Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Mainly Chiffchaffs & Goldcrests

A ringing session at Billinge this morning produced 46 new birds and just 3 retraps. Chiffchaffs made up nearly half the total with 20 ringed and 2 retraps and became the largest catch of the species so far this autumn, if only by a margin of 2. The retraps had been ringed as juveniles on 18th & 23rd July and today was the first time either had been re-encountered. The post juvenile moult of this species is very slow and it would be interesting to know how far juveniles wander during this period.

Goldcrests were the 2nd most numerous species with 11 ringed and included the first adult to be caught this autumn. The number of Goldcrests ringed this month now stands at 69 and the total ringed since mid July has reached 118 so it looks like we are still on for a bumper autumn for this species.

Adult female Goldcrest
It is getting late now for both Whitethroats and Willow Warblers so catching 2 of each is worthy of mention. One of the Willow Warblers was an adult that hadn't quite finished moulting its primaries and just had a small amount of sheath at the base of the 2nd primary. This feather was probably fully grown rather than still growing and remaining feather sheath, that was visible at base, just needed to be shed.

Whitethroat 14/09/16
There was a bit of movement overhead that included a trickle of Meadow Pipits, a few pulses of Swallows, at least 4 Grey Wagtails and a single Tree Pipit. Singles of Siskin were heard on 2 occasions as was a high flying Song Thrush and 3 or 4 alba Wagtails. There was certainly more to see and listen out for than of late giving it more of an autumnal feel even if the very high temperature suggested anything but.

Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 14/09/16 were: Goldcrest 11; Blue Tit 1; Great Tit 1; Chiffchaff 20 (2); Willow Warbler 2; Blackcap 6; Whitethroat 2; Robin 1; Chaffinch 1; Reed Bunting 1 (1).

Waxing Gibbous Moon - 95.5% of full.
There was a cracking moon tonight and I am sure large numbers of night migrants were taking advantage of the clear conditions. It wasn't quite full with the full moon being due on the 16th. It will be interesting to see if there has been a clear out of birds at Billinge tomorrow and if they have been replaced by any new arrivals.

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