Sunday, 14 October 2012

Titchfield Haven - Bird Ringing Update 14th October 2012

After the best part of a month with no bird ringing it was back to Titchfield Haven this weekend in the hope of catching an autumn rarity. Looking at the weather during the week it had looked touch and go, Saturday was meant to have heavy showers, and Sunday was meant to be a wash out. But luckily the weather changed, there were heavy showers overnight on Friday, but they missed The Haven on Saturday morning, and the predicted rain on Sunday stayed to the south, although the clear sky did produce a heavy frost Sunday morning, and frozen nets are never a good way to start a ringing session!

Firecrest, Titchfield Haven 

Based on previous years, October ringing sessions are quite relaxing affairs in that we don't catch many birds, but what we do catch can often involve something of quality. However, this year, Saturday began with our nets full of birds, the majority were Eurasian chiffchaffs (40) and blackcaps (27), but as can often be the case this time of year, they included several goldcrests (10) and two firecrests. 

Firecrest - Titchfield Haven

Firecrests have been a bit of a rarity over the years, so to catch two in one day is a very noteworthy event! As well as the previous species we also ringed three song thrush, three reed warblers, a couple of new robins and single Cetti's warbler, reed bunting and blackbird. By the end of the session we had ringed 95 new birds of 11 species, which is an exceptional day for October.

Sunday began with clear skies and a heavy frost, which is not a good start when your nets have been left furled overnight. But it was not longed before they began to thaw and the birds began to move. The pattern began in a similar way to the day before, with blackcaps, chiffchaffs and goldcrests filling the nets, but it included another new firecrest, our third in two days!

Firecrest - Titchfield Haven

We have never caught three firecrests in one year before, but in fact what you don't know is that Barry caught another whilst I was away, so that is four in one year....amazing! It would be interesting to know how many of these are migrants and how many are local breeders dispersing from their breeding grounds. 

Sunday was not as busy as Saturday, and we ended the session on 44 birds, but the total did include a further 14 chiffchaffs, 12 blackcaps, 10 goldcrests, two Cetti's and a coal tit.

Coal Tit - Titchfield Haven

OK why mention a coal tit I hear you say, and I would have to agree seeing as I regularly catch them in my garden, but this was only the 6th coal tit ringed at the The Haven, so a bit of a mega in its own right!

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