Monday, 12 September 2016

Billinge: 11th September 2016

The forecast was for clear blue skies and a light south to southeasterly breeze and given we are approaching mid September a fair amount of visible migration was expected. While the weather forecast was spot on the visible migration failed to materialise. There was no southerly passage of Meadow Pipits, just a bit of random movement of a few birds (all presumably locals), and there was a complete absence of Grey Wagtails heading south or otherwise. It has been a relatively poor autumn for visible migration at the site so far, both in terms of numbers and variety, but the brakes should come off fairly soon.

Fortunately there was a bit more activity in the bushes and the 3 nets produced the best catch of Chiffchaffs this autumn with 20 ringed. At the other end of the scale less expected captures were a Spotted Flycatcher (3rd of the autumn and only the 4th in the last 3 years) and a Nuthatch (also 3rd of the autumn but 4th of this year).

One of today's 20 Chiffchaffs
Spotted Flycatcher 11/09/16
Spotted Flycatcher 11/09/16
The 6 Blackcaps caught included one that was still in scruffy juvenile plumage and must have fledged fairly recently. The relatively poor summer weather appears to have caused more late breeding than is usual in some species of warbler and I have seen more examples of birds in juvenile plumage this September than I have noted before.

Recently fledged juvenile Blackcap.
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 11/09/16 were: Goldcrest 3; Blue Tit 1; Great Tit 6; Coal Tit (1); Chiffchaff 20; Blackcap 6; Nuthatch 1; Spotted Flycatcher 1; Robin 1; Chaffinch 1; Greenfinch 1; Yellowhammer 3. Total 44 new birds and 1 retrap.

While I haven't posted anything on the blog since the 3rd I did manage to fit in quite a few sessions at Billinge in the meantime. Catches were much as expected with highlights being 4 Grey Wagtails (6th) and another 3 (7th) and single Tree Pipits (5th & 6th), although they were far from unusual for the time of year.

Grey Wagtail 06/09/16
Tree Pipit 06/09/16
This Tree Pipit had sheep's wool wrapped around the top of the foot. The wool was cut very carefully to prevent any further constriction and loss of circulation.
Combined ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for the period 4th to 10th September were: Jay 1; Goldcrest 25 (1); Blue Tit 2; Great Tit 3; Coal Tit 3; Long-tailed Tit 1 (4); Chiffchaff 31 (3); Willow Warbler 5; Blackcap 28 (1); Whitethroat 1; Blackbird 1; Robin 1; Dunnock 4; Grey Wagtail 7; Tree Pipit 2; Chaffinch 6; Bullfinch 5; Yellowhammer 5; Reed Bunting 5 (2). Total 136 new birds and 11 retraps.

Chiffchaff 05/09/16. Now and again a bird has a minute before flying off although most don't wait for the camera.

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