Saturday, October 17, 2015

Thrushes Again

The objective this morning was a catch of migrant thrushes, hopefully a good few Redwings plus a few of their close relatives Blackbird and Song Thrush. While we all know that Redwings are the main October movers their huge arrivals and those of Fieldfares often disguise the fact that northern Blackbirds and Song Thrushes arrive at similar times. 

I met Andy at 0645 and in the dark we set a couple of nets and waited for the thrushes to arrive. By 1145 our catch of 37 birds comprised of more than 50% members of the thrush family. Our totals: 17 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 4 Coal Tit, 4 Blue Tit, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Wren, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Sparrowhawk , 1 Treecreeper. 



Both Redwings and Fieldfares were much in evidence this morning. Flocks of each began to arrive from the north, north-east and north-west soon after dawn. Although mostly busy with ringing our watch gave approximate counts of 500 Redwings and 650 Fieldfares. We didn’t manage to trap any Fieldfares even though flocks of many dozens landed briefly on site to take advantage of the rowan and hawthorn berries. We were however more than happy to catch and examine 17 Redwings, only one of which was an adult. 

A first year bird shows notches of cream tips to the tertial feathers, an adult does not. 

Redwing - first year

Song Thrush



To catch a Sparrowhawk was not totally unexpected, perhaps overdue being the first one caught here since commencing ringing here almost 12 months ago. It’s not the Sparrowhawk’s bill that ringers have to be careful to avoid but the talons. And in this case there is less to fear from the talons of a juvenile male than the larger and more aggressive female of the species. 




In the week I noted that an observer of migration in the Pennines asked “Where are all the Chaffinches”. You may well ask Bryan because the species movement this morning was all but non-existent with not a single Chaffinch caught - most unusual at this time of year when huge numbers of British Chaffinches head south and west. Maybe it has more than a little to do with the poor breeding season?

Our finch quota today was well below par with just two Lesser Redpoll and a single Goldfinch. 

Lesser Redpoll

Log into Another Bird Blog soon for more news and views of birds.

Linking today to Anni's Birding .


Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant close up photography Phil.

Wally Jones said...

Sounds like a good day afield! You achieved your goal of ringing thrushes and found other good birds as well. Can you imagine the damage a Kestrel could do if it was the size of an eagle? Gini describes them as "all attitude".

Are reports of a dearth of finches similar from other areas? I wonder if it's an actual lack of birds or if they may have selected a different route? Of course, it's likely no coincidence if the breeding season was poor as you mentioned.

Another week is right around the corner already! Enjoy it!

eileeninmd said...

Great post and photos, Phil! The sparrowhaewk is awesome and I love the sweet Redpoll! Enjoy your weekend!

sandyland said...

what clarity with this camera so enjoyable like being there

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Nice captures and lovely cover.. Cheers..

Linda said...

They are all so lovely, Phil!

Gunilla Bäck said...

The hawk is a gorgeous bird! Nice close up of the talons.

Margaret Adamson said...

great close ups of the birds. I saw redwing on Islay yesterday and over 20.000 Barnace Geese.

Anni said...

Oh my gosh, these are all so incredible. Those talons! Yes out for those. Beautiful images, your narration is always so informative AND educational! And the total netting and ringing....that too is incredible. So many. Good catch! Both in numbers AND photos Phil.

Stewart M said...

Nice to catch up with some of these winter thrushes.

I know what you mean about noisy hides at Leighton Moss - I used to drop in on the way home from work and generally avoid the place on the weekends. Although if the truth be told, I would go when it was at its most crowded if it was still on the way home!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

David Gascoigne said...

Great job, Slademeister. The other day I was helping Ross do some banding when Kevin came down with sciatica and couldn't handle it. At one point within about forty-five minutes we had 29 Myrtle Warblers, 5 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet and a Nashville Warbler. We were busy!

jandi said...

Wonderful photographs! The sparrowhawk is stunning!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I don't think I've ever seen a thrush!

carol l mckenna said...

Excellent birding photography! Love the sparrow hawk and the other little bird 'peaking at you' ~

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

mick said...

Beautiful detailed photos. Those talons on the Sparrowhawk look lethal!

Katrin Klink said...

Beautiful pictures of gorgeous creatures!

K V V S MURTHY said...

Neat photos and info.

Mary Cromer said...

Oh I am so happy to have visited an older post and seen the close ups of that beautiful Sparrow Hawk. Gorgeous one~

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