Sunday, 16 November 2014

More of the same.

Although autumn migration has slowed down in the main there is still a good southward movement of thrushes and Fieldfares in particular. At Winter Hill, a well watched vis mig site 20km to the north east of Billinge, just short of 10,000 have been recorded moving south over the week including 1,465 today. At Billinge numbers of Fieldfare moving south were in the high hundreds on Monday and in the mid hundreds yesterday and today but I have been ringing on part of the site that has quite narrow viewing opportunities and observations were largely restricted to birds passing directly overhead so many others will have been missed. Smaller numbers of Redwings have also been moving south with 120+ on Monday and similar numbers yesterday and today. There haven't been been any obvious migrant Blackbirds during the week but there is still the odd migrant Song Thrush moving through with the Redwings.

Although Fieldfares were the most numerous by some margin it doesn't make them any easier to catch.

The number of Redwings ringed at Billinge this autumn now stands at 650.

This Redwing stood out as being a quite dark and is fairly close in appearance to some examples of the Icelandic race 'coburni' although possibly still falls a little short. A good series of images comparing the races can be seen here.
Other passage migrants have been limited to a few Siskins, Goldfinches and Chaffinches along with the occasional Brambling and Lesser Redpoll but some of these may have just been the local movements of wintering birds. Similary it is getting hard to sort out what Woodpigeons are doing with some seemingly moving north, others going south and flocks that are simply moving between roosts and feeding sites. On the other hand some winter visitors are still arriving and I logged my first Woodcock of the autumn for Billinge yesterday and it was followed by a sighting of two today. Lastly, there is still a little trickle of Goldcrests with one or two new birds being ringed on each visit. The number of Goldcrests ringed at the site this autumn has now reached 312 which is far more than I ever expected or have experienced at any other site in the area. 

There was no problem ageing and sexing this Lesser Redpoll as an adult male but they remain few and far between.

Ringing Totals
Monday 10th:  Redwing 14; Song Thrush 1; Lesser Redpoll 2; Goldcrest 2.
Saturday 15th:  Redwing 15; Song Thrush 1; Fieldfare 1; Goldcrest 1.
Sunday 16th:  Redwing 14; Fieldfare 3; Goldcrest 2.

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