Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Sunday Job

There was rain and then the wind blew my garden feeding station to the ground so the prospects for a morning’s birding weren’t good. Nonetheless there was a job to do at Oakenclough where the ringing station needed checking for a top up of bird seed, so I set off inland. 

It has not been much of a Fieldfare autumn so at Out Rawcliffe I was pleased to find a flock of 80 or more Fieldfares feeding in a stretch of roadside hawthorns. It’s a traditional and so almost guaranteed location to find the species, even when they can’t be seen elsewhere. I do wonder whether it is simply that the species homes in on the wealth of red berries hereabouts or if there is an element of a few individuals returning year after year to a known food source and bringing new birds along? 

As one of the larger and more robust members of the thrush family of birds, but bearing in mind it is highly migratory with all those attendant risks, an individual Fieldfare can be fairly long lived. Through the ringing of Fieldfares the longevity record of 18 years is held by a Finnish bird, in stark contrast to an average life expectancy of 2 or 3 years.

"Click the pics" for a light-box show.

Fieldfare

Fieldfare

There was a roadside Jay which scuttled off as my car approached and then the flap-glide-flap of a Sparrowhawk across the nearby field. I rather hoped the hawk wasn’t targeting the Fieldfares but they often do. 

As I neared Oakenclough I found a wary flock of 60/80 roadside Chaffinches, the birds scattering into nearby trees as I slowed to look. I switched off the engine then looked and listened for a while hoping to see or hear a Brambling or two but none showed. So far this is not a "Brambling Winter".

Chaffinch

Watercolour - Oakenclough, Lancashire

The feeding station had been well used with the niger and other seed depleted together with signs of trampling underfoot. Looks like we are fattening up the sportsmen’s pheasants in addition to feeding our own little brown jobs. Best to avoid a ringing session on a Tuesday when the hills echo to the sound of gunfire.

Pheasant

At or around the feeding station - 2 Bullfinch, 4 Blackbird, 15+ Chaffinch, 15+ Goldfinch, 2 Pied Wagtail and 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, plus the usual selection of Robins, Dunnocks and titmice, mainly Coal Tit. 

Robin

Goldfinch

The weather forecast for the week ahead looks truly awful with strong westerly winds and lots of rain predicted to Friday which means that Andy and I may struggle to find a suitable day for ringing.

Oakenclough in Black & White 

Not to worry. If there’s a half a chance Another Bird Blog will be out there birding and blogging as ever.

Linking today to Stewart'sWorld Bird Wednesday.


23 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, it is great to find a spot with a lot berries. There is sure to be a number of birds around.. Great count on the Fieldfare and the Chaffinches! I feel sorry for the Pheasants, I hope they run and hide..Beautiful shots of all the birds. Have a great week and happy birding!

TexWisGirl said...

just beauties!

Linda said...

They are all gorgeous and delightful!

David Gascoigne said...

I have never seen a Fieldfare and would love to do so. I have never been in Britain at the right time, I guess.

Margaret Adamson said...

All great shots

Mary Cromer said...

Such beautiful birds, including the gorgeous Pheasant that I might add, I hope does not show up on anyone's dining table. I had it once, it is very tasty, but I was a young girl and then my heart became attached to their beauty along with Rabbit and I can never eat of it again... I am such a wimp ;) Happy week~

Gunilla Bäck said...

Gorgeous birds all of them. I can't wait for them to return in the spring.

Wally Jones said...

Once again, despite adverse weather conditions, you prove that birding is usually more productive when one actually ventures out of doors.

Wonderful photographs all! The image of the Goldfinch really shows off its beautiful plumage. The Chaffinch and Fieldfare seem to have subtle colors not obvious in a field guide.

Now that you have confessed to inherent dangers of birding/ringing in Britain during hunting season, I feel better and safer amongst my alligators and snakes. :)

I really enjoyed your report, Phil.

Perhaps you'll have a favorable break in the forecasted weather and be able to get out this week.

All The Best.

Jane Hards Photography said...

Your bird close ups are fantastic and shows what a variety you can attract.

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

The pheasant looks so very majestic.Wonderful birds and wonderful captures.

Fun60 said...

Just love the photo of the goldfinch.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Is that fog? Oh my goodness how I love foggy days!!! Beautiful.

Of course you know what I think of your birding shares. Lovely...as always [I haven't seen a pheasant in real time in eons!!! Wayyyyy back when I was a child in fact.]

carol l mckenna said...

Phil ~ your bird photography is exquisite as always!

Happy Week,
artmusedog and carol

Christian Weiß said...

Great photos and observations.

Russell Jenkins said...

Really enjoyed the lightbox show, Phil. Nice colours. 18 years is a fine life for a bird of that size. I wonder what stories it could tell.

Judith Gray said...

Brilliant collection of photos. I particularly love the beautiful Gold Finch - stunning.

Jen said...

I can't decide whether my favorite is the pheasant or the goldfinch. He looks red, white, and blue in the photo, almost.

CountryMouse said...

That Robin and the Goldfinch are handsome birds. You see so much. That area looks beautiful, I love the fog and the hills.

Adam Jones said...

Smashing pictures and love the Fieldfare

Christian Perrin said...

Gorgeous birds - I never tire of the beauty of a Robin or Goldfinch. The Fieldfares are interesting too. How such little birds can fly such long distances (and live as long as a well-fed housepet in doing so!) is a wonder.

Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla said...

Beautiful pictures! I really like the pheasant, so pretty!

Errol Newman said...

Nice perched pilaris, Phil. Ages since I handled one.

Marie said...

Oakenclough has such a lovely name...and your photos of it are so lovely! An 18 year old Fieldfare! Wow! The bird banding is such a great way of tracking the populations. I appreciate the work you and others do. Your photos of each bird are just so stunning!

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