First Redwings

This has been a frustrating week of watching and waiting. Watching the weather forecasts and waiting for a morning that might allow Andy and me to get up to hills and catch winter thrushes. Redwings are on the move with small numbers reported from the east coast and Scotland early in the week with a possible “thrush-rush” on the cards any day soon. 

Tuesday evening and the forecast was “iffy” but with a chance of a couple of hours before an increase in wind speed later in the morning. After yet more chart watching we decided to go for Wednesday as the only likely day for at least a week ahead. 

We met up at 0630 to a 10mph south-easterly, far from ideal. But at least it was dry. 

We caught our first Redwings of the autumn but the overall catch was pretty poor due to the ever increasing wind that caused us to pack up at 1030. By this time it was pretty breezy and we reckoned the windy conditions had cost us 30 or more birds. 

We caught just 13 birds: 7 Redwing and then one each of Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Sparrowhawk. 

The Sparrowhawk caught was a first year female. The two sexes take different size rings ,“E” or “D”, because of the different size of male and female and the equivalent variation in the diameter of their tarsi. 

Sparrowhawk 

Sparrowhawk 

In all we saw 70+ Redwings this morning, most arriving from the north, but some unseen. Otherwise, thrushes were absent apart from 2 Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrush and 1 Mistle Thrush. 

It’s a little early in the autumn for west coast Fieldfares despite the usual reports elsewhere of “fieldfares“. These are invariably distant Mistle Thrushes, a similarly sized thrush that at this time of year also migrates in small parties. 

Redwing 

Redwing 

Chiffchaffs continue to be scarce.  Today’s Chiffchaff, a tiny first year, was number 12 for the year at this site.  A very poor showing. 

Chiffchaff 

There seemed to be lots of finches on the move this morning, mainly Chaffinches flying low into what became a fairly stiff breeze. Small parties flew overhead from a north to south direction for at least three hours and totalled 140+ birds. None seemed to stop in the plantation as they hurried through and disappeared out of sight to the south. 

Additionally we noted 30+ Goldfinch, 20+ Linnet, 8 Pied Wagtail, 2 Jay, 1 Kestrel, 8 Lapwing.