7 October 2013

Mipits on the move

It's that time of year when as soon as there's a favourable light wind the Mipits are on the move...

This last weekend was the first settled period for a while on The Lizard and autumn vis-mig started to pick up. The first Reed Buntings of the winter were around the fields and the first real Skylark movement got underway, but it was Meadow Pipits we were interested in. We're lucky enough to be able to ring on a wild bird seed field down near Southerly Point, where we can also target Meadow Pipits in a triangle of nets. The theory is, set the nets in a tight triangle, put a tape lure (or more accurately an MP3 lure!) in the middle and wait for birds to drop in.

As Saturday went on, migration picked up and hundreds of Meadow Pipits were heading south, many dropping in to the triangle. Through the morning, two of us ringed 149 Meadow Pipits and some extra two-shelf nets through the weedy field also produced a few Linnet, Goldfinch, two Stonechat and a late Whitethroat.

Nets along the weedy field margin were particularly effective

The next day saw similar weather, so we repeated Saturday's efforts and ringed a further 114 Meadow Pipits and a more impressive 30 Linnet. In fact, our weekend total of 43 Linnet is the most ringed in the county in any year since 1985! Almost mirroring Saturday's catch, we also ringed two more Stonechat and a late Sedge Warbler.

The weedy field looks very tempting if you're a small finch or bunting,
so will make for interesting days later in the winter

Just to round of the weekend, this morning saw a change of scenery, with the team moving up to Gunwalloe for yet more pipits. This wasn't quite as successful as The Lizard, but it gave us the excuse for some late autumn reedbed ringing, producing a few Reed Buntings, a late Reed Warbler and a Cetti's Warbler.

All in all, the long weekend ringing totals were 449 birds ringed, including 349 Meadow Pipit, 43 Linnet and 21 Dunnock!

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