Friday, 7 October 2016

Billinge: 3rd to 7th October 2016

The ringing site at Billinge came into its own this week with the first significant arrival of Redwings on the 3rd. The site is a magnet for these birds as they move across and down through the country with birds usually arriving from the north or east or somewhere in that quarter and then heading off south. Estimates and partial counts (I was busy ringing) of Redwings moving overhead were 700+ 3rd, 600+ 4th, 120+ 5th, 400+ 6th and 200+ today. These numbers are fairly small by Billinge standards but then it is early days and the really big arrivals of migrant thrushes are yet to come. The 173 ringed over the period is a great start and certainly kept me on my toes.

Good numbers of Song Thrushes have been associated with the movements of Redwings with up to 20 recorded but the true number could have been higher on some days (again I was busy ringing). Most of the birds caught have been greyer continental birds, as is the norm at this time of year, and like the Redwings most are heading to wintering grounds much further south in France or Iberia.

Continental Song Thrush
Other thrush interest came in the form of a few Blackbirds that included 2 likely continental birds on the 6th (both had long wing lengths). Single Ring Ouzels were also noted yesterday (6th) and again today. Today also saw the first 2 Fieldfares of the autumn heading south.

Goldcrests continue to move through the site in reasonable numbers and in distinct waves judging by the number ringed over the five days. There is no indication of any influx of continental Goldcrests as yet so these movements involve birds originating from the local area or further north in the UK. The 20 Goldcrest ringed today brought the total ringed so far this month to 100 which is a fantastic total with most of the month still to go.

Ringing totals 3rd to 7th October 2016
I don't catch many Jays but one of yesterday's was one on the most vicious I have ever handled; it took lumps out of me. The other was a little less bitey but till made its presence felt in terms of pounds per square inch with its bill.

A very bitey Jay

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