Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Fieldfare and Siskins Return

Another week and another two sessions on Leith Hill producing another wealth of Redpolls (a cracking adult male Common below).  Wednesday being the first non-foggy day for almost a week and a half produced another 39 with a supporting cast of four Chaffinch which seemed to be of northern origin and a few Goldcrest - including a first year male with a huge wing length of 58.5mm, well outside the accepted size for this species.
The second visit yesterday morning was much more productive with 101 new birds which included 12 Goldcrest and 43 Redpoll, but was highlighted by a Great-spotted Woodpecker (below top two), my first Fieldfare of the year (below bottom three) and 22 Siskin.

The woodpecker is an obvious first year bird and is showing a huge amount of bleaching and wear on the older feathers.  The Siskins were a real surprise as there have been very few about recently and I have only caught 12 since the beginning of October (seven new and five retraps).  They were all coming to nyger which is usually not started in earnest until the New Year when the natural food starts to become scarcer.  Only the next few weeks will tell!

Also today another control Redpoll was caught Y439009 and the following recoveries were received:

Y443956 - Redpoll ringed on 29.10.11 at Queen Mary Reservoir, Surrey and controlled on 16.11.11 at Leith Hill 18 days and 27km SE later.

DHC979 - Goldcrest ringed on 16.10.11 at Hardham, Sussex and controlled on 17.10.11 at Leith Hill one day and 29km NE later.  This was a great movement for such a little bird in just one day, and seemingly in the wrong direction for autumn migration!

Birds ringed:

Common (Mealy) Redpoll - 65
Lesser Redpoll - 3
Redpoll sp. - 14
Chaffinch - 5
Blue Tit - 12
Great Tit - 6
Robin - 1
Siskin - 22
Wren - 4
Goldcrest - 20
Redwing - 2
Fieldfare - 1
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 1

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Redpolls Continue and Recoveries

Two very foggy sessions at Leith Hill over the last week saw another couple of hits of Redpolls, again mainly Mealies (a couple of pictures of variation below), with a supporting cast of Redwing, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and a few Tits.

A couple of controls were also caught L623717, X816840 and Y443956 and received a few more recoveries as follows:

5256658 Canada Goose - ringed as a juvenile in Regent's Park, London on 4th July 2010 and seen by Jake Everitt at Warnham LNR on 3rd November 2011 - 487 days, 52km SSW

DHX336 Goldcrest - ringed as a 1st year male at Lancing College, Sussex on 6th November 2010 and caught at Leith Hill on 31st December 2010 - 55 days, 38km N

T400793 Great Tit - ringed as a 1st year female at Gomshall, Surrey on 20th December 2005 and caught in my Warnham garden on 18th September 2010 - 1733 days, 15km SSE

L852356 Lesser Redpoll - ringed as a 1st year at Easter Inch Moss, Blackburn, West Lothian on 27th August 2011 and caught at Leith Hill on 30th September 2011 - 34 days, 565km SSE

Birds ringed:
Chaffinch - 8
Common (Mealy) Redpoll - 35
Lesser Redpoll - 10
Redpoll sp. - 18
Blue Tit - 3
Great Tit - 3
Coal Tit - 1
Goldcrest - 11
Redwing - 1

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Woodcock and Rye Bay

A phone call from Jake on Monday 7th November, began 'How quickly can you get to Warnham LNR?'  I was luckily able to go and within ten minutes I was there and arrived to find Jake holding a box that he had been given by a local resident.  I quickly learned that the box contained a Woodcock (below by Jake Everritt) that the residents cat had brought into the house!  Although the bird was slightly shell shocked, it was completely unharmed so I ringed it, took a few photos and then released it.

The following day saw another session up on Leith Hill although with a much reduced amount of Redpolls present catching just 15.  One of which was a retrap from the previous winter ringed here on 1st February 2011 which shows winter site fidelity.  Other highlights were two male Chaffinch probably of a more northern origin, four Redwing and two continental male Blackbirds (below).
note thin yellow orbital ring and dark bill

note grey scalloped edges to breast and belly feasthers
Then I spent this weekend in ringing luxury with the Rye Bay Ringing Group at Icklesham.  The new accommodation here is great and a vast improvement on the caravans of the past.  The birds didn't disappoint either with about 600 new birds over Saturday and Sunday which is exceptional for this time of year.  The highlights were a Water Rail, a Teal (below top), three Firecrests, Meadow Pipits, the first Ring Ouzel here since 2005 (below bottom), c250 Redpolls, c40 Siskin and four species of warbler (Chiffchaff, Blackcap, a very late Whitethroat and two late Reed Warbler).

The incredibly warm and sunny weather on Sunday saw a good number of butterflies and dragonflies and the most unexpected catch of the weekend.  As I was checking one of the rides I flushed a dragonfly that was sunning itself into one of the nets.  As I got it out of the net I realised it was something different and after further investigation it turned out to be a female VAGRANT EMPEROR!!!  Although there have been a number of sightings this year there have only been about 20 records for Britain prior of this Mediterranean species (below).

note whitish frons and brown eyes

note sitting position and yellow blotch within wing

To finish, I had a short session in my garden this morning catching 53 new birds including a Coal Tit, 11 Goldfinch, a Treecreeper and four Dunnock.

Birds ringed (not including Rye Bay):
Robin - 2
Redpoll - 14
Chaffinch - 5
Blue Tit - 28
Coal Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 11
Great Tit - 3
Dunnock - 4
Wren - 1
Goldcrest - 6
Treecreeper - 1
Greenfinch - 2
Redwing - 4
Blackbird - 2
Woodcock - 1

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Redpolls and Recoveries

Another successful ringing session at Leith Hill on 29th Oct produced another 88 Redpolls taking the Leith Hill Redpoll tally for the year to 645!  Continuing the theme of the last month at least 46 of these were Common (Mealy) Redpolls.

A further session on 31st Oct was cut short due to the onset of rain with just nine birds caught which involved another Redpoll, a Redwing, seven Goldcrest and a very late Chiffchaff (below) which was possibly the same bird that was seen here on 29th.
Birds ringed:
Blue Tit - 6
Great Tit - 2
Redpoll - 39
Common Redpoll - 46
Lesser Redpoll - 4
Chaffinch - 2
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 7
Redwing - 1

Also received a few recoveries this week as follows:

L991303 Blue Tit ringed as a juvenile on 5th Jul 2011 at Gomshall, Surrey and controlled on 10th Oct 2011 in Rhododendron Wood, Leith Hill 6km away.

X317180 Blue Tit ringed as a first-year on 12th Oct 2008 at Warnham LNR, Sussex and taken by a cat on 7th Oct 2011 in Horsham, Sussex 2km away.

DJB232 Chiffchaff ringed as a juvenile on 18th Jun 2010 at Warnham LNR, Sussex and controlled on 3rd Aug 2011 at Weir Wood Reservoir, Sussex 22km away.

X969143 Blackcap ringed as a first-year female on 21st Sep 2009 at Chesworth Farm, Horsham and controlled on 23rd Jul 2011 at Cissbury Ring, Sussex 21km away.

Also, Sue Cocker found Canada Goose 5256306 at Southwater Country Park on 15th Sep 2011 which had been ringed on 6th Jul 2009 as a juvenile at Wimbledon Park, London 48km away.