Thursday, 29 October 2009

Brackenhurst, Wed 28 Oct

Well, a beautiful day and an impressive turn-out for the first session of the season. We began down at the feeding station for 3 or 4 hours, got everything set up and caught a handful of birds.

Most were new birds with Chaffinch, Great Tit and Dunnock being most numerous and not a single Blue Tit! We also caught a retrap Great Tit that was almost certainly ringed as a chick in one of the boxes earlier in the year.

The majority of young Dunnocks were still in post-juvenile moult as was the single Wren caught. Another interesting bird was an old retrap adult Great Tit that had forgotten to moult a couple of inner secondaries on both wings.

Bullfinches were particularly obvious around the site, although we only caught one young female. She was a very calm individual and although this sensitive species isn't always suitable to hold for photos, she was so relaxed we were able to get a pic or two.
Good numbers of Fieldfares and a few Redwings and Song Thrushes were flying about. Skylarks were also obvious and a couple of Siskins came over. Yellowhammers were around in small groups, but not yet in the feeding area. We finished with an excellent catch of Autumn leaves...

Up at Andrew's house at the farm, the plan is to colour-ring some House Sparrows as Brack has some history of studying this species here.

We put up 3 nets and caught 20 birds, 12 of which were House Sparrows, one of which was a retrap, ringed as a chick in a box nearby.

A Grey Wagtail kept teasing us by flying near the net and we also caught an intriguing Dunnock.

This was clearly a young bird with a dull eye, flimsy tail, black-tipped primary coverts and the like, yet it had moulted several primaries and secondaries symmetrically. Looking quickly at the literature, this would appear to be very unusual.

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