Saturday, 9 April 2016

8th April 2016: Siskin Surge

Well I didn't have long to wait to find out which way Siskin numbers were going to go as I caught 41 in the garden today, so the simple answer is up and significantly so. I actually went to Billinge first thing this morning and put a few nets up there but I only caught 6 birds as there was nothing moving, apart from 1 Swallow north (I had been hoping for some Redpoll passage), so I packed up early and a good job too. I got home just before 10am and set the usual 6m net in the garden with the first Siskins being caught as soon as I stepped away from the net. I furled the net just before noon having caught total of 21 new and 2 retrap Siskins which is an excellent total for the garden.

I opened the net again for an hour late in the afternoon and caught another 14 new birds and 4 retraps bringing the day total to 35 new birds and 6 retraps which is a record Siskin catch for the garden. There was a broad mix of weights with some fairly light birds that were carrying very little fat but at the other end of the scale there were some whoppers including one at 17.2g which is the heaviest I have caught this spring and 5.5g heavier than today's lightest bird.

Another fine adult male Siskin
I also received two recovery reports for Siskins from the BTO during the afternoon. Unfortunately both birds had collided with windows but then the finding details provide useful information on the hazards birds face in addition to the information on movements.

Siskin S144588               28/02/2016 Orrell, Greater Manchester

Freshly dead (hit glass)   05/04/2016 Lochearnhead, Stirling, Perthshire, 334km NNW, duration 37 days

Siskin S144699               13/03/2016  Orrell, Greater Manchester

Freshly dead (hit glass)   29.03/2016 Morpeth, Northumberland, 195km NNE, duration 16 days

Recovery map to be added here in due course.

While this morning's visit to Billnge didn't produce many birds it wasn't without interest. I did catch my first 2 Willow Warblers of the year with one of them being a retrap from last year. A new adult Willow Tit was worth the visit on its own, such is the scarcity of the species these days, and a standardised set of photographs and extra measurements were taken as I usually do for this species. The other birds caught were a 2 new Chiffchaff and a new Linnet so not a bad little catch really and a good start to what turned out to be a brilliant day.

Willow Warbler 08/04/2016

Willow Tit 08/04/2016

Female Linnet 08/04/2016

9th April 2016: Siskin Update
I didn't think I would be able to open the net in the garden as it was too sunny but increasing cloud cover provided two brief opportunities in the afternoon (there was a useless sunny slot in between that caused me to furl the net for a couple of hours). There were plenty of Siskins around and another 23 were caught (20 new birds, 2 retraps and a control). The retraps didn't include any of the birds ringed yesterday and one had been ringed in the garden on 29/03/16 and the other 2km away at Billinge Hill on 13/09/15. The latter being quite surprising as it is the second Billinge bird to turn up in the garden this month from only 19 ringed there last autumn. The control was a male and the ring was from a fairly old sequence (Y281---) so it will be interesting to see when and where it was ringed.

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