Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Saved By A Goldfinch And Seven Whistles

In twenty five years of birding and ringing this spring has been possibly the quietest I’ve experienced, with both a lack of numbers and a shortage of species. Birders are good at theorising or coming up with excuses as to why birds don’t do as we would like, but my own humble explanation for the season’s dull migration is the constant northerly winds and cool weather which has blighted the whole of April.

This morning I went out to the moss hoping for a change of luck and stuck a couple of nets up whilst wandering about. Explorations through and around the ringing site generated 7 or 8 Willow Warblers, a single Blackcap, one singing Whitethroat, plus a small number of Goldfinches loyal to the feeders. 

The ringing total proved pitiful once again with just 4 Goldfinch and a single Willow Warbler caught. This left Goldfinch as by far the most numerous capture for April with 29 individuals with other species lagging far behind. 

 Willow Warbler

Goldfinch

Birding was similarly quiet, the highlight being 3 Whimbrel feeding in the grassy field beyond the ringing site. In some areas of the UK the Whimbrel is known as the Seven Whistler due to its distinctive tittering call, often uttered in flight.

Whimbrel
Other birds this morning: Reed Bunting, 2 Corn Bunting, 4 Linnet, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel and Little Owl on the barn roof again as I arrived on site. Soon after first light the owl disappears into the roof space of the barn to somewhere meet up with a partner.

Little Owl

15 comments:

Andrew said...

Wonderful close ups of some of my favourite little birds.

kirstallcreatures said...

Always interesting to read your blog Phil, lovely pics too

mick said...

Interesting observations about the poor start to the season. Of course, the Whimbrel is the best bird for me!

Kay L. Davies said...

Enjoyed the sound of the whimbrel, Phil. My sleeping dog gave a brief thought to waking up when she heard a bird in the room, but changed her mind immediately.
K

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I would be ecstatic if I could go birding on one of your bad days! This old lady probably couldn't handle the excitement of a good one!

I love reading about your walks and really envy the counts...I love the European goldfinch.

Jean said...

I wonder why the numbers are down???
Love your photos...the little Owl is my favorite.

Hanne Bente said...

Great pictures you show.
Wishing you a good day.
Hanne Bente / hbt.finus.dk

Michael said...

great pics, particularly the goldfinch

Stewart M said...

Great shot of the Goldfinch. I wonder if the migrants will all turn up in a rush in a few weeks.

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

Vita Stunder said...

Beautiful pictures!

Springman said...

Whimbrel in flight really caught my fancy. Excellent capture. I hope your spring heats up soon!

Monica said...

Hi Phil
I read your post with interest that it is so quiet in your surroundings. I can't anything about birds actually (and my English is not so good) But I have noted in my place, 30 km south of Oslo in Norway, an extraordinary amount of Brambling and Siskin among our common regular birds Greenfinch, Redpolls, Blue tit and Great tit and Bullfinches. There have been many more of these as well in recent weeks than is usual. they are really noisy because of the large flocks:)
Hmmm ....

Russell said...

That goldfinch portrait is really something. Been quiet here in Niigata for birds too and it's gone from snow two weeks ago to hot and humid now. I was waiting for the spring birds but it was for a day.

Stuart Price said...

Nice Whimbrel shot, I always remember lots of them appearing on the Ribble in late April, guess it's that time of year again...........

Nature in the Burbs said...

Great shots. Love the owl.

Related Posts with Thumbnails