Saturday, 5 October 2013

A mixed bag

I went to the ringing site at Longshaw this morning as I thought there could be a bit of finch passage and there should be a few Chiffchaffs and crests around. I wanted to be set up by first light but was late as usual and 2 Lesser Redpolls flew over just as I finished putting up a 60ft net. The plan was to lure birds to the net by playing songs from 3 MP3 players and I started off playing Redpoll, a warbler / Long-tailed Tit mix and Linnet.

Willow Tit

female Goldcrest

Feathers blown back to reveal the orange crown of a male Goldcrest

A few birds were attracted almost immediately with 2 Chiffchaffs and singles of Linnet, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Willow Tit being caught. Overhead there was a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits heading south along with a few Skylarks. A few Chaffinches were also on the move and 5 Swallows were noted but there was very little else. Ringing tailed off mid-morning but final tally of 26 new birds a 1 retrap wasn't bad considering only 1 net was used.

Ringing totals for Longshaw 05/10/13 (retraps in brackets)
Chiffhaff 6
Goldcrest 4
Wren 1
Blackcap 1
Robin 1
Dunnock 1
Blue Tit 6
Great Tit 2
Willow Tit 1
Coal Tit 1
Long-tailed Tit (1)
Lesser Redpoll 1
Linnet 1
Total 26 (+1)

On getting home I checked the moth trap. There hasn't been much of interest for a while but with some good migrant moths turning up at coastal sites there is always a chance. There were a few migrants in the trap but nothing special, just 2 Silver Ys', a Diamond-backed Moth and a very worn Rush Veneer. A very fresh Red-green Carpet brightened things up but then I noticed a moth called 'The Streak' on the side of the trap. This is not a migrant or rare moth but is one I rarely catch and is only the second I have seen. It has a widespread but patchy distribution as the larval food plant is broom.

Red-green Carpet

The Streak
As the wind was still light I put a net up in the garden in the afternoon. Goldfinches are still eating me out of house and home so I expected to add a few more to the total. A couple of hours later another 16 new Goldfinches had been ringed. Most were juveniles in various stages of the partial post juvenile moult but one had almost undergone a complete moult having replaced its tail and most of its flight feathers. This bird was presumably from an early brood. Such an extensive moult is very rare in juvenile Goldfinches from the UK and is more typical of birds from southern Europe.

Note the new glossy black primaries contrasting with browner and slightly
worn outer 2 juvenile primaries. If this had been an adult that had
 suspended its moult the unmoulted feathers would be much more obvious
 and would be heavily worn and bleached.

Juv Goldfinch detailed in the text and photo above.
Note the rounded adult type tail feathers.
Ringing totals for the garden 05/10/13 (retraps in brackets)
Goldfinch 16 (1)
Chaffinch 2
Greenfinch 2
Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 1
Dunnock 1
House Sparrow (1)
Total 23 (+2)

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