Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A few more Tree Pipits

It was back to early starts at Billinge yesterday following a break that had been enforced by wet and windy weather. The first Tree Pipit was seen heading south at sunrise and the morning was punctuated by the calls of others passing over. A total of 19 were logged making it the best count of the autumn so far. Unfortunately a better movement didn't translate into more being caught and only 2 were ringed.

Tree Pipit
Willow Warblers put in a reasonable showing with 11 ringed but both Chiffchaff and Blackcap were present in lower numbers than is usual for late August. Blackcaps have been thin on the ground throughout August, after a very good showing in July, and some other ringers are also reporting lower numbers of Blackcaps than expected at their sites. It will interesting to see how the season pans out for this species.

Coal Tits are starting to get more vocal and mobile now and they can give the impression of being on passage but most probably don't go very far. The supporting cast of less frequently caught species included another Willow Tit (6th of the year) and more surprisingly another Nuthatch (3rd of the year).

Male Coal Tit
Willow Tit
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 23rd August 2016 were: Blue Tit 1; Great Tit 2 (2); Coal Tit 2; Willow Tit 1; Chiffchaff 1 (1); Willow Warbler 11; Blackcap 3; Whitethroat 2; Nuthatch 1; Robin 1; Tree Pipit 2; Chaffinch 7; Bullfinch 1; Reed Bunting 1. Total 37 new birds ad 6 retraps.

This morning started off a bit breezier than expected and it forced me to set the nets in a different configuration and further apart than usual to get the best shelter from the north westerly breeze. The extra walking between the nets and rapidly rising temperature made for a real Betty Swollocks of a ringing session. The breeze did drop off a bit as the morning went on but by the time it did it wasn't worth moving any of the nets back to the usual setup so I just had to sweat. 

There were fewer Tree Pipits on the move with a total of 10 recorded but more found their way into the nets and 5 were caught. It seems the Tree Pipit gods have limited me to a maximum catch of 5 in any one session this autumn, regardless of how many are moving through or how much effort I put in. That is the way it goes sometimes but I have still managed to ring 38 so far this month and I will keep up the effort until passage fizzles out.

Tree Pipit
The remainder of the catch didn't include any real surprises although the juvenile Tree Sparrow is fairly unusual if not unprecedented for the site. Small parties of Tree Sparrows are occasionally recorded passing over in autumn but they are rarely tempted to drop in.

Juvenile Tree Sparrow
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 24th August 2016 were: Goldcrest 2; Great Tit 2; Chiffchaff 4 (1); Willow Warbler 7; Blackcap 4 (1); Whitethroat 3; Blackbird 1; Song Thrush 2; Dunnock 1; Tree Sparrow 1; Tree Pipit 5; Chaffinch 8; Total 40 new birds and 2 retraps.

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