Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tree Pipits

My ringing site at Billinge proved to be a fantastic location for Tree Pipits last autumn (133+ recorded and 57 ringed) and it is now starting to look like it is a good site for the species in spring too. The first was a flyover recorded by CAD on the 12th and then I had another 2 yesterday. This morning I found a group of 3 feeding together before they left to the north and another 2 singles were heard and seen flying over a little while later giving a total of 5 for today.

I could have easily missed the 3 feeding birds if had I taken a slightly different route. In fact the way they were creeping through the grass it would have been very easy to walk past them had they not been right in front of me. They were surprisingly confiding and didn't move far when some dog walkers came past with a group of boisterous Labradors. The birds perched up in trees and preened in between bouts of feeding and one even uttered a bit of sub-song.

Note the short hind claws.

The short hind claws and pink legs also show well in this photo and the photo above.

Record shot of 3 Tree Pipits with a Meadow Pipit. Top 2 birds and the lower right bird are Tree Pipits, the lower left bird is a Meadow Pipit.
I did have a couple of nets up for a while this morning but only caught a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers. Interestingly one of the Willow Warblers was another retrap that was originally ringed last year. Of the 6 Willow Warblers caught at the site this spring 4 have been returning birds from last year which is really good to see.

Willow Warbler

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