Saturday, 1 November 2014

Mostly thrushes.

Many of the thrushes that arrived on the east coast in large numbers on Thursday (one account here) worked their way across the country and produced a good movement over Billinge yesterday and today. Large numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares flew south and probably numbered in the low thousands of each over the two days. There were few Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds mixed in but I was too busy ringing much of the time to do any detailed counts.

Migrating Redwings. You really have to see a large movement of thrushes to appreciate the spectacle.
Fieldfares and Redwings heading south.
The ringing totals for yesterday weren't as high as might have been expected given the volume of birds passing through. This was probably due to the large numbers of Fieldfares as they are much less inclined to drop in than Redwings and many of the Redwings opted to continue on with the Fieldfares as a result. Ringing totals for 31/10/14 (retraps in brackets): Redwing 33, Song Thrush 2, Blackbird 1, Goldcrest 13 (1), Long-tailed Tit 4, Coal Tit 1.

This Common Buzzard was also heading south and could have been a migrant rather than a local bird.
The ringing totals for this morning saw a marked improvement over yesterday's and that was almost certainly because there were less Fiedfares going over and many of the thrush flocks were just comprised of Redwings. Ringing totals for 01/11/14: Redwing 64, Song Thrush 2, Blackbird 2, Goldcrest 4, Long-tailed Tit 2, Chiffchaff 1, Lesser Redpoll 2, Yellowhammer 2.

Redwing 01/10/14. Looking its best against a blue sky.
Quite a few of the Redwings have been carrying passengers in the form of ticks.
Song Thrush are under recorded as a migrant as they can be hard to pick out amongst the hoards of migrating Redwings. I have ringed 40 at Billinge since 7th October and that will be a fraction of the number that have moved through over that period. I have seen at least double the number I have ringed and many more will have slipped through unnoticed.
Two stunning adult male Yellowhammers found their way into the nets today.
Migrating Lesser Redpolls continue to be few and far between.
This late Chiffchaff was the first for a while. It was quite fat and presumably a departing summer visitor rather than being one that may winter.
Large numbers of thrushes arrived in some of the northern isles yesterday (link here) so there should be plenty more moving south over the next day or two. Anyway I will be up early in the morning to find out.

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