Friday, 22 April 2016

Siskin and Chiffchaff recoveries and a Starling update.

Recent recoveries included the one and only Siskin controlled in the garden and it had been ringed near Loch Lomond last summer. It was aged as a first year bird when ringed so may have been reared in that part of Scotland.

Y281983 Siskin
Ringed        19/06/2015  Cnoc, Argyll & Bute.
Controlled   09/04/2016  near Orrell, Greater Manchester, 324 km south, duration 295 days.

I did manage to catch a few more Siskins in the garden on the 19th (7 new and 2 retrap) and they included the heaviest I have ever caught, weighing in at whopping 18.1g. There were at least 3 visiting the feeders yesterday but none were seen today so it looks like they have all finally headed back to the breeding grounds.

I also received details of a Chiffchaff that had been ringed on Billinge Hill last autumn and was controlled at the new bird observatory on Alderney, Channel Islands earlier this spring (link here).

JDH878  Chiffchaff
Ringed         03/10/2015  Billinge Hill, Merseyside.
Controlled    30/03/2016  Essex farm, Alderney, Channel Islands, 423 km south, duration 179 days.

My suspicions about the local Starlings were correct and quite a few pairs are feeding young now. More than 24 different adults have been recorded collecting food in the garden in the past couple of days so it is not just a case of the odd advanced pair. Last spring was quite cold and it was the beginning of May before this level of activity had been reached so this year's milder conditions have brought the breeding season forward by a good 10 days compared to last year. It will be interesting to see if Starlings have got off to a similar early start in other parts of the country.

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