Saturday, 9 February 2013

Spinus a yarn

Overnight rain gave way to a dreary damp morning but with no wind or rain to speak of the conditions were ideal for a garden ringing session. I put up one 18ft net and was quickly rewarded with 5 Siskins and a Goldfinch in the first catch. One of the female Siskins had a very slightly crossed bill.

female Siskin (Carduelis spinus) with slightly crossed bill.

adult male Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

Siskins numbers have built up over the last week and around 20 came down to the feeders along with a similar number of Goldfinches. Sunflower hearts are their preferred food at the moment but it is amazing how much they waste. They seem to pick through the sunflower hearts discarding the ones they don't want and only eating part of the others.

Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis).
Male left and female right. The male generally has a longer bill, more extensive and richer coloured red mask and black nasal hairs. The nasal hairs of the female are greyish white but are sometimes stained darker.
 A Fieldfare, which has been visiting the garden for almost three weeks now, blundered into the net when I went to extract a Greenfinch. This adult female has been getting through a daily ration of two apples. It has become a family favourite with everyone looking out for her each day.

adult female Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
I packed up after a couple of hours having caught 24 new birds and 1 retrap.

Ringing totals for 09/02/13 with retraps in brackets:
Siskin 16
Goldfinch 5 (1)
Greenfinch 1
Fieldfare 1
Long-tailed Tit 1

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