Monday, 22 October 2012

Blue Sky Thinking

That sums up the weekend just gone for me, lots of lovely blue sky but sod all in it so plenty of time for thinking about what could have been. This October has been really disappointing for visible migration compared to last year. This must be a reflection of a very poor breeding season overall and not just be down to the weather conditions. A few Meadow Pipits went south but precious few finches. Even fewer Redwings were going this way and that, as can happen when they first arrive, but blink and you would miss them. A fair number of Wood Pigeons went south but were probably outnumbered by feral and racing pigeons going in all directions. Best bird of the weekend for me was a single Crossbill going north over Haigh Hall on Sunday morning.

Looking north at my ringing site at Haigh

Nice tree, shame about the empty sky.
Ringing-wise I didn’t do too badly over the weekend with 93 new birds ringed and 24 recaptures processed but this was a result of a lot of effort. The only species present in similar numbers to last year are the Goldfinches in my garden but numbers have built up a month or so later than last year. Even now some of the birds caught are in full juvenile plumage and some adults are still only just completing their moult indicating an extended breeding season and that later broods have been more successful. This has been commented on in other blogs and seems to be the general trend, in the north-west at least. Notable ringing milestones reached for the year were Goldcrest going through the 100 barrier for the first time, a direct result of effective use of MP3 lures and my fascination with them.

Juvenile Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) caught 20/10/12
Ringing sessions over the weekend included: Longshaw, Scotman’s Flash, Haigh Country Park, two short sessions in my garden at Orrell and an hour in a garden in Hindley. Weekend totals were (recaptures in brackets):

Blackcap 1
Blue Tit 16 (8)
Bullfinch 2 (1)
Chaffinch 6
Coal Tit 1 (3)
Goldcrest 11
Goldfinch 15 (1)
Collared Dove 1
Great Tit 6 (5)
Greenfinch 22 (1)
Lesser Redpoll 4
Reed Bunting 2 (1)
Robin 2 (1)
Willow Tit 2
Wren 2
Nuthatch (2)
Dunnock (1)
Total 93 (24)

Anyway it is all going to change from tomorrow. Birds piling in on the east coast today will make their presence felt, followed by more birds pushed by cold weather coming in later in the week. We hope.

Cold weather should make following the satellite tagged Woodcock interesting: They should really start to move.

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