Sunday, 23 September 2012

So So Weekend

The forecast for Saturday was for wall to wall sunshine after a frosty start and very light winds so I decided to give Longshaw a try. I had a couple of nets up at first light but it was soon evident that birds were going to be few and far between with few birds calling in the bushes and only a trickle of birds passing overhead. It was so quiet that I resorted to taking some frosty photos to pass the time. Only 8 birds were ringed but they did include the first Lesser Redpoll of the autumn and a Grey Wagtail.

On returning home the calm conditions tempted me to put a net up in the garden as the feeders have been attracting good numbers of Goldfinches recently. The strong sunlight made the net more visible than I would have liked and some bird could clearly see it. However, it didn’t put the birds off and 25 new and 1retrap Goldfinches were caught along with a few bits and bobs. Had it been overcast more would have been caught as many birds clearly had no trouble avoiding the net.

Juvenile Goldfinch replacing primaries
In the evening I went down to Scotman’s Flash to see if any Swallows were still roosting there. Conditions were perfect as a little cloud had bubbled up but, unfortunately, it was also perfect for midges and mosquitoes which really made their presence felt. Three Reed Warblers were caught before the first Swallows arrived and the calls of several Water Rails carried across the reed bed along with a brief burst of song from a Cetti’s Warbler. Initially only 4 Swallows appeared but around 50 eventually gathered as the light started to fail and 22 were caught including 1 retrap. Interestingly the retrap had been ringed in the roost on 2nd September so has stayed around for a good while.
Sunday was forecast to start calm but with a strengthening easterly wind picking up. I decided to give Longshaw another try but it was much as yesterday with little in the bushes or passing overhead. Only 9 birds were caught but they did include another Lesser Redpoll and the first Siskin of the autumn; a fine adult female.

Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret) The flecks of white on the plumage are the remains of feather sheaths showing this bird is just completing its moult of body feathers..
Female Siskin (Carduelis spinus)

The final tally for the weekend was:
Grey Wagtail 1
Swallow 21 (+1 retrap)
Wren 1
Blackbird 1
Coal Tit 1
Blue Tit 3 (+1 retrap)
Great Tit 2
Greenfinch 1
Chaffinch 2
Lesser Redpoll 2
Siskin 1
Goldfinch 25 (+1 retrap)
Reed Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 4
Goldcrest 3

Total 71 (+3)
The best from the moth trap was a Small Tortoiseshell. Butterflies get caught very occasionally but are always a bit of a surprise. One insect that has been largely absent from my moth trap this autumn is wasps. I caught a few (queens) in the spring but very few this autumn and none this month; another and more welcome consequence of the poor summer weather.

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

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