Sunday, 3 September 2017

2nd is better than 1st

The ringing session at Billinge on the 1st was good but the 2nd's proved to be even better. It was similar in many respects but had the added bonus of some infrequently caught species in the form of 2 Redstarts and a Spotted Flycatcher. Both are scarce passage migrants in the area these days and I consider myself lucky if I catch one or two of each over the autumn. The 2 Redstarts brought this autumn's total to 5 which is exceptional as I have never caught more than 2 in previous years and the Spotted Flycatcher was the second of the autumn. Interestingly, the Spotted Flycatcher was caught in the same part of the same net as the previous one and while no more than a coincidence such 'deja vu' type occurrences always stand out and stick in one's mind.

Both Redstarts were 1cy females.

1cy Spotted Flycatcher. Only the 6th to be ringed at the site in the last 4 years.
Once again Goldcrests dominated proceedings with most of the 23 new birds and single retrap being caught in the first couple of hours. The retrap wasn't from the previous day as some might expect and was originally ringed on 13th August when part way through its post-juvenile moult. At this time of year there are frequent movement of Goldcrests through the site and it is rare for any to hang about for more than a day once they start moving.

Chiffchaff was the second most numerous species with 14 new birds and 1 retrap being caught and while numbers were down on those of the 1st it is still a good total for that species. Once again the retrap hadn't been ringed recently and had been ringed as a scruffy juvenile on 9th July this year which gives an indication of how long it takes them to complete their protracted post-juvenile moult.

There were more Robins about than there have been recently and the 5 ringed is a sign they were on the move. The first half of September usually sees quite a few Robins pass through site, more so following a good breeding season, and is largely made up of displaced birds that are looking for somewhere to carve out a winter territory but may also include some genuine migrants.

The weather is looking pretty ropey for the next week so opportunities to get out ringing could be very limited to say the least. Is this going to be a year we don't get an Indian summer ? 

Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 02/09/17 were: Goldcrest 23(1); Blue Tit 2(1); Great Tit 6; Chiffchaff 14(1); Willow Warbler 4; Blackcap 4; Spotted Flycatcher 1; Robin 5; Redstart 2; Tree Pipit 1; Chaffinch 4; Goldfinch 4; Reed Bunting 1. A total of 71 new birds and 3 retraps.

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