Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The weather has looked very promising for the last few days but it has so far been rather quiet on the birding front. There has been plenty of time to hypothesise about what we would have had, had Ireland not been in the way that is. But it has been very pleasant, a reasonable finch and Skylark passage giving proceedings a nice autumnal feel. The Barred Warbler lingered for a few days, although proved very illusive, and one of the Yellow-browed Warblers continued to flit about at Nant. Our annual autumn steak-dinner Birdrace with Skomer is hotting up; they took an early lead but such cripplers as Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Barn Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redstart, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Starling and Reed Bunting have brought us neck and neck.

The second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn to be trapped. Interestingly, this bird lacks the dark bases to the secondaries associated with this species and thus looks a little Hume's-like in the wing. However the two broad wingbars of the same colour as the pale yellowish supercilium, the very dark centres to the tertials, pale legs, greenish crown and call all pointed to the much commoner species. (c) Richard Brown

This Redstart turned up at the Lighthouse yesterday and then spent at least some of last night flying in the beams with a small number of Goldcrests and a Starling. During the day it was spending most of its time in the nettle patch where it was making the most of the Red Admiral caterpillars. Up until 1997, there had been 356 ringing recoveries. Only 62 had been retrapped by ringers; approximately 100 were deliberately killed by humans and roughly 40 were taken by domestic predators. So cat lovers everywhere can point to the importance of their moggies as a useful tool in understanding Redstart movements. (c) Richard Brown

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