Sunday, 16 September 2012

Frosty morning

Yesterday the moth trap produced the first Frosted Orange of the autumn. This attractive moth brightened up what was otherwise another poor catch that was mainly comprised of a few Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Characters and Angle Shades. A Rhomboid Tortrix posed for a quick snap and was the best of only 4 micros.

Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago)
Rhomboid Tortrix (Acleris rhombana)
Saturday's ringing effort started at Longshaw and finished at Scotman's Flash with a brief afternoon session at Haigh in between. Catches were modest but interesting nevertheless. There was a good passage of Meadow Pipits over Longshaw along a few Grey Wagtails one of which was caught and ringed. A Willow Warbler was a fairly late record for this species but the main interest was what wasn't there: very few Chiffchaffs; no tit flocks to speak of, no Dunnocks at all. Yes it is September. 
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cineria)
At Haigh Goldcrests were conspicuous by their absence save for one bird heard and caught. I caught 18 at this site in the first week of September and it will be interesting to see how numbers fluctuate as the autumn progresses and if any are retrapped. The good blackberry crop produced the goods with 6 Blackcaps ringed making the relatively brief visit worthwhile. A basking Small Tortoiseshell also added some photographic oportunities.
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
The day ended with a roost session in the reed bed at Scotman's Flash. At least 150 Swallows gathered and another decent catch was on the cards but the attention of at least 2 Sparrowhawks and a or 'the' Hobby had their impact with the Swallows reluctant to settle. The flock seemed to split up and settle in different areas with some birds only coming in really late. 26 Swallows were caught including another retrap from last year.

Today had been forecast to be a washout but the morning dawned dry with fairly light winds so I made the short walk to Longshaw again. I almost wish I hadn't as the bushes held even fewer birds than yesterday and there was virtually no passage. Two nets over 3 hours producing only 4 birds. Quieter than a quiet thing on a quiet day sums it up but it wouldn't be interesting if it was always the same or predictable. I could have caught more in the garden and subsequently did.

The overall ringing totals for the weekend in no particular order were:
Goldcrest 6
Chiffchaff 5
Willow Warbler 1
Great Tit 2
Blue Tit 2
Blackcap 8
Grey Wagtail 1
Greenfinch 3
Wren 1
Chaffich 2
Robin 3
Nuthatch 2
Reed Warbler 2
Swallow 25 (+1)
Goldfinch 3
Dunnock 1
Coal Tit 1
House Sparrow 1
Total 69 (+1)

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