Friday, 10 February 2017

Siskins numbers increase, slowly

There hasn't been a great deal to report recently hence the lack of posts. The Collared Doves completed their nest and one of the adults was sitting when I checked it yesterday. While it is good to be able to report that this nesting attempt has got to the egg stage it hardly makes for a post on its own.

Decent numbers of birds are coming to the feeders in the garden although there has been a decrease in Goldfinches compared with the numbers seen in December and January. Siskins, on the other hand, are starting to increase with 5 or so visiting the garden each day now. Siskins are an irruptive species and I get very few in the garden in some years and loads in others, with last year being a particularly good year. This year looks like being a relatively poor year but there is plenty of time yet as the main period runs from now until mid-April.

Adult male Siskin 10/02/2017
I received a recovery report for one of last year's Siskins the other day which showed it had been controlled by Teifi Ringing Group in Carmarthenshire, South Wales at the end of January. This Siskin was ringed in the garden on 12th April last year and there is a chance it will turn up in the garden at a similar time this year as it works its way back north. Although they are a variable migrant they are known to return to the same sites in subsequent winters and when on passage and I have already retrapped a couple of birds that were ringed in the garden last year.

S144873               Siskin
Ringed                  12/04/2016  near Orrell, Greater Manchester
Caught by ringer   30/01/2017  Ffynnon, Llanfynydd, Carmarthenshire
Movement 201 km SSW, duration 293 days

The other significant news from the garden is the near total absence of House Sparrows this winter. I am lucky if I see one a week these days and sometimes the gap has been longer. I have probably seen Brambling in the garden more often this winter which is something I couldn't have imagined saying just a few years ago.

Female Brambling 10/02/2017.
A rare visitor to the garden but seen more frequently than House Sparrow this winter!

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