Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year Birds

Like many others I’ve been laid up with a dreadful cough/cold and sinusitis for the past ten days, my traditional January misery. “That’s what you get for standing around in draughty, cold and wet fields bird watching” was the predictable response from Sue. Despite the lack of sympathy I soldiered on and limited my birding to a couple of trips to top up the feeding station. Andy is also out of action for a week or more after his minor knee operation so the job falls to yours truly until I find him a walking stick. 

On the way to Oakenclough today I paused at Out Rawcliffe to note both a Kestrel and Buzzard and then stopped to watch a flock of about 40 Fieldfares and a few Redwings feeding in a field of maize stubble. It’s at this time of year, when autumn fruits are more or less depleted, that Fieldfares earn their name by taking to feeding in fields rather than hawthorn hedgerows. Redwings adopt the same feeding strategy and mix freely with their larger relative. The thrushes were wary of my car at the roadside and also watchful of a number of Black-headed Gulls intent on stealing any substantial items of food rather than finding their own. 

Fieldfare

A Redwing doesn’t actually have a red wing, the area of red plumage is situated on the flanks beneath the armpit, and not always visible, but it’s easy to see how the bird acquired the name. 

Redwing 

The partly tidal river here is traditional haunt of Goosanders so I wasn’t surprised to see 4 males in flight, an incidental and early year tick for someone who takes such things seriously. 

East of Garstang Town and following a number of journeys this way I again saw a pair of Buzzards in a now familiar spot, and a little further on a Kestrel dashing from the same stretch of ivy covered trees noted on my last drive. It’s surprising how easy it is to begin to build up a picture of the species which inhabit an area, and a foot survey of this locality could yield interesting results for anyone looking to adopt a “local patch”. I don’t know of many birders in this very rural and attractive part of Lancashire, not since Professor Lane left for Hampshire and A.N.Other took semi-retirement from birding. Maybe the ones left like to keep a low profile? It‘s often a good idea. 

The feeding station held a welcome but expected bird of 2015 in the shape of a niger feeding Siskin, just the one but it’s a start. We’re hoping that once the alder cones lose their autumn succulence the local Siskin population will turn to our well-stocked feeders. I’m happy to report no further thefts of feeders at the moment, so fingers crossed for a Siskin-filled February and March, the months of the year in which to expect Siskins at feeders.

Siskin
 
Also in the locality and on or around the feeders, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Goldcrest, 25+ Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 8 Chaffinch and the usual titmice, Coal Tit numbers in the ascendant. 

I took a look on a few fields close by and found a fairly distant mixed flock of approximately 250+ Fieldfare, 25 Redwing and 140 Starling, plus 3 Mistle Thrush. I imagine that the Mistle Thrush are local birds as there is a healthy population up here. The others will winter hereabouts as a roaming and so unpredictable flock until they head back North in February, March or even April.

It was good to get out in the fresh air, banish the sniffles and open up my 2015 notebook to a good few entries. 

Catch more birds soon from Another Bird Blog.

Linking this post to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.

25 comments:

Jo said...

So sorry to hear you've been ill. I've never heard of a Fieldfare but it looks a lot like our Wattled Starling. Happy New Year to you and yours. And Happy 2015 Birding.

David Gascoigne said...

Ah that Sue, doing what a dutiful wife should do, reminding you of all the dumb things you do. But tell her from moi that birding is NEVER dumb. You just sometimes have to face this most important of life's activities with bravery and fortitude. I salute you for this dedication, far from reproaching you. A sniffle, a cough, a cold - all well worth it, and you probably would have got them anyway!Tell her that soon you will go to the pub, get blind drunk and sleep in a snow bank. Now THAT's dumb!

TexWisGirl said...

no sympathy. no respect. :)

eileeninmd said...

Sorry you are not feeling well, I hope you are well soon. Love this series of birds, the Siskin is pretty! Happy birding, have a great week!

Linda said...

Phil, I am so sorry you haven't been feeling well. Homemade chicken soup, garlic, onions, ginger tea and plenty of rest should help to heal and comfort you. I love your birds.

Fun60 said...

Hopefully you're on the mend now and have the energy to keep an eye on all the birds flying your way this coming week.

carol l mckenna said...

Feel better soon ~ colds come from 'germs' not standing out in cold or getting wet' ~ so no guilt on you!

Great bird photography ~ each one is fascinating!

Happy New Year to you,
artmusedog and carol

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Fantastic!!! .. Happy New Year ..

Felicia said...

sure hope you are 100 % again soon. There seems to be alot of sickness around this time of the year.

Russell Jenkins said...

Thank you for teaching me the reasons the birds are so named, Phil. Very interesting, indeed. I hope you get over your sniffles soon. It is better for the mind to be out with the birds than spending days within 4 walls. Hope you have a nice year.

Hannah said...

I always almost see a Robin when I look at a Fieldfare, I did see a Robin this week which surprised me since I thought they had all flown south. To bad people were stealing your feeders, that's beyond words. I hope you are feeling better, my grandkids expose me to lots of cold germs but none have settled into the full-blown cold stage, and I was prone to terrible sinus infections, since I started sleeping almost nightly with my Z4eX EXTREME 3 Frequency Hulda Clark zapper from ebay, I don't sell them.

mick said...

Interesting birds and birding. Sorry about the colds and flu - but when I read about the kind of weather and cold you have over there I am surprised that everyone just doesn't hibernate for the winter! All I have to put up with over here is weather that goes too hot - rather than just hot!

Stuart Price said...

Hope the Redwing didn't catch your cold...............

Margaret Adamson said...

I am sure you are feeling better now. Lovely to hand hold a Fieldfare and Redwing.

Modesto Viegas said...

Very good post!
Happy New Year!
:-)

HansHB said...

Great photos!
Happy New Year to you!

Adam Jones said...

Great looking Fieldfare and Redwing. Sorry to hear you've been unwell. Hope you're on the mend soon.

Chris Rohrer said...

I hope you start feeling better. You're right....all the dreary cold weather has an affect on the body. I went to New Mexico last year and they went from freezing cold to hot in one day. What followed afterwards was hell.

Thanks for the ID info on the Redwing. It's stored up in this little brain of mine. Happy New Year! And feel better.

Janice Adcock said...

I am in awe with birders being able to recognize the subtle differences.

Powell River Books said...

My mother used to have a feeder on her apartment deck. I loved to watch the birds come and go. - Margy

Lea said...

Great photos!
Hope you are feeling better soon
Lea

Mary Cromer said...

I do hope that you are feeling much better. Knock on wood, it has been 5 or 6 years next month, since I was down with cold, or flu, now we shall not mention all of the other trials of illnesses...That Fieldfare's colouring is really beautiful. Take good care and I am betting you can come up with a walking stick for your friend while out on your birding adventures~

Karen said...

Must be awesome to hold birds! Hope you are feeling better soon!

Gunilla Bäck said...

I hope you're feeling better. We all had the flu around Christmas. I slept a few days away before the worst was over.

Marie said...

Great photos! So sorry to hear about your cold (and Andy's knee!) Take zinc and drink hot lemonade. Hope you get better soon!

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