25 Mar 2012

Mealy, mealy nice bird.

With news from Hilbre all week about good numbers of migrant warblers and finches passing overhead and being grounded I was looking forward to escaping the decorating for a day and going across Saturday. We weren't disappointed. With S E winds and overnight mist it soon became clear when we arrived just after dawn that there had been a 'fall'.

Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs were everywhere and Redpolls, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Siskins and Greenfinches were circling overhead and dropping onto the Island as they couldn't see the Welsh coast and even the West Kirby shoreline was barely visible.

The ringers were kept busy. Fortified by endless brews we caught new birds every round with the majority being Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs. After the passage of mainly male Goldcrests a couple of weeks ago these were mainly females with a solitary male being ringed. A handful of Redpolls were caught including this cracking male Mealy with completely unmarked under tail coverts.

As the morning progressed the number of new birds caught inevitably tailed off but there was one more surprise in store. Virtually the last round of the heligolands produced this beauty. The first Willow Warbler of the spring.
Other signs of spring passage included such Hilbre scarcities as Wood Pigeon (12), Jackdaw (3) and Tree Sparrow (1). All in all a good day to be out and about.

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