Monday, 27 September 2010

Holme Pierrepont, Sun 26 Sept

Had I been going out alone, I think I would have just pulled the duvet back over my head this morning. It was threatening and blustery and even when we arrived I suspected we might just end up collecting all the poles and guys and going home. But we decided to give it a go and remarkably we managed to keep going until past 11am and catch exactly 50 birds.
Within a few minutes of getting the nets up, the first bird dived in and we got off to a good start with a young female Green Woodpecker. This species is easily sexed by the colour of the moustache: males have red bordered by black and the females just black. At least two other birds were present, but they didn't find their way into nets.
The remaining 49 birds were a good variety, though the only migrant warblers were 6 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Reed Warblers. However, winter migrants were also in evidence and 3 Goldcrests were the first for a while.
Goldcrests are sexed by the colour of the crest. However, you usually have to part the feathers to see any of the male's orange. It is just visible in the lower bird. The top bird is a female with just a yellow crest.
To add to the wintery flavour of the morning a flock of early Redwings came over and thrush numbers in general seemed to be up. Meadow Pipits continued to pass over, though only a single Skylark was seen. Wigeon had arrived in some numbers and Teal, Gadwall and Curlew were all present. Goldfinches were in large flocks and 2 Siskin flew over. A few other summer visitors were still around, a single Wheatear and a trickle of hirundines comprised mostly House Martins, but a few Swallows and Sand Martins.
An interesting find was a dead Snipe - found just lying on the ground among bushes near the water. We couldn't be sure why it had died, though it must have been attacked by something as both its legs were broken. However, it had only a small bit of flesh showing and that was uneaten. When Chris dropped by, he pointed out the first few dark adult coverts which contrasted with the juvenile feathers.
Archie and Oscar joined us for the first time in a while and when presented with a mystery bird...
...they quickly found the clue that identified it:
So that was the last visit to that side of the site, but we'll squeeze in at least one more on the other side before we admit that summer is over...
Pete

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