Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wagtail delight

In the period since my last post, I have been busy ringing (and entering data!) but the numbers ringed haven't topped the heights of August. However, quality has been in evidence.
We are well into peak migration time for our summer breeders. Some species are largely gone already, whilst some are still in full flow and Blackcap migration seems to have peaked already but will continue for a little while yet.
At Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) I've caught a couple of late Reed Warblers (12/09/14), a late Sedge Warbler (13/09/14) and 15 Blackcaps so far in September. Favoured natural food for Blackcaps are the purple Elderberries which have been in abundance in my ringing area - though it was noted the other day that the berries are wilting & dying (perhaps because of age, perhaps continued heat!). 10 Chiffchaffs have accompanied the tit flocks so far in September and just 1 Whitethroat has made an appearance (compared to 3 in 2013, 0 in 2012, 4 in 2011 and 4 in 2010).
And then there's the quality:

Above & Below: A juvenile Yellow Wagtail.

A flock of Yellow Wagtails were in amongst the sheep and cattle on SSNR. A roost session produced just the 1 bird - the first of this species ringed here. The site list is now up to 50 species ringed, with one other species - Mute Swan - ringed elsewhere.
The main species missing from the ringing list  at SSNR (because they haven't been targeted and might prove more difficult to catch) are Skylark, Woodpigeon, Snipe, Swallow, Stonechat and Whinchat.

The following day, in my usual ringing area, a surprise in the nets (it wasn't seen beforehand) was:

Above: A juvenile Spotted Flycatcher (3rd ringed on site following singles in 2011 & 2013).

On Monday 22nd, on a walk around the reserve, a large number of Meadow Pipits were observed (50+), as were a number of Skylarks but best of all - 2 Stonechats in the mist (they were gone by lunch time). I later observed a fox at quite a distance, hunting for food in broad daylight.

My other site - Priory Country Park (PCP) - has been producing good numbers too now that the CES restrictions are lifted. In September, of the migrants, we've ringed 3 more Reed Warblers, 36 Blackcap, 18 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers. Of the birds coming to the feeding station, 42 have been new Blue Tits and 37 of the Great Tit variety whilst 11 have been Chaffinches. Our first two juvenile Bullfinches of the year were ringed too - surprising that we didn't ring any juveniles during the CES season.

I have commented previously that it has been a good year for Goldcrest - 6 juveniles have been ringed this month so far at PCP (making 10 for the year).

It won't be long now until we are graced with species that migrate to our country to spend winter with us (some may already be here). I personally look forward to Lesser Redpoll and Siskin migration most. Lets hope for favourable weather to bring them to our shores!

I hope to run another ringing session at Priory on Sunday 28th September - with a demonstration for the Guided Bird Walk - meeting 9am at the visitor centre.

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