A short summary

Yet another season is completed, the 38th in the series with standardized methods. It turned out being one of the poorest seasons in numbers. Only 7,460 birds were caught and banded/ringed (54 species). The total is only roughly half of the 1980-2009 long term average (LTA). Only during two autumns in the past, we have caught fewer birds than this year in the lighthouse garden.

Three species with a negative trend: Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, and Willow Warbler (Photos P-G Bentz)

Consequently, many species were caught in lower numbers than usual. Among the tropical migrants only one species – Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca - made it above the LTA. Tropical migrants caught in particularly low numbers were Garden Warbler Sylvia borin (45% of the LTA), Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca (28% of the LTA), and Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus (27% of the LTA).

Also the short distance (European) migrants were caught in low numbers. Robin Erithacus rubecula and Goldcrest Regulus regulus, usually trusted bulk species, also had a poor autumn with only 61% and 58% of their LTAs. Some species with an increasing trend as Wren Troglodytes troglodytes, Blackbird Turdus merula, Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita, and Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla performed seemingly better than many others, but it should be kept in mind that these species were caught in lower numbers in the past, so their LTA is still low. Among them, Firecrest reached a season best, for the fourth consecutive year (!), now with 28 individuals caught.

Three species with a positive trend: Blackbird, Chiffchaff, and Firecrest (Photos P-G Bentz)

Tits and other invasive species were few. Only 1,279 Blue Tits Cyanistes caerulus, known to enlighten many autumn seasons at the lighthouse, were caught. This is only about a third of the Blue Tit LTA. Great Tits Parus ater, were even fewer, with only 11% of the LTA. Informal reports brought news that this year’s breeding season for tits was far from optimal. Moreover, the Beeches Fagus sylvatica had a good year, resulting in large quantities of beechnuts (again) in the southern Sweden beech forests. Good beechnut availability is known to keep the number of tits caught in Falsterbo down. A Crossbill Loxia sp. invasion passed over our heads, but it hardly made any marks in our banding/ringing protocols. This year’s invasive species instead became Redpoll Acanthis flammea showing up in large numbers just as the autumn season drew to a close.

The best day was the 19th of October with 716 birds. Seven out of the ten best days were during the last two weeks in October. Spells with winds from the east, were, compared with last year, fewer and shorter this year. But the eastern winds we had came during the second half of October. This may have contributed to an influx of eastern birds enriching an otherwise meager season.

True rarities were absent this autumn. However, a few seldom caught species were lifted out of our mist-nets and admired by our ringers, species as: Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, Green Woodpacker Picus viridus, Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus, Pallas’s Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus proregulus and Hawfinch Coccuthraustes coccothraustes.

A complete data set can be found here (in Swedish)