Thursday, 9 May 2013

Winter or Spring?

Snow, strong northerly winds, rain and sub-zero temperatures along with cloudless skies, bright sunshine and a couple of the hottest days of the year has made this last month pretty unusual.  The birds have thought so too with certain summer species arriving up to three weeks late and some winter species still present. 

On Leith Hill winter species were highlighted with a late Redwing and Lesser Redpolls being the most ringed species (71), whilst all the summer visitors put together being less than a quarter of this (17).  Four of the eight Willow Warblers were retraps which included one ringed in 2011 and three in 2012.  Amazingly two of the latter birds were caught together on 2nd May 2012 as a breeding pair and were caught together again in the same place on 29th April 2013.  An amazing thing for two birds that bred then migrated seperately over 3000 km to Africa for the winter then returning to the exact same spot to breed again with the same partner.  Another highlight was the first Green Woodpecker of the year (below).

Adult male Green Woodpecker

This month also saw the first breeding signs and nesting activity of many species, but one of the highlights was a pair of Firecrest (below) caught on Leith Hill.  I also did my first checks of a few of my regular boxes, but most activity is late with only an adult Stock Dove to show for it.

Male and Female Firecrest

My first Constant Effort Site (CES) visit at North River also took place, but although only 16 birds were caught one was an adult female Grey Wagtail (below) and three of the four Blackcaps were birds ringed here last spring.

Adult female Grey Wagtail

Birds ringed:
Lesser Redpoll - 71
Blue Tit - 24
Siskin - 17
Chaffinch - 9
Great Tit - 8
Robin - 7
Dunnock - 7
Blackcap - 6
Chiffchaff - 5
Willow Warbler - 4
Wren - 4
Blackbird - 4
Coal Tit - 3
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 3
Nuthatch - 2
Whitethroat - 2
Firecrest - 2
Song Thrush - 2
Redwing - 1
Grey Wagtail - 1
Jay - 1
Green Woodpecker - 1
Stock Dove - 1