Sunday, 18 October 2009

Clear Out

One of the beauties of 'working' a coastal site, particularly if you are a student of migration like me, is that it is sometimes possible to work out what is going on. I say 'sometimes possible' because migration still holds many unsolved mystery's. On the opposite side of the coin, one of the headaches of 'working' an inland site during periods of migration is that it can be very difficult to work out what is going on. Not with obvious features of migration of course, but more with some of the subtleties. At Rossall School there is a limited amount of cover and it is very obvious when birds are about and just as obvious when they are not, like this morning!

It was a different day to yesterday and the wind was stronger at force 1-2 SSW. This had an effect on the mist nets, making them stand out somewhat, and ultimately an effect on our catch. Having said that, it was obvious that there was very little grounded, and more interesting where had everything gone that we caught yesterday? It was a total clear out.

Redwings were moving in the pre-dawn darkness but not in anywhere near the numbers of yesterday and Fieldfares were nearly obvious with their absence as we only recorded 2 moving through. All the vis this morning was moving in the direction that you would expect in autumn, namely southerly.

Four noisy calling Bramblings came over and circled round looking as though they were going to drop in, but they didn't. Brambling was hastily played on the MP3 player next to one of the nets but to no avail. Greenfinch and Chaffinch moved over this morning but only totalled a tenth of what we had yesterday.

The Jackdaw passage was obvious again this morning but only numbered 97 and 3 Grey Wagtails moved south. A few Pink-feet were around this morning, but instead of arriving from the sea they were coming from their overnight roost at Pilling and dropping on to some of the fields to the east of us.

One of the highlights of the morning was the stonking views we had of a Barn Owl hunting over the site and once or twice we had our hearts in our mouths as it turned towards our nets, but turned away again. In a similar vain we had a Sparrowhawk extract itself from a net just after Ian had set off running, tripped doing a spectacular roll across the ground all in the name of science!

We only ringed Reed Bunting, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Robin this morning. Below is a picture of the adult Blue Tit we caught more of an illustration to brighten the page up rather than anything else.

'Coastal' Blue Tit

It was on this day in 1998 that I was sea watching off Norbreck and I got a phone call from Phil saying something like "get your arse over to Lane Ends we've caught a Yellow-browed!". Of course only 11 years ago Yellow-broweds were a lot scarcer than they are today. I flew to Lane Ends, observing the speed limit of course, and was handed a bird bag on my arrival. I put my hand in and pulled out a stunning juvenile Yellow-browed. Excellent!

No comments: