Sunday, 22 November 2015

Billinge 20th & 22 November 2015

The 20th was quite windy with occasional light showers skirting past the site but it didn't deter birds from moving as might have been expected. Birds heading south included at least 70 Redwings, 90 Fieldfares and 180 Woodpigeons. It was harder to gauge what finches were doing but a few Lesser Redpolls seemed to be moving through the site and a flock of 70 Goldfinch, that paused for a short time, may well have been late migrants. It was far from good mist-netting weather but the lie of the land and the denser patches of the now largely leafless bushes provided just enough shelter for the nets. I didn't expect to catch much given the conditions so I was more than happy with the 25 new birds that were caught by mid-morning, when it became too windy and I packed up. Ringing totals were: Redwing 11; Goldcrest 2; Lesser Redpoll 11; Chaffinch 1.

In stark contrast the calm and overcast conditions of this morning were perfect for ringing but the first couple of net rounds didn't produce a single bird. Things picked up a bit as the morning progressed but it was slow going to say the least. There were very few thrushes around and hardly any moving overhead with only 15 Redwings, 4 Fieldfare and 5 Blackbirds seen all morning. In fact there was very little of anything moving overhead, with only a Snipe being of note, and really did feel as if autumn was finally over. I kept the nets open until lunchtime because the weather remained calm and largely overcast but the final total of 20 new birds and 1 control was less than expected and hoped for. Ringing totals were: Blackbird 1; Goldcrest 6; Wren 1; Lesser Redpoll 11; Goldfinch 1; Blue Tit (1 control). The control Blue Tit was probably ringed at Kings Moss, a couple of km away, as the ring number is similar to others that have come from that site.

Adult male Lesser Redpoll. It was interesting that there were no retraps from previous visits which suggests they are still moving through in small numbers.

A few Goldcrest continue to pass through the site but all of today's birds appeared to be of UK origin. The UK birds being a bit darker than their continental counterparts.

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