Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Lesser Redpolls get going

In previous posts I have mentioned that a big irruption of Redpolls is on the cards for this autumn and I have even gone as far as suggesting it could be a whopper. It is not rocket science and, without going into the whys and wherefores, the signs have been stacking up since last autumn. Well those signs are now being reflected in my catches and counts of Lesser Redpolls at Billinge.

If I had to think of a favourite bird Redpolls would be on the short list.
Wonderful little birds.
I only ringed 25 Lesser Redpolls at Billinge last autumn and just 2 of those were in September but I have caught 66 so far this month with 49 of them being in the last few days. If today's ringing total of 22 is anything to go by catches could reach mid to high double figures and some counts could get into low 3 figures by the time we get to the peak movements in October. Obviously I could be counting my Redpolls too soon and this bubble could burst but I don't think that is likely.

1CY Lesser Redpoll
All the birds caught to date have been first year birds and a few have still been in full juvenile plumage so must have come from quite late broods. Most adults will still be undertaking their full moult and will start to move later this month or next month, once their new flight feathers are fully grown. Only one of the birds caught so far was already ringed and interestingly it was a bird I had ringed as a recently fledged juvenile on 11th July, 3 km away at Crawford. However many of the birds moving through are likely to have originated from further north in England or Scotland and hopefully I will get a few controls to confirm that in due course.

A few are still in full juvenile plumage like this bird.
Others are part way through the partial post juvenile moult but most have already completed it.
So Redpolls are likely to feature in my posts for the next few weeks if not longer and especially if we also get a good influx of Common (Mealy) Redpolls in October and through into November.

Combined ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 13th to 16th September were: Meadow Pipit 3; Grey Wagtail 4; Dunnock 1; Robin 4; Song Thrush 1; Whitethroat 2; Blackcap 9; Chiffchaff 22 (7); Willow Warbler 2; Goldcrest 27; Willow Tit 1; Coal Tit 1; Blue Tit 1; Great Tit 4; Chaffinch 8; Greenfinch 1; Goldfinch 35; Siskin 2; Lesser Redpoll 48 (1); Reed Bunting 2. Total 178 (8).

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