Monday, 4 August 2014


I was keen to get back to Billinge this morning to see if the unsettled weather of the past few days had left any grounded migrants and to see if the return to clearer conditions would prompt a bit of passage.  A few Willow Warblers were calling on my arrival along with the odd Blackcap and Whitethroat but other than that it seemed fairly quiet in terms of warblers and somewhat similar to my last visit in that regard. I set up two 18m nets, one in the usual ride and another in a new net ride and initially set an MP3 lure playing Linnet.

Linnets and Goldfinches were blogging about as usual and a few were soon caught. There wasn't any indication of birds moving south until a couple of Meadow Pipits went through so I decided to play Meadow Pipit song on the MP3 player on the off chance that a few others may fly over. The next two birds heard and seen going south were actually Tree Pipits; always good birds to see around here and my first of this autumn. No more Meadow Pipits passed overhead but a few of the locally bred juveniles appeared from the adjacent grassland and 4 were caught. This bodes well for when Meadow Pipit passage does get into full swing next month.

Even though the Tree Pipits had long gone I decided to play the song anyway and on the next net round a Tree Pipit was found in the net. I assume this was a different bird but there is also a possibility that one of the birds seen flying over had U-turned and come down to feed. Whatever the circumstances it is the first Tree Pipit I have caught locally in a great many years and another good bird to add to the site's ringing list.

Pink legs and a short hind claw.

Tree Pipit, a fairly uncommon passage migrant in this area.
Ringing Totals (retraps and controls in brackets):
Linnet 7
Greenfinch 7
Goldfinch 5
Willow Warbler 4 (3)
Blackcap 4 (1 control)
Whitethroat 2
Chiffchaff 1
Long-tailed Tit 1
Reed Bunting 1
Meadow Pipit 4
Tree Pipit 1
Total 37 (3 retraps and 1 control)

If the wind drops this evening I may go back to see if any Swallows come into roost so there could be a late evening update.

Evening update
The wind dropped as forecast so I went back at 7pm and set up 2 nets. I played Linnet song on the lure initially which proved to be worthwhile as another 14 new Linnets were caught bringing the day's total to 21. I switched the MP3 player to Swallow as sunset approached but none came in to roost. A few Swallows did pass over and and 2 came down to investigate the lure and were caught but that was it. I didn't catch a single warbler which was unusual and suggested some had cleared out since I was there this morning. Still it was a worthwhile outing as I learned a bit more about the site and another 16 birds were ringed. 

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