Sunday, 6 January 2013

Retrap Manx Goldfinch highlights an unexpected bumper catch

I went up to Haigh again this morning and met up with John G. We put up 3 nets on what started out as a perfectly calm if slightly misty morning. The mist soon developed into fog which usually reduces catching rates as it makes nets much more visible but today, for some reason, the catches actually increased as the fog rolled in. This was also surprising given the very mild conditions of recent days.

By the end of the morning we had caught 110 birds which bucked the trend of recent visits and is around double the last catch. More than half were retraps which is to be expected at a regularly visited baited site come mid winter.

Retrapping birds is an important element of ringing and one of the retrap Goldfinches was also a control (ringed by others). We first encountered this bird at Haigh last January. It was originally ringed on the Calf of Man, a small island off the southern tip of the Isle of Man and a bird observatory for those of you who don’t know. It was aged as a 1J at the time of ringing which means it was a very recently fledged juvenile and hadn’t moved far from the nest. This makes it a Manx bred bird that has now been caught two winters running at Haigh. What we don’t know is where this bird spends the summer as a breeding adult. Does it stay to breed in the vicinity of Haigh or return to the Calf or elsewhere on the Isle of Man?
Manx ringed Goldfinch X211840 caught for the second winter running at Haigh.
A female and quite a dark individual for the species.

View Goldfinch X211840 in a larger map

Ringing totals for 06/01/13 with retraps in brackets.
Blackbird   1 (1)
Blue Tit   5 (15)
Brambling   1 (1)
Chaffinch   5 (2)
Coal Tit   – (5)
Dunnock   – (2)
Goldfinch   4 (3 + 1 control)
Great Tit   4 (12)
Greenfinch   21 (8)
Long-tailed Tit   - (6)
Reed Bunting   2
Robin   4 (4)
Wren   1 (1)
Total   48 (61 + 1 control)

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