Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Saga

After being out of action for a few days, I was keen to get out early, so despite the frost I set out to Rawcliffe Moss at 6 a.m. with a few mist nets and a good deal of anticipation. 

It’s an unusual sort of spring when out on the moss I can hear Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Fieldfare all in song at the same time, but that’s what happened early on. As I put a couple of nets up 3 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff sang nearby with further along the farm track a gang of Fieldfares feeding in a ploughed field. Every so often the Fieldfares would fly into tree tops whereupon at least one broke into song. This went on for a while and it was only when I left a couple of hours later that I could see at least 20 Fieldfares feeding in the tilled soil. It’s getting pretty late for Fieldfares to be still around but no doubt they are delaying heading off to Scandinavia until they get a southerly wind to help them along the way, the same wind we need to bring more summer migrants here. 

That’s all a way of explaining how a quiet session resulted in just 10 birds, 1 Chiffchaff and 9 Goldfinch – thank goodness for the Niger feeders. 

 Chiffchaff

Goldfinch

 Fieldfare

It’s still a little early in the month for warblers like Whitethroat, Garden Warbler or Sedge Warbler to arrive this far north in any numbers. Even the female Willow Warblers appear absent yet, arriving as they do some days after the male vanguard. 

I couldn’t detect much migration this morning, the most noticeable arrivals being Goldfinches, which may or may not have been fresh migrants as there are always a number around. I noted a single Lesser Redpoll plus at least 4 Siskin over during the morning, with 4 Swallow sightings of singletons heading north into a strengthening breeze. An unusual record for here was 2 Black-tailed Godwits heading north about 10 a.m. but they had probably lifted off from the nearby River Wyre. 

 The remainder of the morning’s sightings were locals: 12 Chaffinch, 3 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Corn Bunting, 2 Yellowhammer, 4 Curlew, 3 Skylark, 4 Lapwing, 4 Linnet, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Stoat.

 Chaffinch

3 comments:

Betty Roan said...

Beautiful shots! I enjoy photographing birds, but I can't seem to get many good closeups.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

All of these birds are new to me! Well, we have goldfinches (when we're in Oregon) but not the same as yours...the others I'd never heard of, they are all wonderful. Interesting about the need for the right winds for migration -- perfectly logical when I think of it (but I never did before reading your post)...thanks for my thing to learn today (and for the great pictures).

Kay L. Davies said...

I always admire your goldfinches, Phil, such great colours. The fieldfare looks a lot like an American Robin, but of course I like the cute little brown birds. The first photo and the last would have satisfied me.
We didn't see many exotic birds on our latest trip, but my husband was happy with plenty of pelicans to photograph, and he got some distant shots of frigate birds I might be able to enlarge when I'm feeling a little better. Travel always takes the wind out of my sails for about a week.
K

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