But there will be another one in the not too distant future, rest assured. Right now Carduelis carduelis seem to have dried up.
Fourteen days of trying to keep the garden tidy, entertaining visitors, who kept unsociable hours, and keeping one eye on the orchard net produced 111 new birds and 28 re-captures, covering 15 species, mostly in the two/three hours after dawn.
|Juvenile Chiffchaff (Sept), showing 3 ogc|
The first eight days were pleasantly sunny, with daytime temperatures reaching 24C most days and falling as low as 6C on one occasion, meaning there was bird activity throughout the day. The following six days were mainly "dreary", with few sunny intervals and a nagging E/NE wind with typical temperatures between 22C and 10C, stifling any bird activity, confining it to a post-dawn slot.
Of 79 Goldfinches netted, just four were adult. I caught 69 new juveniles and trapped 6 youngsters that were returning from an earlier period. All the adults were about 60% through their primary moult; two were males, one was a female and I left the other one un-sexed. Of the juveniles, only eight had not started their post-juvenile moult, two had finished and four were renewing a substantial number of retrices [R4 &R5 were 'old' in all cases]. The large majority of juveniles had moulted ALL their greater coverts, which is going to make ageing a bit of a headache later in the winter, if not before.
|Juvenile male Goldfinch undergoing PJ moult (early Sept)|
(just head and neck, and a few bits and bobs, to go)
Individual birds, in revised BOU order:
Sparrowhawk 1 - another juv. female, 240 mm wing, 208 g. (no photo', dodgy when alone)
Blue Tit 6 (2) - all juvs except a retrap from 2011
Great Tit 3 (2) - all juv females
Long-tailed Tit (4) - all this year's
Chiffchaff 6 - 50/50 sex wise, juvs with 3-4 visible ogc's
Blackcap 5 - 2 males, 3 females, juvs, starting to lay down fat.
Wren 1 (1)
Blackbird (2) - inc. male from 2011
Song Thrush 1 - Euring age 3, text book tail
Robin 2 (2) - a new adult
Dunnock 2 (4) -
House Sparrow 8 (3)
Chaffinch 2 - juv males
Greenfinch 3 - all young females
Goldfinch 70 (9) - only 4 were adults (see above)
|Immature Robin (Sept)|
This week, there's a sure sign of autumn in the air when we have three Robins singing against each other in the early mornings.
In the last six days, I have only caught 13 "King Harrys'" [Goldfinches] of which one was adult. From 25th August until 8th September, there was a noticeable influx of young birds and I ringed 115 new ones.
From 15th April to 24th August this year I only caught 60 new birds plus 23 adult birds that I had ringed previously. Of the new birds, 75% were recently fledged young, none of which were recaptured during that period. The rest would have been breeding adults of unknown ages. [Euring class 4]
I suspect that I am going through a lull in new birds that will not pick up until the first few days of October with the initial wave of out-going migration. I may have to wait until temperatures drop to a daytime max of 10C and 5C or less at night, usually about the middle/end of November, that forces the birds to come to gardens or push on further south.
What I do know is that we are currently in need of some rain, the last significant amount being 11 mm on Bank Holiday Monday (three weeks ago). Perhaps some decent rainfall will bring the birds in - who knows.
|Immature (male) House Sparrow|
The bird tables empty pretty quickly in the mornings after I've replaced the suet pellets. Up to twenty Spuggies descend on it in quick succession, the later ones having to make do with the millet seeds and SFH. I purposely don't set a net across there flight path - except once in a while!