Sunday, March 25, 2012

Redpoll Rush

After yesterday’s trickle of finches Will and I met up on Rawcliffe Moss to see what today might bring. The morning began in similar fashion to Saturday with a cold, misty start which dictated very slow catching while the sun struggled to burn off the grey haze. We started at 0700, and just over two hours later at 0915 had amassed the grand total of three birds, all Lesser Redpolls.

As the mist slowly cleared birds began to move north as if waiting for brighter skies. Between 0930 and 1100 the dribble of redpolls turned into a veritable rush and we ended with 40 new birds, 31 of which were Lesser Redpolls, one of them ringed previously by someeone other than us - a "control"; Lesser Redpoll L977497 anyone?

So the 40 new birds comprised 31 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Goldfinch, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 Blackbird. The single recapture was a resident Blackbird.

Lesser Redpoll


Meadow Pipit

Catching 31 Lesser Redpolls on a spring morning raises the question of how many individuals passed overhead during our 4 plus hours on site. Given the surge between of birds between 0930 and 1100 and the certainty that our catch was a proportion only of those heard and seen, often high above, we estimated between 100 and 200 individuals. It will be interesting to see today’s results from other observation points along the coast and inland. Overhead Siskins this morning numbered c20 with Meadow Pipits c30, low figures, but both of them high-flying species on a bright sunny morning.

Apart from the good number of Lesser Redpolls on the move our birding was unexceptional with a resident and singing Corn Bunting, 2 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 2 drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Reed Bunting and 6 Yellowhammer. Two Little Owls this morning, one in each of their territories 400 yards apart.

Little Owl

STOP PRESS: 110+ Lesser Redpoll passed over Hilbre Island, Merseyside this morning, 40+ over Rossall near Fleetwood, with less than 20 over Heysham, North Lancashire.


grammie g said...

Hey Phil I did not see one Redpoll this winter...I guess it wasn't my year for them ; ]
Good to hear about some netting and banding going on ..I was afraid you was going to get rusty there for awhile..: ]
We have had some returnee's, with the Boat tailed Grackle invasion right in my backyard ..I have been able to count up to 240 of them ..I am doing good ,so easy to take a few shots and count setting right here at the computer huh!! I got you figured out !!
There is so many of those Grackles, if I set a net from the corner of my house to a tree in the back yard , and those bird flew into it,they could move this house of its foundation ; ]
Have a good week my friend

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Love those Redpolls, they look like they have gone dipping in cranberries;) The Yellowhammer is one that I hardly ever compliment, if ever, and so I will now. What a lovely bird and the colouring contrast on the shoulders, upper wings is really pretty! Then of course, Little Owl, a treasure to behold! Have a great week Phil~

news said...

Hi Phil: Considering the number of Redpolls passing over Hilbre & then Heysham does this mean they go inland rather than follow the coastline Your blog is full of facts that make you think as well as brilliant photos.Best wishes JWB.

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