Saturday, 3 December 2016

Another Redwing recovery, 1011 ringed and a 'coburni' too.

Another recovery report for a Redwing landed in my inbox yesterday and gives further support to my view that most of the birds that migrate via Billinge in October and early November are heading for wintering areas much further south. While this movement isn't as quick as the recent recovery in Spain it still shows a good onward movement in the main migration period. It was almost certainly still on passage when recaptured on Guernsey and will probably spend the winter further south in France or Iberia.

RZ37675               Redwing      (first year)
Ringed                  12/10/2016   Billinge Hill, Billinge, Merseyside.
Caught by ringer   02/11/2016   Jerbourg, Guernsey, Channel Islands. 454 km S, duration 21 days.

Redwing passage appeared to have ended at Billinge by mid Novemeber, when the ringing total stood just under the 780 mark, but after a lull of around ten days there has been an upsurge in Redwing numbers/movements in the area that hasn't ended yet. This has resulted in another 232 Redwings being ringed at the Billinge and Crawford sites between 23rd November and today. Quite why this is is hard to say but a northerly (NW to NE) push of Redwings has been recorded at vis mig sites in Staffordshire and on the West Pennine Moors in the same period, including 3464 moving NW over Winter Hill on 29/11/2016.

I caught another 15 Redwings at Billinge this morning which brought the combined ringing totals for Billinge and Crawford to 1,011 and all since 3rd October; a good effort even if I do say so myself. I didn't take a photo of the thousandth Redwing but thousand and eighth certainly got my attention as it was a very obvious Icelandic Redwing, the first and perhaps the only one of this autumn. It didn't have a particularly long wing at 120mm but far too much is made of their wing length considering there is a huge overlap between the two races. The real indicator is their much darker appearance, not their wing length.

If a Redwing as dark and as well marked as this doesn't get your attention I don't know one that will.

The legs and toes were quite dark, although not as dark as some 'coburni', but darker than most 'iliacus'.

Strongly marked undertail coverts seem to be a feature of Icelndic birds. While the tail itself is broad and quite rounded there is plenty of wear.

A very obvious moult limit with 4 ogcs'; old tertials are present too. There is no doubt that this is a first year bird.

While on the subject of Redwings I will be updating the Redwing ageing page fairly soon. Any new information/images will be tagged on at the end and labelled as an update to make them easier to find.

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