We are just at the start of the main migration period for Tree Pipits and most will have gone through by the end of August so I want to get out whenever the weather looks suitable, even if it's only for a couple of hours. It is also the peak time for Willow Warbler migration so that just added to the incentive to get out this morning
Three Tree Pipits were caught in the first couple of rounds which was a really promising start but unfortunately none were caught or seen after that. A check of the rainfall radar on my phone showed that a band of heavy showers had developed to the north of the site and that may have been the reason they stopped moving.
|One of today's Tree Pipits was this cracking adult.|
While Tree Pipits didn't move through in any number the same couldn't be said for Willow Warblers. There didn't seem to be that many around at first but the final tally of 40 new birds and 1 retrap made it the hightest total recorded at the site. It all happened quite quickly with all but 1 being caught by 09:00. The retrap Willow Warbler was originally ringed as a juvenile in July 2014 and was caught again in April 2015 but not handled again until today.
|The tips of this Willow Warblers tail feathers had snapped off along the line of a fault bar.|
|A closer look at the tail. Fault bars are a line of weakness that can develop in feathers due to a shortage in nutrition when the feathers are growing. In extreme cases the feathers can snap along the line of weakness. There were 2 other similar examples in the Willow Warblers caught this morning.|
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 09/08/2016 were: Blue Tit 1; Great Tit 1 (1); Long-tailed Tit 1; Willow Warblers 40 (1); Blackcap (1); Whitethroat 3; Tree Pipit 3; Goldfinch 2; Reed Bunting 1 (1). Total 52 new birds and 4 retraps.