Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chaffinches Lead The Way

I tried another ringing session out on Rawcliffe Moss this morning. On Sunday Goldfinches made up a good proportion of the catch. Today it was the turn of the Chaffinches to come good with a less busy morning and catching at just a steady rate which yielded finches only - 20 Chaffinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll and 2 Goldfinch. 

Later the IPMR database showed 152 Chaffinch caught at this site so far this autumn, the number comprised of 134 (88%) juveniles and 18 (12%) adults. The ratios are very much in line with those of the last two autumns here - see Those Chaffinch.

Chaffinch - male

Chaffinch - female

The morning started frost again, cold and clear, the type of weather where it is hard to spot birds moving high overhead even though some of their contact calls are audible. Lesser Redpolls were the early movers today, the earliest birds soon after dawn and a minimum of 15+ birds until 1100. In contrast, although starting much later than usual the Chaffinch movement remained steady with approximately 60+ birds throughout the same period. 

Lesser Redpoll

Other visible migration, 2 Grey Wagtail, 12 “Alba” wagtail, 5 Reed Bunting, 18 Meadow Pipit, 2 Siskin, 2 Blackbird. Good numbers of Pink-footed Geese moving about in all directions this morning, no doubt unsettled from feeding by the surge in farming activity due to the unaccustomed spell of dry weather. “Otherwise” birds - 12 Snipe, 140 Lapwing, 2 Jay, 3 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker. 

Pink-footed Geese

Just 2 Jays today - probably local birds. Following a poor acorn crop there has been a large influx of Jays to the UK from Continental Europe this week, with literally thousands of Jays arriving in the east and south east of England. While a few of those individuals may have reached the west of the UK, it is also likely that our resident Jays are moving about the countryside in search of food if the low acorn harvest is replicated here. 


The Jay is one of the most important natural planters of acorns with the distribution of several oak species somewhat dependent on the birds’ presence. In autumn and winter large numbers of acorns are brought back to Jay territories and hidden for future retrieval. It has been estimated that a single Jay could bury up to 3000 acorns in a single month, not all of which are found by the birds when they later look for them - hence the growth of oak saplings.  

More soon from Another Bird Blog. Stay in touch.


Carole M. said...

the chaffinch is a sweet bird, but to the Jay and burying the acorns; no squirrels around to go dig them up too? Interesting habit I hadn't heard before.

Gail Dixon said...

Gasp! The shot of that jay is incredible! What kind of jay is it? I've never seen one like that. Yowzers!

Unknown said...

Great shots and that Jay is really coloutful. Got into your site using your URL and a microsoft browser. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The Jays there are just so magnificent...love them! Now then, if you want, we can do one of 2 things...I can ship you half of the hundreds, make that thousands of acrorns I have on my 2acres, or..., you can ship me a few of those hungry Jays...either way, I think it would cost a fortune, so we best just hope they all make it as well as possible~

Gary Jones said...

Thats a great shot of the Jay Phil. saw lots of Pink foots coming over while I was at Meresands last week.

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