With ringing in mind it was a marginal, less than perfect weather forecast last night, a chance of rain and 10mph easterlies. Will persuaded me that we should go to Rawcliffe Moss and not for the first time, ignore the BBC’s prediction with their tendency to over-egg the pudding.
As I opened my back door the morning was dark with obvious cloud overhead and signs of recent rain but it stayed dry until I parked up on the moss when a few spits of rain hit the windscreen. As Will arrived the rain quickened a little and we debated the pros and cons of continuing with the possibility of erecting nets only to take them down almost immediately if rain proper started. Even as we put the first few nets up the spots of rain eased off, the Tawny Owl flew off ahead of us calling loudly as above us in the still black sky, Redwings and Fieldfares were on the move.
The rain stayed away and we experienced a very successful morning in catching 48 birds of 11 species, 46 new and 2 recaptures, with northern thrushes and Reed Buntings dominating the catch.
New birds: 12 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Blackbird, 19 Reed Bunting, 9 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 1 Starling, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker. Recaptures: 1 each of Wren and Robin.
Once again we experienced a good catch of Reed Buntings with juvenile birds of the year outnumbering adults 17 to 2; We missed at least three Reed Buntings that escaped from the nets before we could reach them, and in total we think that up to 80 or 90 Reed Buntings must have moved through or over the site during the 5 hours we were there. In a similar manner 3 Blackbirds escaped whilst we took early morning Fieldfares from the nets, and there is no doubt that there were more Blackbirds about this morning than on recent visits. In total we counted approximately 275 Fieldfares overhead, but less than 50 Redwing, observations in line with sightings elsewhere that point to this being a Fieldfare rather than a Redwing autumn.
The finch movement was very pronounced this morning with many audible Bramblings amongst the Chaffinch, especially later in the morning. Our overhead/passing through counts came to 200 Chaffinch, 30 Brambling, 2 Greenfinch, 13 Siskin and 6 Goldfinch.
Other birds seen this morning included 8 Snipe, 1 Kestrel, 60 Skylark and several thousand Pink-footed Geese flying overhead from the Pilling direction and heading inland toward the St Michaels area.