Sunday, 31 August 2014

'trivialis' pursuits

The weather has continued to put a spanner in the works over the last week with showers and blustery conditions restricting opportunities for ringing to just 3 early morning sessions including one this morning. This has really hampered the monitoring of Tree Pipit movements over Billinge for a second week and crucially when autumn passage normally peaks. On the plus side the showers have grounded some nocturnal migrants as can be seen from the ringing totals below.   

A rain curtailed session on the 27th produced 32 new birds and 1 retrap. There was a noticeable arrival of Robins with many heard ticking before first light and 6 were subsequently ringed. Tree Pipits also featured with 4 ringed from the 13 recorded going south. Goldcrests were more vocal than they have been and may have included birds on the move. Ringing totals were (retraps in brackets) - Robin 6, Chaffinch 7, Willow Warbler 5 (1), Chiffchaff 3, Goldcrest 3, Blackcap 1, Tree Pipit 4, Goldfinch 1, Reed Bunting 1, Yellowhammer 1.

The 28th was a quieter day with only 19 birds ringed. The previous day's Robins had moved on and warblers were few and far between. The only Robin caught was of interest because it was still in full juvenile plumage with no sign of post-juvenile moult so must have come from a very late brood. Tree Pipits continued to move in small numbers with another 6 ringed from a total of 9 recorded going south. Other birds going south were 2 Grey Wagtails and a trickle of Meadow Pipits. Ringing totals were - Tree Pipit 6, Chaffinch 4, Bullfinch 1, Chiffchaff 4, Willow Warbler 2, Blackcap 1, Robin 1.

A very late spotty juvenile Robin (Erithacus rubecula).
This morning (31st) was affected by a few brief light showers but saw a marked increase in Willow Warblers with 13 ringed; the only other grounded migrants of note were 2 Redstarts and a few more Robins. Visible migration was fairly limited but included 7 Grey Wagtails, 3 Tree Pipits, at least 35 Meadow Pipits and a trickle of Swallows. The weather brightened up as the morning progressed but so did the breeze and I finally packed up at 12:30 having ringed 50 birds - Grey Wagtail 2, Tree Pipit 1, Meadow Pipit 10, Willow Warbler 13, Chiffchaff 4, Goldcrest 1, Blackcap 1, Whitethroat 1, Redstart 2, Robin 4, Chaffinch 8, Goldfinch 1, Jay 2.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea).

Adult Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus). A rather pale bird with very little yellow and probably of northern origin.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula). Arrivals of migrant Robins are easily noticed at this site due to the nature of the habitat and limited number of resident birds.

Adult female Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus).
The first of the autumn and the first I have caught locally.

Juvenile Male Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus).
Caught in the same net round as the female above.

Juvenile Male Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus).

Adult Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis). The only bird caught today but it brought the total ringed during the month to 51. This total would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago.

Adult Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis).
The weather is set to improve next week and it will be interesting to see what impact this has on Tree Pipit movements. If a significant number of birds have delayed their migration due to the unsettled conditions it should become apparent over the next few days. Upsurge in numbers or not I will be sure to let you know in due course.

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