Friday, 4 November 2016

November musings

Hello

Birds today were minimal but a wander around Blueberry Farm was sufficient to find a female Peregrine and the eight Stonechats still. Some brush clearance at Harrington Airfield this afternoon disturbed large numbers of winter thrushes in the hawthorns and on the fields where they were joined by flocks of immigrant Starlings and Chaffinches. There was even a decent-sized Lapwing flock at dusk, the first sizable flock for what seems like an age.

Chris Payne continues to monitor passage Goldfinches in his garden at Greens Norton, catching and ringing another 17 new birds yesterday to add to an already impressive autumn total. It is assumed that these birds are moving generally south from northern Britain and/or the continent, feeding up wherever they find a good food source.

Neil Hasdell has kindly created another birdwatching site map, this time for Stanwick Lakes, and this is now posted on the Birdwatching Site Maps tab.

Regards

Neil M



Male and female Goldfinches in adult plumage
look very similar but in the hand there are some
features that can allow ringers to identify the gender
in the majority of birds handled. In this image taken
by Goldfinch guru Chris Payne the right hand bird is a female and
 the left hand bird is a male, both still completing body moult.
 Finches often have remnants of their food stuck on their bill where
it can coagulate and remain for quite a time as in
the right hand bird. Females tend to be marginally smaller,
often exhibit grey/silver feather tips just above the bill and
generally the red around the face is more restricted and duller.
Males tend to be brighter and with blacker feathering around
the eye, on the crown and nape...

A picture of  Pitsford Reservoir reserve
warden Mischa Cross toasting marshmallows!
A very nice by-product of brush cutting and
 woodland management is the fire that follows -
and the opportunity to bake spuds and roast
chestnuts and marshmallows thereafter!

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