Thursday, 13 July 2017

12th July 2017 - A bunch of Blackcaps

I only managed a 06:30 start at in the top willows at Billinge but I don't think I missed much as a result, at least I hope not. I set three 18m nets under clear blue skies and with only a light breeze blowing from the NE. The catching rate was better than expected for this early in the month and suggests it has been a fairly productive breeding season, especially when compared with the last couple of years. I packed up at 11:00 as the sun was shining on all the nets by then, making them much more visible, and before it got too hot.

The final total of 44 new birds and 2 retraps was mainly comprised of juveniles and included 32 warblers, 17 of which were Blackcaps. The two retraps were an adult male Blackcap that was originally ringed as a juvenile in July 2015 and a juvenile Blackcap that was ringed just over a week ago. The Blackcaps were mainly feeding on raspberries that grow wild near one of the net rides and most of them were caught in that particular net. This raspberry patch usually attracts and holds a good number of locally bred juveniles in July although 17 is more than I usually catch in one session.

Juvenile Blackcap

Juvenile Willow Tit.
Late June and July is the peak period for juvenile dispersal in this species and this is the 3rd to be ringed at the site in the last week.

Juvenile Treecreeper
July is also a time when the young of woodland species disperse and can be encountered well away from their usual habitat. 
There was some interest overhead with the highlight being a Crossbill that called loudly as it flew SW. A Siskin was also heard but not seen and a few Swallows seemed to be heading south. I wasn't in the best place to observe the Swallow movement but small groups appeared to motoring south from time to time; they certainly weren't the feeding flights of the local breeders.

Ringing totals for 12/07/17 (retraps in brackets) were: Blue Tit 2; Great Tit 2; Willow Tit 1; Goldcrest 1; Chiffchaff 5; Willow Warbler 10; Blackcap 15 (2); Treecreeper 1; Wren 1; Goldfinch 6.

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