Thursday, 7 August 2014

Forecast failure

The forecast for this morning was perfect - calm at dawn followed by a very light west to northwesterly breeze, decreasing cloud cover and no rain. When I got it up it was certainly calm but the leaden skies suggested some rain was possible. I decided to get ready anyway and just hoped the cloud would thin and break up. I headed off to Billinge and soon had a couple of nets up but I hadn't been there long before I felt the first few drops of rain. It didn't amount to much and soon stopped but the sky remained threatening. I carried on ringing, keeping a wary eye on the sky, knowing I could close the nets and pack up quickly should I need to.

The catching rate was slow in the dreary conditions but a trickle of Willow Warblers found their way into the nets and it was clear there were a few more around than there had been on my last visit but very little else. Odd spots of rain and brief light showers continued on and off  but a Tree Pipit arrived and was caught despite the unpromising conditions for such diurnal migrants. I decided to pack up early when more prolonged showers threatened but not before a Lesser Whitethroat was caught, my first of the autumn, and a stunner to boot. The forecast may have let me down but the birds didn't.

A freshly moulted adult Willow Warbler.
The second Tree Pipit for the site and hot on the heels of the first. I didn't notice with the first but Tree Pipits have really big eyes relative to the size of their head.
Lesser Whitethroat.
A scarce breeder and passage migrant in this area. This is the first I have ringed this year and is potentially a new species for the site.
Lesser Whitethroat, so good looking I had to show it twice.
Ringing Totals for 07/08/14 with retraps in brackets
Willow Warbler 10 (1)
Chiffchaff 1
Blackcap 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Linnet 3
Great Tit 2
Coal Tit 1
Long-tailed Tit 1
Robin 1
Tree Pipit 1
Total 22 (1)

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