Saturday, 25 September 2010

A Late September Morning at the 'Obs'

One of the advantages of ringing at a coastal site with limited cover, such as Rossall, is that virtually everything is a migrant. Hence the reason we were getting excited about the Tits and Dunnocks we were catching this morning! I was going to give my blog the title of 'Tit Fest' but I thought it would attract the wrong type of reader and also the 'wrong type of reader' would be terribly disappointed on viewing my blog!

Craig, Ian and I arrived at the obs at 6.30 a.m and put 4 nets up bisecting the hedgerows. We trapped 34 new and 2 retraps as follows:

Dunnock - 4/0
Blue Tit - 8/0
Great Tit - 2/0
Robin - 1/2
Meadow Pipit - 1/0
Chaffinch - 3/0
Reed Warbler - 2/0
Whitethroat - 1/0
Wren - 4/0
Long-tailed Tit - 8/0
Blackbird - 1/0

 Blue Tit

 Chaffinch - female

 Chaffinch - male

 Great Tit

 Long-tailed Tit

 Long-tailed Tits in bag prior to being released together

The Reed Warbler got a thorough grilling but it was still just a Reed Warbler and I don't mean 'just' as in boring or ordinary because juv Reed Warblers are stonking birds!

The wind was a force 2 NNE and I think this had an effect on the vis. Pink-footed Geese arrived throughout the morning in small numbers and in total we had 136 come in off the sea and head southeast. The Geese seem to prefer a tail wind for migrating whilst I think passerines seem to prefer a light head wind. A tail wind would mean that you could travel quicker, but a light head wind would create more lift, although your ground speed would be less. It's interesting to speculate!

By the way if you haven't read Ian Newton's 'Bird Migration' yet then just forget everything you know about migration, start again and read his book! On with this morning.

It's very difficult to log vis when you are ringing so the following totals are bare minimums and probably bare no resemblance to the actual numbers involved or indeed the totals you would record if not ringing. All of the passerines headed north into wind other than the Swallows; Grey Wagtail - 3, Chaffinch - 35, Meadow Pipit - 25, Skylark - 10, Swallow - 10 and Alba Wag - 12.

Raptors were represented by a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. A Grey Heron arrived high from the north, circled in a thermal to gain height, and drifted south. We could have been at the straights of Gibraltar. Well, perhaps not.

It's looking good, albeit northerly again, for another morning at the obs tomorrow. I'll let you know how we get on.

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