards, taking to the air in the warming sun soon after 10am.

It was soon after 10am that the increasing wind began to blow increasingly through the alder and willow plantation, forcing us to take down nets for a later day, hopefully soon.



Willow Warbler


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