Sunday, 19 October 2014

"Reddy" or Not, Here They Come!

It was good to be out ringing again on Saturday, especially because of the amount of Redwings flooding into the country from the East Coast. I'd seen my first couple of flocks on Tuesday morning on my way to school and with all the easterly wind in the week, it helped them along on their way.

We were ringing at one of our main Winter sites, however it certainly didn't feel like Winter or even Autumn, as on the way there the temperature was recorded at sixteen degrees.

Whilst setting up we could hear the Redwing passing over with their seeping contact call. As quite a few were going over we decided to set a couple of nets for catching them. 

When dawn finally approached we were already starting to get results.The Winter thrushes were coming in at a good pace, catching about several per net round, which is good for our first session catching them this year.

When we started to process the Redwings we noticed that we were possibly catching two different races of bird. One or two birds were quite dark with slightly longer wing lengths and heavier weights than normal (our lightest Redwing today weighing 51 grams and our heaviest 73 grams ). These birds were possibly from the Icelandic race - coburni.  Out of our 31 Redwings ringed today 47% were adults.

We also noticed on the Redwings that some of them had a couple of ticks, however all of these were very small which suggests that these specimens were on the birds just before leaving the country they came from. This is one way that places can get infected with parasites and therefore infect other birds with diseases.

Redwing with tick 

There were few finches around today, however there were some other highlights as an adult Jay made its way into our nets and a young female Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

Just waiting for those Fieldfares to put in an appearance next!


  1. Glad to see them back, heard some call during the night and despite it being pitch black kept looking skyward, not very clever :-)

  2. A terrific sound to hear at night. A sign of those cold winter nights arriving.

  3. You certainly had a productive weekend's ringing . I have not seen a Redwing here this tear yet.

  4. Great post Findlay. I've been seeing big numbers here in Wales, the last few days.

  5. A very informative post, Findlay. I shall be keeping my eyes and ears open as I haven't seen a Redwing yet this autumn.

  6. I have not seen a Redwing this year, What do about the tics?


  7. 31 Redwings is great considering you just hit them at the right moment. They seem to have dried up since Findlay and I haven't seen a Fieldfare as yet but hope to on Wednesday.