Will’s garden then. Not so much a page from a Gardener’s World catalogue, more like a birder’s ideal garden with ornamental and fruit trees, a hedgerow interspersed with mature trees and small holly, then beyond that, a farmer’s maize field as a neighbour. Add in the rural wooded location near Garstang within a stone’s throw of Bowland and we have a pretty good mix of things where it’s possible to catch a few target species. The proximity to the Pennines means it’s a pretty good location to “vis mig” if the weather is suitable but not this morning as despite the dry start with a couple of Swallows overhead, it remained cloudy with intermittent drizzle.
We reached a fairly respectable total of 28 birds caught which included 1 Great Tit first ringed in 2008. “New” birds as follows: Dunnock 3, Robin 2, Nuthatch 1, Collared Dove 1, Chaffinch 17, and Blue Tit 3.
The locality has a healthy population of Chaffinch all year round, but at this time of year we would expect to begin to catch larger, brighter birds of continental origin and birds from Scotland or the higher Pennines. Very good then that we caught two corking adult males with wing lengths of 92mm & 94mm, and although there is also an element of older birds also having longer wings, the first bird is a “probable” continental, the latter almost certainly from mainland Europe.
There were at least a couple of Jays hanging around the garden today but fortunately we didn’t catch one. I use the word “fortunate” because whilst they are fine to look at through binoculars, I do my best to avoid handling them as even a momentary lack of concentration might allow them to give a nasty, sometimes painful nip from their bill. It’s a trainee’s bird really, builds up the experience and confidence of carefully taking mystery birds out of bags.
Also in the garden today were a gang of about 20 Greenfinch sticking to the feeders near the house together with plenty of Greats and Blues. It was just a pity that the Grey Wagtails decided to mainly stay on the roof, flitting off occasionally to disappear from view for a while.
We caught a fine male Nuthatch which caused us to open up “Svensson” to help ageing and sexing it because in the normal course of events down in the Fylde lowlands we catch very few.
Likewise, catching a Collared Dove called for opening up “Non-Passerines Guide” that spends most of its life in the glove compartment. What an eye colour that dove has!
On the way back home at midday I noticed a Buzzard near Rawcliffe Hall, about 15 Swallows at Town End, Out Rawcliffe then four more in Hambleton.