The fine days, when ringing was practical, were memorable for the influx of, first, the continuing show of Siskins, mixed in with a bit of movement through the area, and , secondly, for the passage of Goldfinches. The latter are now under-going a bit of pre-breeding fattening and are also showing signs of some body moult. Got to look their best!
It is quite noticeable with Goldfinches how they hold their weight down in winter when they can rely on a regular source of food, i.e. somebody's feeders. This is a survival mechanism, allowing them to flee quickly from predators. On the other hand, birds on passage can be picked out by either having a residual store of fat and, sometimes, low muscle condition (both used to give up energy for flight) or the fact that they can be re-caught after a day or two with a higher 'fat score', as they go about replenishing their energy levels, never to be seen again. The local birds are picked off early in the day, breakfasting on the feeders, most with "BTO bling" in evidence; thereafter, they spend much of their time singing and preening up in the tops of the boundary trees. Strangers, however, are usually caught during the 'body' of the day, as are some of the irregular "district" birds that circulate between the local ringers.
|Here's a jolly young Greenfinch in his first breeding season- all dolled up ready to catch the lady's eye!|
I managed to catch the following in dry, less windy interludes over the period, consisting of 72 new birds & 31 re-captures from earlier:
Woodpigeon (1) - another "fatty" from last spring (>600 g)
Blue Tit (2) - one of two resident pairs
Great Tit 2 (1) - strangers these days - looking for a nest site or a food source?
Long-tailed Tit (1)
Blackbird 2 (1) - the new immatures turned up on consecutive days - passage?
Dunnock 1 (1) - the 5th new Dunno of the year!
House Sparrow 2 - a 'saucy' pair not looking what they were doing?
Greenfinch 4 (2) - showed up for a few days and then disappeared again
Goldfinch 25 (16) - 19 of these were 2CY females
Siskin 35 (6) - 26 were males & 33 were 2CY birds
Just 11 species, but it won't be long before the migrants begin to show. Our male and female Blackcap are still with us, but I have not made any deliberate attempt to intercept them on their way to or from the bird table that houses the sultanas. I will need to before they depart.
A new black cat, I suspect it's a youngish one, has appeared a couple of times when the net(s) have been open. It soon beats a hasty retreat when our dogs charge over to that corner of the garden in full cry, where it will, hopefully, make a sharp exit over the larch-lap fence. I have planted Hawthorn and Dog-rose there as a future deterrent. Meanwhile, our cat remains indoors, oblivious, usually on the bed.