Friday, 1 September 2017

A good start to September.

I arrived at Billinge a little later than planned but early enough to get the nets up just before sunrise. A Goldcrest was calling as I lugged my gear up to the net rides in the top willows and a dozen or so Swallows were exiting their roost as I approached the first net ride. It had been a cool, clear night and could have resulted in a clear out of birds but I heard another Goldcrest and a couple of Chiffchaffs calling as I was putting up the second of the three nets so I was reasonably optimistic about the prospects for the morning. As I was putting up the last net a Chiffchaff flew into it before it was fully open which was another promising sign.

As soon as the last net was set I went straight back to the first and found 5 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler had been caught. On completing the first round of the nets 12 Goldcrests, 8 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler had been extracted which was a cracking start to the morning and the new month. Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs were clearly on the move and more filtered through the bushes over the next couple of hours and kept me quite busy.  The catching rate slowed to a more steady pace from about 09:30 and I packed up just over an hour later when a check of the rainfall radar confirmed a hefty looking shower was heading my way.

1cy Chiffchaff
The final total of 70 new birds and 3 retraps included 21 Goldcrests and 24 Chiffchaffs with the later being a new day record for the site. Goldcrests continue to look like they have had a very good breeding season with today's 21 following record totals in July (19) and August (42) so, weather permitting, it could prove to be a record September too.

1cy male Goldcrest
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 01/09/17 were: Goldcrest 21; Blue Tit 4 (2); Great Tit 1 (1); Chiffchaff 24; Willow Warbler 4; Blackcap 5; Tree Pipit 1; Chaffinch 6; Goldfinch 3; Reed Bunting 1.

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