Saturday, 1 October 2011

Mipit Tsunami

The forecast was all wrong this morning, in terms of wind strength anyway, and it was amazing that I ringed any birds at all at the obs. I had virtual full cloud cover as dawn broke with a moderate, perhaps 15-20 mph ESE wind shortly after I put three nets up. Within half an hour, due to the wind strength, I had to take one net down.

I ringed 29 birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):

Greenfinch - 10
Meadow Pipit - 12
Blackcap - 1
Robin - 1
Blue Tit - 3
Chiffchaff - 1
Great Tit - 1
Dunnock - (1)


Blue Tit

By the fact that I ringed a Blackcap and Chiffchaff it was evidence that there were some grounded birds this morning. Also I had two flighty Song Thrushes at first light that were probably grounded as well.

The feature of the morning was the Meadow Pipit passage. From first light until I left the site at 1120 they were going through in impressive numbers. I counted 1,280, but I suspect that there were probably at least three times as many as this because when you are ringing, particularly on your own, it is impossible to do all the ringing and record the 'vis' accurately all at the same time. The ringing station at the obs has a clear view to the sea wall to the west, but to the east the view is obscured by an embankment. Therefore, when processing birds at the ringing table you can only pick vis up directly overhead or to the west. Between net rounds I would stand on top of the embankment for a few minutes and look east and there were constant groups of Mipits heading south all morning.

 Meadow Pipit

Other birds on the move included 18 Alba Wags, 8 Chaffinch (or should I say 8 calls heard), 23 Pink-footed Geese, 10 Siskin (see under 'Chaffinch'), 6 Greenfinch (obviously more than this as I ringed 10 which were birds 'tape lured' down), 5 Grey Wags, Linnet, 2 Reed Buntings, 17 Swallows, 4 Skylarks and 4 Goldfinch.


The forecast looks okay for some more ringing and 'vis' recording tomorrow and then later in the week I might well be seawatching!

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