Friday, September 23, 2011

Another Good One

When we looked at last night’s charts both Will and I thought that Friday might offer a chance of another ringing session so as usual we met up on Rawcliffe Moss for 0630. The starts get later now, with 0630 almost a lie-in, but once the clocks go back so do the alarm settings.

Another rewarding morning saw us catch 59 birds of just 7 species, but 57 new and 2 recaptures. We continued the Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit theme of the last few weeks with the majority of our tally made up of those two species, but also found more Reed Buntings in among the arriving mipits. New birds, 25 Meadow Pipits, 23 Chaffinch, 5 Reed Bunting, and 1 each of Lesser Redpoll, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch and Great Tit. The recaptures were a Goldfinch and a Great Tit, both of them ringed quite recently.

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting


Although there was strong movement of Chaffinches today, particularly after first light, we didn’t see or hear the chattering of overhead Lesser Redpolls with the single bird caught the only one on the field sheet.

Lesser Redpoll

Following our recent mipit wing length of 90mm, a blog reader asked about wing length variation of Meadow Pipits, so I looked again in Birds of the Western Palearctic. From various sources the book gives wing length to be anything between 73mm for the smallest females and up to 86mm for males, with probably 80/81 mm being of indeterminate sex. In a typical autumn we catch a good number of birds above 85mm and I would guess that these individuals are of Icelandic origin. Click on the picture to see large text.

Meadow Pipit

Birds of the Western Palearctic – Meadow Pipit

Whilst steady, our morning wasn’t so busy that we couldn’t take note of the visible migration taking place, even in the 10/12mph south-westerly. From very soon after first light there was a strong movement of Chaffinches which although tailing off fairly quickly still left us with an estimate of up to 300 birds in the five hours on site. Meadow Pipits were rather less obvious, reflected in our catch of 25 birds, but we estimated them at 200 in the five hours. Our Reed Bunting “vis mig” count was 10 + birds in addition to the 5 caught. As mentioned above, no other finches overhead apart from 30+ Linnets and 100+ Goldfinch, but we are unable to separate out any migrants from the local birds that feed on the farm and roost nearby.


During the morning we noted a fairly small number of Swallows and House Martins, an assembly which from about 1030am almost imperceptibly built up to a very large feeding flock of 400+ birds, 95% of them Swallows: we left about 1130 but the hirundines remained in the area. The first hour after dawn also saw a number of alba wagtails overhead, upwards of 20 birds through in the first two hours, then a later smattering of single birds. Other birds on the move south, a party of 8 Mistle Thrush, a gang of 60 + Skylark with additional singles throughout, 5 Corn Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer and 1 Golden Plover.

Raptors today: 3 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Tawny Owl and 1 Barn Owl which in the half-light of dawn floated silently between Will and myself and over our half erected mist net.

So, heaps of birds seen and bags of birds caught. What a great morning it was.


Peter Fearon said...

Hi Phil,

Driving through the tunnel to work this morning I was regretting that Moxey has just arrived in Portugal and wasn't ringing one of our sites while I was at work - conditions were ideal! The forecast looks good for the weekend though, so fingers crossed!

It would be great to see some site photo's!

Keep up the good work!


Tim James said...

I simply adore the Linnet shot. What feeling and atmosphere. Great work.

Pete Marsh said...

I wouldn't use the word 'good' to describe Heysham with the highlight a rise in Shelduck numbers from 2 to 87. The mist netting consisted of 25 minutes and three retrap Long-tailed Tit before it was deemed too windy. It then dropped again when the nets had been taken down!

Next week looks a bit more interesting Tuesday onwards

Please could you email me your (newer than I have = red hot ant) e-mail address. Ta.



Seasons said...

Hi Phil, sorry I am was too tired to read your post today. But, definitely wanted to see the pictures. The birds with their feathers now fully grown, look beautiful. Thanks as always, for sharing!

Christian said...

Yeah, I agree with Tim. That Linnet shot is brilliant.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Hey Phil, how is it going! I sure have missed my blogging friends, but had a great adventure too. Your fine assortment of birds this day, all captivating. I see from your post that you fine folk must also have the fall back in autumn time change thing as we have, what a fuss it always is to change. Have a grand weekend!

eileeninmd said...

The reed bunting is a cute bird, great shots. Have a great weekend and happy birding.

Anonymous said...

What amazing close-ups - just beautiful!

Paco Sales said...

Una magnífica jornada con 57 capturas nuevas, es un placer pasar por tu blog y ver tanta diversidad de aves y todas preciosas. Un abrazo Phil

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I seem to be always behind...
I am happy for you that the weather is more cooperative for ringing, and you had a great days catch!
I knew I would forget the name of the bird "darn"...but it is almost at the end of your face is so comical,and looks like he has the mumps his little face is puffed right out : }}

Take care

Kay L. Davies said...

I thought I'd commented before, Phil, but it didn't leave my screen, so perhaps it didn't get sent.
I was saying I love the closeups of the birds' faces, but the linnet photo looks like an illustration in an Audubon book. Fabulous.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

chubskulit said...

Beautiful shots.!

My critters, please come by when you get a chance, have a blessed Sunday!

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