Sunday, 11 October 2015

Billinge: 5th-11th October

I haven't had any more Yellow-browed Warblers or dodgy Redpolls but it has been a very productive week. I have managed to get out on 5 mornings, including today, and it is fair to say that those early starts have taken their toll and I am feeling cream crackered as I write this. Highlights have included the continued passage of Goldcrests, some reasonable thrush movements and a few late-ish warblers.

The number of Goldcrests moving through this site continues to impress me with the 95 ringed this week bringing the total for the month to 162 and the total for the autumn to 447. Redwings and other thrushes started arriving early this autumn with the first big arrival on the east coast and northern isles happening on the 5th. It didn't take long for some of these birds to move across and down to the west side of the country and around 200 passed over the site on the 8th. Similarly there has been a good movement of Song Thrush in the last week with small numbers 'zipping' over the site each day. Song Thrush is often under-recorded as a passage migrant as they can be hard to pick out when mixed in with flocks of Redwings but at least 20 have passed through on each of the last 2 days. Warblers are thin on the ground now but there was a little flurry of Chiffchaffs in the week with 5 on the 8th being a good number for the date. Many of the Blackcaps caught in recent weeks have been carrying a lot of of fat and one of the birds ringed today was probably the heaviest bird I have handled this autumn and weighed 22.2 g which could give it the range to reach Spain or Portugal in a single flight.

(Retraps and controls in brackets)
One of the Redwings still had some spotty juvenile feathers on the flanks suggesting it was from a late brood. It also had some juvenile median coverts..

One of today's Song Thrushes
The fat 22.2 g Blackcap is just over 5g heavier than the average weight of 17g.

Blow back the feathers of the upper breast and you can see the pinky-yellow fat bulging from the normally concave tracheal pit.
Coal Tits are very much in the birding news with an irruption of birds currently underway in Britain and on the continent. A couple of high flying birds were recorded today in addition to the one that was ringed.

A bobby dazzler of an adult male Lesser Redpoll. He will be a stunner in spring when those pale fringes have worn off the red feathers.

Looking at the forecast I could be seeing the sun rise a few more times next week although I may not have the time to appreciate it.

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