Monday, 7 September 2015

Mostly Chiffies and Crests

I was back at Billinge this morning after being away for a few days helping out at the Spurn Migration Festival. The weather was ideal for ringing, being calm and mainly overcast, and I had 3 nets up well before sunrise. The bushes were quiet and seemed to be largely devoid of birds but the first few net rounds showed otherwise and were surprisingly productive with a good number of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests being caught, along with a few Willow Warblers for good measure. One of the Goldcrests was a control (a bird ringed elsewhere) and it will be interesting to see where it has come from in due course.

Chiffchaff. This is usually the most numerous warbler in September by some margin with peak numbers moving through in the second half of the month.

This is the control female Goldcrest, HKK205. The details have been submitted to the BTO and I should get the recovery report with details of the ringing location fairly quickly.

Six Willow Warblers is a good number for the date.
Migration overhead mainly involved Siskins going south with small parties being seen or heard fairly regularly throughout the morning. I can't be sure how many Siskins went through but it was certainly in the region of a 100 birds at the very least. The first Lesser Redpolls of the autumn were on the move with 15 recorded and it seems highly likely that a great many more will follow in the coming weeks. Meadow Pipits were conspicuous by their near absence with just the occasional bird being noted. Meadow Pipit passage is usually well underway by now but has barely started and this may be due to the birds having bred later as a result of the cold spring. Similarly, only 3 Grey Wagtails were recorded which is well short of the number expected by this date. Other birds on the move were one Tree Pipit and a few Swallows.

The cold spring and unsettled summer may have also resulted in a poor breeding season for Meadow Pipits.

It certainly looks like there is going to be a major irruptive movement of Redpolls this autumn. It has been on the cards for some time and judging by the early and large scale movement of Siskins it could be a whopper.
There were only one or two Blackcaps around but several Whitethroats were noted in favoured blackberry patches. The best bird of the morning, in terms of local scarcity, was a Green Woodpecker which was heard calling a couple of times.

Ringing totals (controls/retraps in brackets) were: Swallow 1; Meadow Pipit 2; Robin 1; Chiffchaff 16 (3); Willow Warbler 6; Goldcrest 9 (1); Long-tailed Tit 2 (2); Coal Tit 1; Great Tit 1; Chaffinch 2; Goldfinch 1; Lesser Redpoll 8; Yellowhammer 1. Total 57.

The adult female Yellowhammer caught hadn't started moulting yet and may have only just finished breeding.

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