Thursday, 6 October 2011


What a difference a week makes!  Three short pre-work sessions at Leith Hill proved very productive with 165 new birds caught.  The 28th September visit produced the first ten Lesser Redpoll of the autumn, along with two Siskin, a male Nuthatch and large counts of nine Goldcrest and 14 Chiffchaff.  The Nuthatch which was caught had a very interesting head colouring that comprised a lot of white/creamy plumage along and behind the eye, which I had never seen before (below).
Two days later I caught six more Goldcrest, eight Siskin and 57 Lesser Redpoll and was highlighted by a control Lesser Redpoll L852356, while session three on 3rd October caught another 51 Lesser Redpoll.  Both of these sessions had to finish early as there were at least another 100 Lesser Redpoll were circling about the nets and would have been too much to handle.  In total 118 new Lesser Redpoll were ringed and there was a huge variety in the plumage, but there was also an interesting variation in the colour of the 'poll' (the forehead). All but three had a red poll  of variable shades from blood red to soft red (below top).  Two birds had what I and others refer to as a golden poll (below middle) which I have seen a number of times before, but another had what I could only describe as a 'firepoll' which was half and half (below bottom).  I can't think of how this has been caused or whether this has been seen before!

Adult male Lesser Redpoll
A day at home on 2nd October produced 28 new birds which included another Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, two Nuthatch, eight Greenfinch, three Wren and a Blackcap.  Also caught a control adult female Goldfinch L614106.

Interestingly, over the last 6 or 7 weeks there has been a huge decrease of birds coming to feeders at home and at a number of gardens up on Leith Hill, especially tits and finches.  Where have they all gone, are they making the most of the availability of natural food, have they moved further afield or have they suffered the worst?

Birds ringed:
Lesser Redpoll - 118
Siskin - 10
Blue Tit - 3
Coal Tit - 1
Robin - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Blackcap - 1
Great Tit - 2
Goldfinch - 3
Dunnock - 1
Chiffchaff - 18
Goldcrest - 16
Wren - 4
Nuthatch - 3
Greenfinch - 8
Song Thrush - 1
Blackbird - 1

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