Saturday, 17 October 2009

Rossall Bird Observatory!

What a cracking morning we had this morning at Rossall School, it was like observing and ringing at a bird observatory! The habitat is a bit special at Rossall School, not in terms of its rarity or botanical diversity, but because it is the only piece of farmland on the western edge of the Fylde coast.

A pre-dawn arrival was welcomed by calling Redwings and Blackbirds. Three short nets were hurriedly put up through the main gorse and hawthorn hedge and Redwing song was played on the MP3 player. Birds responded by dropping out of the sky but unfortunately none of them got caught.

It's surprising what a few hundred metre length of hedge on the coast can support and this mornings catch was dominated by 8 Wrens, 2 Robins and 6 Dunnocks. It's very difficult to tell migratory Wrens, but at a coastal site like this some of them most definitely will be. A couple of Blackbirds were caught including a small 'continental' male.

The surprise bird of the morning in our mist nets was a cracking adult male Kestrel. Although this would probably be a local bird it was a real stunner all the same. The rest of the catch was made up of 6 Blue Tits, 2 Chaffinches and a single Great Tit.

It wasn't just the ringing that was causing all the interest it was the vis as well. We had quite a few Brambling over this morning totalling 8 birds with 150 Chaffinch as well. Not to be out done were Greenfinch and we had a healthy count of 180. Interestingly all the vis was heading north, presumably flying into a northerly or northeasterly wind at altitude as some of the birds were quite high.

Funnily enough my notebook only records 49 Redwing, although there were many more of this in the half-light of dawn. However, as the day wore on the numbers of Fieldfares heading north outnumbered the Redwings and we had 145 of these stunning 'Norse' invaders. One of the features of this autumn's migration has been the number of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Jackdaws on the move. Today we had 2 and 350 of each respectively.

We had 5 late Grey Wagtails and a handful of Goldfinch, Meadow Pipit, Siskin, Reed Bunting and Goldfinch. A few Pink-feet came in from the sea, 167, and headed south. In fact these were the only birds that were moving south!

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