Once again it was great to be back out ringing on Saturday. The session started off slow (we expected more as the conditions were ideal), catching a couple of finches, tits and thrushes. With spare moments when we weren't catching birds we sat with a cup of coffee and a biscuit (or two) watching the huge flocks of Pink Foots drifting over- what a fantastic noise and commotion.
The Redwing numbers had died down massively considering the passage last week when we caught and ringed 30. In fact this week we barely heard any Redwing passing over never mind a flock and we only ringed three.
When we went on our third net round check, in one of our single 12 metre nets we noticed a warbler pocketed in the 3rd panel. We approached the solitary bird thinking it was a Goldcrest. We then noticed two distinct wing bars across each wing suggesting something different.. .......it was in fact a Yellow Browed Warbler!
This Autumn has brought many things, the change in season, outstanding scenery, incredible fungi and some fabulous birds. Yellow Browed Warblers are one of those special birds and have become more and more frequent visitors to the UK.
In around the 1970's Yellow Browed Warbler occurred in Britain in very limited numbers; however in the last several years this species has flooded into the country distributing everywhere across the UK including the site we were ringing at yesterday. This could be largely to do with the fact that our Winters are warmer and they could be being using it as a wintering ground, this may be linked with climate change. Birds ringed across the UK and further afield will further help us understand their movements and populations.
We collected the biometrics from the bird with the bird weighing 6.4 grams, not much bigger or heavier than a Goldcrest (Goldcrests on average weighing just over 5g). This bird will stick in my memory for a long time and it was fascinating to be able to see it up close and study it, a great reward for all the effort we put into ringing and the management of our ringing sites.
This Yellow Browed Warblers now adds to some great results this year including Spotted Flycatchers, Firecrest, Cetti's Warblers and Siberian Chiffchaff.