Monday, 22 August 2011

Hobby whizzes through

Heysham Obs
A fair-weather session at Middleton seemed to hold the possibility of a little bit of vis mig and maybe an opportunity to ring some Tree Pipits.  In the event, there were no Tree Pipits, Grey Wagtails or any of the conventional 'clear sky & getting near end of August' vis other than a few Swallows and two Meadow Pipit.  Instead, the 'vis' was unexpectedly highlighted by Tree Sparrow and Hobby.  There were also more grounded warbler species that might reasonably have been expected, so it wasnt a bad morning

Middleton NR 0545-1100hrs
Hobby - one had a dart at a flock of Linnet/Goldfinch before heading SE.  Not possible to age it on the views obtained
Tree Sparrow - 2 followed by 3 headed SE
Meadow Pipit - 2 together SE
Swallow - no more than 10 SE
Chaffinch - flock of 3 SSE
Grounded birds
Ringing produced the following new unringed birds: 6 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warbler and 2 each of Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff.  A few tits and finches were also caught, including another juvenile Bullfinch.  Getting on for 50 new birds, with retraps surprisingly including 3 Sedge Warblers which were thought to have long gone.

Its been a pretty decent year for warbler species at the Obs as shown by the ringing totals which are well above-average for here (in the case of Blackcap and Chiffchaff ...'for this early in (their later) autumn passage').  Havent got the exact figures to hand: Whitethroat (c130), Lesser Whitethroat (c45), Grasshopper Warbler (c44), Willow Warbler (c175), Blackcap (c70), Sedge Warbler (c160), Chiffchaff (c40), Reed Warbler (c20)

There was also a mixed flock of Linnet (c60), Goldfinch (c45) plus a few Greenfinch and Chaffinch 

An unexpectedly sizeable catch of mostly rubbish but including Agriphila latistria at one of its few known sites, the first Angle Shades of the autumn and a high total for here of 12 Sallow