Saturday, 12 April 2014

Lesser is more.

My body clock woke me up at 5am this morning so I decided to get up and see if any birds were on the move and Redpolls in particular. I went to my usual watch point near home and put up a single net and set the MP3 going with a view to luring in any Redpolls that may be passing overhead. Although the conditions seemed reasonable there was virtually no sign of any northbound visible migration. The sky was almost empty save for the usual morning southbound commute of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a few Woodpigeons blogging here and there and the like.

Undaunted I decided to stick it out for a while and started to log everything seen or heard on the BirdTrack app on my phone. After about an hour I heard the distinctive flight calls of Redpolls and a couple of birds dropped in, both of which were caught. The birds were duly ringed and were released together so they could continue their migration with minimal interruption. Another 50 minutes passed and I was thinking about packing up when another group of Redpolls arrived from the south and this time 8 were caught. Again they were ringed and then released together. The idea of releasing them as a group in the way they were caught is to see if any of them remain together should they get caught again by ringers further north.

In general there was next to no visible northward migration apart from the groups of Redpolls (all Lessers) that were recorded, most of which were caught and ringed. Only 2 Meadow Pipits were logged along with a single Linnet. The alba wagtail that was heard was probably a local Pied and the few Goldfinches seen were probably commuting between gardens. Despite the lack of movement in general 19 Lesser Redpolls were caught from a minimum of 23 seen. One of these was a control (ringed elsewhere) so it will be interesting to see where that bird came from. Redpolls were certainly on the move today and probably on a fairly unobtrusive broad front so I am glad my body clock got woke me up after all. Anyway I may try again tomorrow, if it is not too windy, to see what if any difference a day makes.

Z019108 6M Lesser Redpoll

Z019110 5(unsexed) Lesser Redpoll

Z019118 5M Lesser Redpoll

Z019119 5(unsexed) Lesser Redpoll

D595550 5M Lesser Redpoll control

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