Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Fat Yellow-browed

With the showery conditions of the last few days moving away there was an opportunity to get out to Billinge this morning. The session was brief as I had other commitments from 09:30 but it still gave me a couple of hours of ringing in largely clear conditions with a only light NNW breeze. There weren't many thrushes moving with most of the 15 Redwing and 4 Song Thrush caught being birds that had probably roosted nearby, and what movement there was mainly involved Woodpigeons with around 500 heading south although at least 80 U-turned and came back north.

With the influx of Yellow-browed Warblers seemingly well past its peak the chances of catching another seemed to have diminished significantly, although I was still hopeful. Well that bit of wishful thinking turned into reality when one was captured, along with a Goldcrest and a Coal Tit, on the penultimate net round. On extraction it felt quite chunky and when it was processed it weighed 8.4g and had a fat score of 5 which suggests it had been feeding up for quite a few days, and presumably somewhere nearby. When I got home and put the details into the IPMR ringing database it flagged up the weight as being outside the expected upper limit of 8.0g, although that limit will probably have been based on data gathered prior to the big influxes of the past few years. The other Yellow-broweds caught at Billinge this autumn weighed 6.6g and 6.1g so this latest bird was carrying at least 2g of fat which could give it a significant flight range for the next stage of its journey, perhaps as much as 1,000 km or more. Its next stop could easily be somewhere in southern France, a favourable wind and fair weather permitting.

The wing and tail length of today's Yellow-browed Warbler indicated that it was a male.
With the wind set to turn easterly again from Friday I will continue to allow myself a bit of wishful thinking and perhaps another Yellow-browed or something a bit scarcer may just come my way. 

Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 19/19/2016 were: Goldcrest 7; Coal Tit 2;  Yellow-browed Warbler 1; Blackbird; 1 Song Thrush 4; Redwing 15; Bullfinch (1); Lesser Redpoll 1.

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