Friday, 2 September 2016

Billinge: 1st September 2016

The month got off to a good start with a total of 42 new birds ringed from 3 nets set in the top willows. The nets were up from 06:15 to 11:15 but most of the birds were caught by 09:00. Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs came to the fore and accounted for over half the birds caught with totals of 14 and 11 respectively.

In my last post I said that we could be heading for a bumper Goldcrest autumn and this catch would suggest it is still on the cards. This site is fantastic for Goldcrests and ringing has shown that far more move through in autumn than anyone had previously realised or even thought likely. A total of 312 were ringed in autumn 2014 and that increased to 702 last autumn with the help of the huge influx of continental birds that came in October.


Some of the Goldcrests caught this month will be of local origin but most will be from further north in England and from Scotland. While the continental birds can arrive in late September most big influxes don't usually happen before early October. 
It was good to see Chiffchaffs in better numbers after a below par showing through much of August. September is normally the best month for ringing this species and it will be interesting to see how it compares when we get to the end of it. We are well past the peak of Willow Warbler migration now and while the two that were caught are unlikely to be the last they could well be in the last dozen or so.

Chiiffchaff and Willow Warblers have been ringed in similar numbers over the previous 2 autumns but this year could see Willow Warblers come out on top by some margin.
The single Tree Pipit ringed was one of only two seen and again the peak movements for this species are behind us now but, like Willow Warblers, there could be a trickle for a little while yet. Meadow Pipit migration has not got going yet but it won't be long before it is in full swing, the local birds certainly seem to have itchy feet and the odd early migrant could be passing through. 

The rest of the catch was much pretty as expected for the date but the single juvenile Goldfinch was only a token representative for that species. There have been fewer Goldfinches around than is usual through August after the usual build up in numbers in July. It seems the birds have found better feeding opportunities elsewhere despite what appears, to me at least, as being the usual crop of knapweed and thistles across the site.

Ringing totals for 01/09/2016 were: Goldcrest 14; Coal Tit 2; Great Tit 2; Chiffchaff 11; Willow Warbler 2; Blackcap 2; Robin 2; Tree Pipit 1; Chaffinch 4; Goldfinch 1; Reed Bunting 1. Total 42.

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