28 Oct 2012

First blast of winter.

With plans to travel north for the Chestnut-eared Bunting abandoned as the bird had done a bunk I reverted to the original plan A of going to Hilbre Saturday to ensure another weekend of good coverage. Arriving as dawn broke it soon became apparent there weren't many migrants around but the sunrise was pretty spectacular as the tide slowly cut us off from nearby West Kirby.

A cold N wind blew straight down the middle of the island and it was bitterly cold despite the clear blue skies. The only migrants of note were flocks of Starlings that flew in from various quarters including one flock of around 200+. A single Chaffinch and Robin were retrapped from previous days with the Chaffinch found to have put on 2 g in weight.

There were no Purple Sandpipers over the high tide roost but a good number of Turnstones (82) including two of our colour ringed birds - one from 20007/8 & one from 2008/9. Just imagine the miles these birds have flown back and forwards to their Arctic breeding grounds. There was also a right legged metal ringed Turnstone. Not one of ours as we ring on the left leg and this one was ringed on the right leg and below the knee whereas all UK ringed Turnstones, for a number of years, have been ringed above the knee. Intriguing.

Sunday saw a leisurely start to the day due to my wife and sister-in-law dragging me out, screaming, around Chester on a real ale pub crawl Saturday night. Actually we only reached one pub - Harkers - and basically worked our way through the guest beer list. Putting the nets up in the garden I was pleased to retrap a House Sparrow from a couple of weeks ago as this species is notoriously difficult to retrap. Another 8 Goldfinches brings the garden total up to nearly 100 over the year with only 1 retrap. It just shows how many birds actually pass through and use our gardens as a refuelling stop off for short periods before moving on.

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