Sunday, 9 November 2014

Slowing down

There has been a marked slowing down in visible migration over Billinge in the last couple of days and it is beginning to feel a bit more like winter. A few thrushes were still on the move yesterday and today with Redwings in high double figures and Fieldfares in the low hundreds on both days. Finch movement has all but stopped with just a few Chaffinches and Goldfinches going south. Lesser Redpolls have never really got going this autumn and are still very scarce with none seen yesterday and only one today. Goldcrest numbers have also dropped off with only one or two now being encountered.

Fieldfares and Woodpigeon
I tried getting some shots of birds flying across the face of the moon this morning but I always seemed to be ringing a bird when the best opportunities came or at least that is my excuse.

The number of birds ringed has reduced, as would be expected with fewer birds passing through, but the first Fieldfare of the autumn was caught yesterday and followed by another two today. It is always good to catch a Sparrowhawk as they don't find their way into the nets all that often so I was pleased to catch a male yesterday and doubly so to catch a different male today. The combined ringing totals for yesterday and today were: Redwing 15; Fieldfare 3; Goldcrest 2; Sparrowhawk 2; Lesser Redpoll 1.

Although Fieldfare are more numerous at the moment they are much more difficult to catch than Redwings.

Sparrowhawk number 1

Sparrowhawk number 2, a much more richly coloured bird.

It is that time of year when I start to check out the gulls on the local park to see if any are wearing rings. I didn't see any ringed gulls there yesterday but a fine drake Mandarin seems to have taken up residence.

The weather for next week looks quite interesting and there could still be a few more thrushes to come on the back of the south easterly winds that have been forecast. I may be being too optimistic about the forecast and the birds but I will be out and about now and again to find out.

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