Monday, 9 November 2015

Early November ringing update

The weather has been less than ideal at Billinge so far this month with fog affecting the first few days followed by increasingly unsettled conditions with bands of showers or rain and a strengthening wind. I have been out whenever possible and ringed a good few Redwings and Goldcrests despite the weather but far fewer than would have been the case without the fog in particular.

The total of 205 birds ringed so far this month is made up as follows: Redwing 122; Fieldfare 8; Song Thrush 4; Blackbird 3; Wren 4; Robin 2; Goldcrest 47; Blackcap 2; Chiffchaff 1; Chaffinch 3; Goldfinch 1; Lesser Redpoll 6; Reed Bunting 1. A good proportion of the Redwings were caught during the worst of the foggy conditions (1st to 3rd) and I was surprised that any thrushes pushed through at the site given the very poor visibility. The fog had a much bigger impact on Goldcrests and very few were ringed until visibility improved on the 4th when 20 were caught (19 new and only 1 retrap). Another 13 were ringed the following day but numbers then tailed off as the weather became increasingly wet and windy.

Any warblers caught at the site in November are noteworthy so a male Blackcap (1st), an adult Chiffchaff (3rd) and a female Blackcap (5th) deserve specific mention. Neither of the Blackcaps were carrying much fat so could well be arriving winter visitors and the Chiffchaff may also be a bird that will winter somewhere in the UK rather than migrating to warmer climes.

It looks like the unsettled weather is set to continue for the rest of the month so opportunities to get out could be at a premium to say the least; however, I still think there could be a few more birds to come down from further north and there is certainly only one way to find out. 

There were some big movements of Fieldfares during the first few days of November but only a few passed over Billinge because of the persistent fog that affected the area.
Redwing, a speciality of the Billinge site with close to a thousand ringed so far this autumn.

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