Monday, 24 February 2014

What a difference 2 days make.

I didn't have to wait long for the number of Siskins visiting the garden to reach 30. In fact it happened on Saturday when I counted a minimum of 32 shortly after first light, just 2 days after my previous post when the peak count was only 8. The garden is now filled with the chattering and nasal calls of these magic little birds for much of the day. They now outnumber Goldfinches most of the time but it is really hard to gauge overall numbers as both species seem to visit the garden in shifts. There will be numerous other feeding options in the area for them to choose from and they clearly take advantage of those from time to time.

One species I would like to attract into the garden this spring is Lesser Redpoll. They have started to use garden feeders more often in recent years but they have yet to follow that trend in my garden. Hopefully they will be attracted in by the Siskins and Goldfinches at some point this spring. Interestingly, I went down to Scotman's Flash this afternoon and there were 3 Lesser Redpolls on one of the feeders at the feeding station there so Redpolls with a taste for nyger are not far away from my garden. It was funny watching these Redpolls while a Cetti's Warbler was giving short bursts of song in the reeds behind them, both records would have been unheard of not that many years ago.

Both Siskins and Redpolls can produce some good long distance recoveries. Two of the Siskins I ringed in the garden last year were later recovered in northern Scotland. A fellow ringer who lives a few miles away controlled a Lesser Redpoll from Kent and a Siskin that had been ringed on Fair Isle in his garden last spring. He also controlled another Siskin that had been ringed near Great Malvern in Worcestershire. Hopefully our efforts this year will produce more information on the movements of these birds.

View 2013 Siskin and Redpoll recoveries in a larger map
Siskin movements in yellow and Lesser Redpoll movement in red.

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