Sunday, 12 October 2014

Fog and more fog

What had looked like being a very promising weekend was marred by fog yesterday morning and again today. Fog leaves very fine water droplets on mist-nets making them easier to see and even if the water droplets aren't too much of a problem the nets are just more visible in the grey conditions. On arrival at Billinge on both mornings the fog wasn't that thick at first so I set up a couple of nets but the density of the fog did vary a lot and localised clearances came and went. Conditions generally improved from mid morning on both days with the fog eventually clearing to leave gorgeous afternoons.

A few migrant Song Thrushes, Chaffinches, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings were moving about despite the conditions, especially when the fog partially cleared. Some Goldcrests seemed to have been grounded overnight as none were seen or ringed yesterday and 11 were caught this morning. Similarly a Blackcap was probably new in overnight. A Stonechat that was present yesterday couldn't be relocated today so had presumably left in the clear conditions last night. Pink-footed Geese were moving in some number on both days but especially today. Those that could be seen were flying west although most were only heard through the murk.

Song Thrush.
Looking at the weather forecast more migrant Song Thrushes should be moving through in the nest few days and we should also see the first big arrivals of Redwings and Fieldfare.

All the Song Thrushes caught were continental birds being more olive on the back.
Male Chaffinch.

Male Reed Bunting

Female Blackcap,
Probably a late departing summer visitor rather than a newly arrived winter visitor.
The final ringing totals were quite good considering the conditions. There were a few blank rounds because the nets were very visible at times but overall it was worth sticking it out on both mornings.

Combined ringing totals for 11th and 12th October with retraps in brackets.
Chaffinch 39
Goldfinch 4
Linnet 2
Reed Bunting 3
Tree Sparrow 1
Song Thrush 6
Goldcrest 11
Blackcap 1
Meadow Pipit 1
Coal Tit 2
Long-tailed Tit 1 (3)
Willow Tit (1)
Total 71 (+4 retraps)

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