Thursday, November 13, 2014

Catching Up

It has been a rough old week of weather with no real sign of a let up to the wind and rain. But Andy and I managed to find a tiny window of dry weather this morning for a ringing session near Oakenclough. 

We caught a good mix of birds by way of 21 new birds and 9 recaptures. The new birds comprised 4 Goldfinch, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, 4 Great Tit, 5 Blue Tit, 2 Coal Tit 1 Blackbird and 1 Robin. Rather unusually all of the 9 recaptures were Coal Tits ringed here a week ago. The single Blackbird caught was a dark-billed first winter male bird which displayed the characteristics of a “continental” type. 

Goldfinch

Greenfinch

Blackbird

 Chaffinch

Even though over the years I’ve ringed almost 4500 Chaffinches, it’s still satisfying to catch them on a regular basis. The Chaffinch is an interesting and accessible species, one that is eminently suitable for amateur study. See Another Bird Blog here for an earlier account of autumn Chaffinches  

I may have told this story before on Another Bird Blog but here goes. The Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), sometimes known as bachelor finch, was described by Linnaeus in 1758 in his Systema Naturae. Fringilla is the Latin word for a finch while coelebs means unmarried or single. The English name comes from the Old English ceaffinc, where ceaf is "chaff" and finc "finch". The “chaff” part of the name arose no doubt through this farmland birds’ preference for eating chaff, the husks of corn or other seed separated by winnowing or threshing. A common call of the Chaffinch is variously described as “fink”, “vink” or “pink” and gave rise to the “finch” part of its English name. 

Linnaeus thought that during the Swedish winter, only the female birds migrated south towards Belgium to Italy, leaving male birds to stay close to their territories. Although this observation was not entirely accurate there was an element of truth in the theory. The male to female ratios of Chaffinches migrating south and forming wintering flocks actually varies from year to year with the locality and dependent upon the severity of a winter/availability of food. 

Chaffinch

This morning’s birding seemed rather uneventful until about 0915-1030 when we noticed a huge stream of a couple of thousand or more Fieldfares arriving from due north and heading south on a route through the hills east of the Grizedale Valley, a direction which if continued would take them over the town of Garstang. Our views from 400 yards away were limited by distance and a large plantation on the hillside and it was hard to tell if the flocks were of Fieldfares only or whether Redwings were also involved. Later we did see just a couple of Redwings.

Sightings otherwise - 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Mistle Thrush.

18 comments:

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

They're so sweet!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Are you holding their legs between your fingers? It's a great way to show them off!

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful birds you have there! even bachelors. ;)

Germán Ibarra Zorrilla said...

Buen post, que variedad de pájaros. Saludos desde España amigo Phil.

Margaret Adamson said...

These are beautiful birds in hand but I cannot get over you have ringred 4500 Chaffinch

Chris Rohrer said...

Another nice group of birds. Thanks for the info on the Chaffinch. Pretty interesting birds along the others you have ringed?/banded. Right now we're seeing some interesting birds migrating through the area. Hope you find the same in your realm:)

Jen said...

I love your Goldfinch. Ours doesn't have that interesting face.

Linda said...

Awwwww....they are lovely, Phil!

Mary Cromer said...

Well it is so fascinating to learn how many Chaffinches alone, not to mention all of the other birds your hands have held... that is amazing! I wonder how long and how far many have traveled after you had human contact with them. I wish there was something like that near me..it would be so interesting. Happy Weekend Phil. Cold one here~

Stuart Price said...

Didn't know that about the males braving winter to hang on to territories............while the females enjoy winter in sunny Belguim.

David Gascoigne said...

Just curious - how many of your banded birds are recovered and are you notified of the details?

Kate said...

Beautiful photos.

sandyland said...

what a superb education you are I grew up with only gold and blacks

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! ~ Fantastic images of beautiful birds as always ~

Happy Weekend to you,
artmusedog and carol
www.acreativeharbor.com

Linda W. said...

Love the goldfinch! Such a beautiful bird.

Marie said...

Lovely goldfinch and chaffinch! I enjoyed reading the info about the chaffinch also.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful photos of the birds. I love the blackbird.

Lou Mary said...

What interesting info about the chaffs! Still waiting for large flocks of winter thrushes here, although the owner of the orchards near me has scrubbed them all :(

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