Friday, 8 August 2014

One, two, Tree,............ eleven Pipits

I was back at Billinge just after sunrise this morning and the forecast was bob on, a light east to south easterly breeze and full high cloud cover forming a milky sky. I tried a new net configuration and set out to try and catch more Tree Pipits if any were passing over. I had checked various reports last night to see when peak passage of Tree Pipits occurs in autumn and the likes of Bardsey Island Bird Observatory usually records a peak in the second half of August. As the breeding season has been a little earlier this year I suspected the peak movement may be a little earlier too so I thought today may be a good time to start testing this out.

The first couple of net rounds were really disappointing as no birds were caught, zero, nothing, a complete blank. It seemed the clear skies in the early part of last night had resulted in quite a clear out of warblers as few were calling from the bushes. At 07:00 I heard the first Tree Pipit going over but on the next net round only a Willow Warbler and a Yellowhammer were caught so it looked like I wouldn't be catching very much at all. However the following net round produced 2 Tree Pipits, a Willow Warbler and a feisty juvenile male Sparrowhawk. After that it got even better with 4 Tree Pipits caught in one net and another 3 walking around underneath. The flurry of Tree Pipits continued and by 09:15 a total of 11 had been ringed from an estimated 15 to 20 seen, a very good day total in anybody's book and in many county reports too.

Tree Pipit. Only a few hundred full grown Tree Pipits are ringed in the UK each year.
See online ringing reports here.
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivalis).
You could get really bored of seeing pictures of these birds if the rest of the month is as productive as I hope it is.
Juvenile male Sparrowhawk.
Juvenile Whitethroat, one of only a few warblers that were around.
If you had not already guessed I have become really hooked on Tree Pipits after today's success and following the 2 ringed earlier this week. Will today's total be repeated or even bettered over the remainder of the month? Have numbers peaked already? There is only one way to find out.....................

Ringing totals for 08/08/14 with retraps in brackets:
Tree Pipit 11
Whitethroat 3
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 1
Long-tailed Tit 3 (2)
Chaffinch 1
Yellowhammer 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Goldfinch (1)
Total 23 (3)

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