Sunday, 9 October 2016

More Redwings and Goldcrests plus another Yellow-browed

A fantastic bird filled weekend at Billinge with 113 birds caught yesterday and another 120 today (including 1 control). Both ringing sessions were a bit longer than usual as birds continued to move throughout the morning. Redwings comfortably topped the totals on both days with 78 ringed yesterday and another 74 today. I had no time to count the flocks passing overhead but a very rough estimate of 1,000+ for yesterday and 900+ today were based on quick glances while ringing.

Redwings are fairly easy to age in the main but some are more of a challenge and a few seem to be down right confusing. This is because there is more variation in the salient features (greater coverts, tertials and tail) than the standard guides show and that is where some of the confusion lies, or at least I think so. I probably get to see more of this variation than most ringers so I have been taking photographs of their wings and tails, when there has been time, and will put together a post on the subject when I have gathered enough suitable material. So no images of Redwings today but plenty showing their wings and tails to come.

Goldcrest was the next most numerous species in the nets with 21 caught yesterday and another 28 today. One of today's birds was a control and had been ringed at Oxmoor, near Runcorn, about 17km south of Billinge, when on passage last October. The first obviously 'continental' Goldcrest was caught yesterday followed by two more today. Some 'continental' Goldcrests really stand out and are noticeably paler and brighter than our own birds. They are much greyer around the head and have a brighter green mantle and make our birds look a bit grubby by comparison. Good examples like the one in the image below are thought to originate from quite a long way east. A bit more reading on this can be found by clicking here.

'Continental' Goldcrest 09/10/2016. Well marked birds like this are thought to have a more easterly origin.

The 'continental' Goldcrest on the left is clearly that bit brighter and is much greyer around the head and neck. Also the mantle is greener and brighter. Generally a cleaner looking bird.
It was nice to catch another Yellow-browed Warbler today but hardly surprising given there are so many in the country at present. If anything it is more of a surprise that I haven't seen or caught more, especially now many are working their way west and south through the country. Anyway still a great bird and a delight, hopefully more will come my way in the coming weeks.

Today's Yellow-browed Warbler was a female based on wing and tail measurements, as was the previous bird.
So a great end to a great week and the prospect of more good days to come.

Ringing totals for 08/10/2016 were: Goldcrest 21; Blue Tit 3, Great Tit 2; Coal Tit 1; Chiffchaff 1; Blackcap 1; Blackbird 2; Song Thrush 2; Redwing 78; Chaffinch 1; Lesser Redpoll 1. Total 113 new birds.

Ringing totals (control in brackets) for 09/10/2016 were: Goldcrest 27 (1); Blue Tit 2; Great Tit 3; Coal Tit 1; Yellow-browed Warbler 1; Chiffchaff 1; Blackcap 1; Song Thrush 2; Redwing 74; Robin 1; Chaffinch 3; Bullfinch 1; Lesser Redpoll 1; Siskin 1. Total 119 new birds and 1 control.

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