Nidingen October 2014

Allmänt / 2014-10-19 / 17:27:19
Hey everyone!
I have just returned home from one of the most amazing weeks i've ever experinced at Nidingen (and there have been a few). Despite hard winds we have have caught and ringed over 1000 birds on their way to warmer destinations. Among our team of four people we have seen 103 different species on (or at least from) this small island of only 13,5 hectares. The one thing that we wanted, but didn't get, was for one of all the Yellow-browed Warblers (Phylloscopus inornatus) that seemed to pop up everywhere along the westcoast to come our way. But one should not be greedy, we had our fair share of pretty birds!
We arrived on Saturday and were instantly thrown into chaos since large flocks of Blue Tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) arrived at the same time and filled up all of the nets. When evening came and the nets got taken down, 197 Blue Tits had been ringed, which is the third highest daily number in Nidingen's history.
We expected the next day to be similar, but to our delight (Blue Tits are vicious birds) the nets were filled with finches instead! The bird in the picture is a male Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla). A flock of about 500 Bramblings and Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) were feeding and resting on the island before migration out before dusk that day.
 Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), plenty of these birds were feeding in the thick layer of seaweed that covers the shore and we caught many of them in our wader-cages.
We determine the age of the birds by looking at different feather characters. Different species have different moulting strategies and periods. During autumn most birds born this year have a mix of new and old feathers while the adults have a completely fresh plumage. This adult Meadow Pipit has one feather among its medium coverts that has not been moulted, for reasons we can only speculate. The old feather is a lot more worn that the others and therefore has both a different shape and colour.
Twite (Carduelis flavirostris), the Carduelis genus is a group of lovely little birds that are some of my favourites to ring.
Redwing (Turdus iliacus), a Thrush with red underparts of the wings. We had several nights when the sky was filled with thrushes migrating in the dark.
Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris).
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus), the most adorable bird there is! Curious and completely lacking the ability to hold still for the camera. This species live in family groups which usually stick together, if one gets caught in a net the rest will follow. I've even heard stories of birds flying into the lab to join it's caught family.
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris).
Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima), one of Nidingen's character species. Every autumn they come to the island to feed in the seaweed beds, full of yummy insects, before continuing further south when they finally freeze. In spring they stop by again on their way north to the breeding grounds on Svalbard or other parts of Northern Scandinavia.
The first Purple Sandpipers of the autumn arrived this week, and this guy was the first to be ringed.
The Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) was one topic we kept coming back to during the week, why are they much more difficult to find during the autumn migration than during spring? 
This adult female was caught on Saturday morning, only hours before we were to leave the island, putting a perfect end to a perfect week.
Thanks to Mikael, Johan and Jalle for contributing to making this week a memory for life!

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