Monday, 3 April 2017

1st to 3rd April highlights

1st April
A day of showers but a brief ringing session at Billinge during a dry interlude produced my first Willow Warbler of the year, a new Blackbird and a retrap Great Tit. At least 2 other Willow Warblers were recorded at the site along with a singing Blackcap (per CAD). On returning home I was greeted by another Willow Warbler that was singing in the gardens behind the house.

Willow Warbler 01/04/2017

2nd April
Totals for a longer ringing session at Billinge (using just 2 nets) were: 1 Common (Mealy) Redpoll, 3 Lesser Redpolls, a retrap Chiffchaff (originally ringed as a juvenile 24/07/16) and a retrap Willow Warbler (originally ringed as a first-year 23/07/16). There was very little in the way of visible migration but 3 Crossbills and a Sand Martin went north. A Wheatear was also seen leaving the site and heading off north.

Not the frostiest Mealy Redpoll but a Mealy nevertheless.

Mealy Redpoll (left) and Lesser Redpoll (right).
Back home a Red-green Carpet, 2 Caloptilia stigmatella and a Caloptilia elongella were the pick of the moth catch.

Red-green Carpet

Caloptilia stigmatella. Micros are not my forte but some are fairly easy to identify.

Caloptilia elongella. This species can be difficult to separate from Caloptilia betulicola but I am fairly confident this one is elongella.
3rd April
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for another session at Billinge were: Willow Warbler 1; Chiffchaff 1 (1); Blackcap 1; Lesser Redpoll 2. The retrap Chiffchaff was originally ringed as a first-year on 20/09/16. There was virtually no movement overhead despite the seemingly perfect conditions and just 1 Siskin and 2 Meadow Pipits were recorded going north during 4 hours of observation.

Female Blackcap. The feathers around the base of the bill were matted with pollen residue, a sure sign of a recently arrived migrant. 

The new Chiffchaff had relatively pale legs rather than the text book dark brown or blackish legs.

Back home the moth trap held a surprise in the form of a Water Carpet; a new species for the garden. Having run a moth trap in the garden for many years the catching of a new species has become an increasingly rare and sometimes less than annual event.

Water Carpet: a first for the garden!!!

All in all an interesting few days and a good start to the month.

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