Tuesday, 22 September 2015

More F F Fog

The forecast for this morning looked quite promising with a band of showers predicted to move through in the early hours and followed by a relatively clear and dry dawn. I expected this to result in a good movement of diurnal migrants over Billinge; however, my optimism was soon dashed when a misty early start deteriorated into a very foggy dawn. At one point visibility was down to around 200 metres and every time it looked like the fog was starting to clear more fog would roll back in.

It seemed like plenty of birds were itching to move and every now and then a few Meadow Pipits dashed through and gave a taste of what could have been had the conditions been better. Grey Wagtails weren't daunted by the conditions either and a total of 7 went south before the fog eventually cleared at around 10am. Other birds with itchy feet included a few Skylarks, Chaffinches, Lesser Redpolls, Siskins and Reed Buntings.

It was good to catch another 2 Grey Wagtails but without the fog I would have probably caught 4 or 5.

Grey Wagtails are easy to age with first year birds usually having 1 or more unmoulted greater coverts. This bird  had only replaced 1 greater covert and this feather stands out as being darker and fresher looking than the 9 unmoulted feathers.

It is getting late for Whitethroats now and this one could end up being the latest record for the site this year
The most unexpected sighting of the morning came when 2 Egyptian Geese headed north just after 10am. They really took me by surprise when I first glimpsed them out of the corner of my eye and they even caused me to lift my bins faster than usual.

Ringing totals were better than I had expected given the foggy conditions but fell short of what I had hoped for in terms of numbers if not variety. The Woodpigeon was a nestling from a nest I have been watching for several weeks now. The nest is only 4ft off the ground in a hawthorn bush and is the lowest Woodpigeon nest I have ever found.

A well fed Woodpigeon nestling.
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 22/09/15 were: Woodpigeon 1; Meadow Pipit 2; Grey Wagtail 2; Dunnock 1; Wren 2;  Robin 1; Whitethroat 1; Chiffchaff 4 (1); Goldcrest 6 (2); Chaffinch 3, Goldfinch 1; Linnet 1, Lesser Redpoll 1; Reed Bunting 2. Total 28 new birds and 3 retraps.

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