When I went and topped up the feeders yesterday afternoon there were still around a dozen Bramblings present so I decided it would be worth trying another ringing session there this morning. I was joined by Wayne and Steve and we had a couple of nets up before sunrise. We retreated to a vantage point to watch for any birds coming in and it wasn't long before the first small group arrived and circled overhead. More birds joined them and soon there were at least 25 Bramblings which is a a really good number given the date. They all dropped down to the feeders and we expected a decent catch but the first check of the nets only produced 1 Brambling and 1 Willow Warbler. We did manage to catch another 5 Bramblings subsequently along with a couple of Chaffinches, a Chiffchaff and the first Blackcap of the spring but not as many Bramblings as expected given the number present.
|One of today's fine male Bramblings|
|One of 3 Blackcaps seen or heard at Longshaw today and the first to be ringed this spring.|
On the subject of Redpolls we have caught and ringed 91 in the past few weeks and now have them coming to feeders at 2 sites. The vast majority have been Lesser Redpolls as would be expected but we have caught 5 'Mealies' or Common Redpolls if you prefer. However there have been a few birds that have made us look twice because they almost seem to be intermediate between Lesser and Mealy in appearance. All of these birds look colder and greyer than a typical warm brown Lesser, especially when seen side by side. These greyer looking Lessers are not unusual in spring and presumably get these colder tones as a result of plumage wear although it is interesting that it doesn't happen to them all. This creates significant variation in appearance and I am sure it would be quite easy for some of these to get identified as Mealies.
|This Lesser had quite a pale rump, elements of pale tram lines on the mantle and greyish tones to the feathers around the ear coverts.|