Saturday, 2 April 2016

Blackcap departs and Bramblings move through.

Regular readers of this blog may have become a little bored with posts featuring the birds in my garden and the Belgian-ringed Blackcap in particular. For me it was a case of the longer it stayed the more interesting it became and I was particularly keen to establish a last date for it as that would almost certainly be the date it set off on migration back to its breeding grounds. I can now report that it was last seen in the garden on 31st March and I am as confident as I can be that it has migrated rather than having disappeared for some other reason, such as being predated by a local cat or Sparrowhawk. This is a later date than I had expected but it should still get back to central Europe just ahead of the bulk of Blackcaps that winter around the Mediterranean basin and so have a better chance of securing and holding a prime territory.

Belgian-ringed Blackcap 31/03/2016
Belgian-ringed Blackcap 31/03/2016
Belgian-ringed Blackcap 31/03/2016
I still haven't received the details of when and where this bird was ringed so there will be another post when those details finally come through.
The 31st saw quite a bit of migration and it was good for those arriving as well as leaving. There was a noticeable increase in Chiffchaffs round and about and I even had one filter through the garden. There seemed to be a lot of Siskins on the move but the most unusual visitor to the feeders were 2 male Bramblings. I rarely get Bramblings in the garden and this is the first time I have seen more than one. Unfortunately they didn't stay for very long and I didn't manage to get any good photos of them.

A hastily taken and rather poor photo of one of the Bramblings. The other male appeared to be an adult and was almost in full breeding dress. This is a young bird and still has extensive fringes to the feathers of the head and mantle that have yet to wear off to reveal the glossy inky black of the male breeding plumage.

There were at least a dozen Siskins at the feeders early on the morning of the 31st but some seemed to be drawn away by others going north overhead as the morning progressed. There has certainly been a drop in numbers since then.

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