Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Win For Willy

With the disastrous summer we’ve struggled for a decent catch of birds all year but our luck changed this morning with an excellent mixed catch of warblers at Out Rawcliffe. Will and I met at 6am and by 1030 we’d managed a catch of 28 new birds following what appeared to be an overnight arrival of mainly Willow Warblers, possibly birds from Scotland, especially since we were hearing and seeing Tree Pipits too. 

Species and numbers caught: 16 Willow Warbler (3 adult and 13 juvenile), 2 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Tree Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff , 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Reed Bunting. Approximately 35/40 Willow Warblers were about the immediate area this morning, some of them visibly heading south when they left the plantation. 

Willow Warbler

With just a single Chiffchaff the morning clearly belonged to the Willys. 


We counted 6+ Tree Pipits over this morning, a figure which includes the two juveniles caught. 

Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit

The two Lesser Whitethroats were immaculate juveniles, the Common Whitethroat a juvenile in moult. 

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

It’s always instructive to catch a Reed Warbler in the trees, so reminding ourselves that birds don’t necessarily do what it says on the label. 

Reed Warbler

As the species isn’t proven to breed too locally and also scarce in the summertime we normally catch Lesser Redpolls in just spring or fairly late autumn and so do not see their moult patterns. This year I suspect a pair or two have bred very locally indeed, therefore catching a female in heavy moult reinforced the notion. 

 Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

A juvenile Reed Bunting in post-juvenile moult. 

Reed Bunting

Other birds this morning: Evidence of migration with 24 Snipe and 14 Golden Plover, otherwise less than five each of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and Chaffinch over, so no great finch movements as yet. Small number of Swallows in the area c40, but very little noticeable movement south. No raptors or owls this morning - most unusual, but then we were busy counting or watching Willys. 


Lew Newman said...

No Willys here - 9 Chiffs today, 8 juvvies just starting PJ moult and a mummy bird not long into her full moult. Best bird - GREWA.

El rincón de Ceditas said...

Como siempre magnificas!!!

Rohrerbot said...

Always in love with the Redpolls. It's been the same here with hummingbirds. Things are only now just starting to "warm" up with the bird counts. Normally the height of the season is towards the end of July. Great finds.

Russell said...

Nice to know things are improving. Really beautiful selection of portraits in this post. They'd be difficult birds in the field for me but your careful presentation is extremely helpful, Phil.

Russell said...

....Sorry, just wanted to add, that I wonder if the tally was good due to the absence of raptors, etc?

Chris said...

Hi Phil,
You will soon get birdies from Iceland. it looks like they are all gone or preparing to leave the country ;-)

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

The shots you are able to get are absolutely incredible! Love the sharp focus and details on each one.

Stuart Price said...

Nice selection of birds in the net there Phil. Wow the last time I saw a Lesser Whitethroat was about 30 years ago.........

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