Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday’s Birds

After a weekend of dire weather it was raining and blowing again on Monday. The only feasible birding was a pre-determined trip to the ringing site at Oakenclough where the birds need feeding every few days if they are to stay around. Eventually we’ll fit a ringing session in between the bouts of wind and rain but that looks unlikely all week. 

At Rawcliffe I clocked up the regular Mistle Thrush, Kestrel and Buzzard without stopping. Towards Oakenclough the sky was definitely brighter than down on the coast with even a hint of unaccustomed sunshine so I looked in the fields where last week I’d seen so many Fieldfares. The thrushes were there again but this time no Redwings mixed in, just Starlings. The flock was very flighty and stayed distant although I was eventually able to estimate their numbers as 350 Fieldfare and 300 Starlings. 
  
Fieldfares and Starlings

Fieldfare
Oakenclough, Lancashire

Closer to the roadside wall was a pair of Red-legged Partridge, a species I’m reluctant to photograph as they are the product of releases of many thousands of bird captive bred for winter shooting and therefore not a truly wild bird. After a month or two of shoots they become “wild” enough and prove difficult to approach, some even surviving the shoots and the winter to breed in coming years. It’s not the birds’ fault that our native Grey Partridge is all but extinct while this introduced invader inhabits the places that our Grey Partridge once did. The UK shooting industry seems to be a law unto itself, not subject to the proper checks, controls and public scrutiny that other businesses have to comply with. 

 Red-legged Partridge

At the feeding station a Kestrel sat perched above the feeders, keeping the small birds away for a while as it watched the ground below. We regularly see voles as we walk through the rank grass and heather and from the Kestrel’s position it appears that voles come out to feed amongst the seed we drop on the ground for finches. 

Kestrel

Around another set of feeders were the usual 20+ Goldfinch, 8 Chaffinch and good numbers of Blue Tit and Coal Tit plus lesser numbers of Great Tit. The feeders are emptying pretty quick and I’m sure that my numbers are gross underestimates, a simple snap shot of the small time spent on site when topping up. The next ringing session will reveal the true throughput of birds. 

I drove home via Winmarleigh stopping briefly for a distant fence-hopping Buzzard and a field with 160+ Lapwings ready for flying to roost. Yes it was 1530 too soon, the sun going down but just the right time for a Barn Owl, and even at 200 yards who could mistake that ghostly shape on the fence post? 

Buzzard

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Fingers crossed for more birding soon despite that rotten forecast.

Linking this post to Theresa's Thursday Blog and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.

17 comments:

eileeninmd said...

What a great outing, wonderful bird sightings! The Rough Legged Partridge is a pretty bid! I am envious how easy it is for you to see the Barn owls.. I wish I had that kind of luck.. Happy Birding!

Linda said...

Some beautiful birds, Phil! Thank you so much for sharing.

Margaret Adamson said...

WOW! You did well today with the birds you saw. I have yet to get that close to a Fieldfare to get a shot!

David Gascoigne said...

My word you are having a bad spell of weather. Here it is cold as you have observed but I much prefer it to incessant rain. At least you have a few birds to cheer you up. A Barn Owl would do it for me any day of the week!

Christian Weiß said...

Fantastic sights, like the owl.

Fun60 said...

Really enjoyed your post with those stunning photos of the barn owl.

Germán Ibarra Zorrilla said...

Los zorzales reales ya los tenemos por aquí, que maravilla de aves. Bonito post, mi amigo. Un abrazo desde España.

TexWisGirl said...

all so handsome! love the fieldfare!

Mary Cromer said...

Oh the Red-Legged Partridge, so, so lovely and the Kestrel very handsome and those 2 Barn Owl photos, what I would not give to see one. It has been 3 decades since I last saw a wild Barn Owl around here...they are low in count. I am afraid to speak too soon, but today has not been so bad for pain...hoping! Have a wonderful week!

Stuart Price said...

Always nice to see birds from home. I was photographing eagles a couple of days ago but 2 other birders on the same bridge were much more excited by a lone distant Lapwing (the same species as in the UK but scarce where I am).

Modesto Viegas said...

Good post!

Marie said...

Great photos. Man always mucks things up, doesn't he(she)! At least those who care can try to correct what can be corrected, at least. The partridge is very handsome, regardless. Love all your shots so much! I think the fieldfare has become one of my favorites through your blog.

Kevin and Janet Shaw Seizethedayrvadventures said...

Great Photos!

Neil said...

Hope the weather gets better soon.

Kristy LifenReflection said...

Love these, I had to share on my pinterest!

TexWisGirl said...

thanks, phil, for your fence perchers! :)

Ida said...

You capture some neat birds on those fence post. I'm partial to the owl shots. Also I've never seen a Red-legged partridge before, such a neat looking bird.

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