Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bramble finch fest and a Waxwing too

I went to the baited site at Longshaw yesterday morning to top up the feed and was really encouraged by the number of finches present. At least 75 Chaffinch, Brambling and Greenfinch were present with roughly equal numbers of each making up the flock. Small groups were coming and going all the time making overall numbers difficult to gauge. With the forecast looking really good for this morning a productive ringing session was on the cards.

I met up with John G just before 7:00am and we had a 60ft and 30 ft net up just after first light. I put out an MP3 lure playing Redpoll and another playing Waxwing. There are no berries at this ringing site but I had brought a few berry laden sprigs of cotoneaster, hawthorn and rose hips and secured them in a willow bush by the 60ft net. This was more in hope than anything but you never know with so many Waxwings in the country, many of which are still on the move.
male Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
male Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

female Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)
Chaffinches and Bramblings started to arrive soon after first light and the first round of the nets produced 24 birds including 12 Chaffinches and 10 Bramblings; an excellent start. About half way through the morning I thought I heard a Waxwing call back to the MP3 lure while we were on a round of the nets. We couldn’t see any and we didn’t hear any more calls other than from the MP3 player so I put it down to wishful thinking. A little while later a party of 9 Waxwings appeared from the direction of the 60ft net. A quick check of the net found one Waxwing had been caught and what a stunner (as they all are). It was an adult but the sexing characteristics were within the overlap between male and female or were borderline.

Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Catching rates generally decreased as the morning progressed although there was a flurry of Greenfinches at the end of the morning including a control adult male Greenfinch. The ring number started TR6 - a sequence we have not come across before. The last net round also produced 2 more Bramblings bringing the morning’s total for the species to 20 new birds and 2 retraps (both ringed the previous weekend); a fitting end to a memorable morning.
Waxwing 1
Brambling 20 (+2)
Chaffinch 20
Greenfinch 16 (+2 includes 1 control)
Blue Tit 2 (+8)
Great Tit 0 (+3)
Dunnock 1 (+1)
Robin 0 (+1)
Total 60 new birds, 16 retraps and 1 control

At home the moth trap contained a Red-green Carpet despite it being a cold night and the lateness of the season for this species.

Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata)

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