Friday, August 28, 2015

Escape To The Hills

Just lately my local patch has become rather crowded as folk arrive at Conder Green targeting the ever elusive Spoonbill and looking for the more recent Lesser Yellowlegs. Even the Yellow Wagtails of Cockerham Marsh have received attention from folk who no longer see the species, so rare has it become. 

I also saw a couple of twitchers at Fluke Hall, maybe looking for Green Sandpipers but surely not Tree Sparrows? One never knows for sure these days when bird watching is learnt back to front, the rarest first and the most common species last. 

 Yellow Wagtail

With a brief lull in the wind I decided to head for the hills of Oakenclough for a spot of ringing. I managed three hours before the wind arrived again, this time bringing heavy showers prompting an early finish. An interesting session saw me catch 20 birds of 7 species, one of which was a species I’d not handled for almost 30 years, the last time in 1988. 

The numbers were 5 Chaffinch, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Coal Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Chiffchaff and 1 Bullfinch. The Fylde Ringing Group has ringed only 23 (now 24) Bullfinch in its 30 years of existence. It was in 1988 that I last ringed a Bullfinch at Winmarleigh Hall, a year or two before that lovely old woodland was sold to developers to create an “educational adventure playground”. 

Yes the Bullfinch is a rarity on the coast where I live, becomes more marginally common inland but is never widespread and certainly never ever numerous. Today’s Bullfinch was a recently fledged juvenile, a "3J", and with being so late in the month of August, probably from a second brood. 

Bullfinch

Bullfinch

The first year Lesser Redpoll below is in the process of renewing its centre tail feathers, the newer ones destined to be a rounder shape and of different colouration to the outermost pointed and now worn ones of birth. 

Lesser Redpoll

Meanwhile an adult male Lesser Redpoll is renewing its flight feathers, the older and slightly bleached outer primaries markedly different to those feathers which are both new and still growing. Many birds are rather scruffy at the time of year when they are in various stages of moult. 

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

The adult’s tail feathers are new, fresh and rounded in comparison to the pointed tail feathers of a first year bird. The characteristic of tail shapes is very common in finches and other bird families but there are exceptions designed to trap the unwary. 

Lesser Redpoll

Chaffinch

Birding in between the ringing saw 140+ Swallows, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 15+ Siskin and 1 Buzzard. 

The current weather forecast doesn’t improve much so I may not escape to anywhere at the weekend. If I do, read about it here on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to I'd Rather Be Birding and  Eileen's Saturday Blog.

22 comments:

Vandana Sharma said...

This job is so lovely!

David Gascoigne said...

Now that I am so proficient in this whole banding business I'll have to come over there and help you, give you a few instructions, critique your technique, make sure you do it right....you know, generally be pleasant and helpful. And I'll even bring a supply of Miriam's delicious homemade blueberry muffins!

Margaret Adamson said...

This year i saw a male Bullfinch two days in a row in my gardeen adn for the past 3 days I have had a Willow Warbler (Never before) Loved seeing al the birds in hand.

Linda said...

I love all your birds today, Phil, I cannot pick a favourite!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Dang those amateur twitchers! If I were there I'd want to shadow a professional one (like you). I'm envious of all you see and grateful for all you share.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, I think it would be interesting to start with the rare bird sightings and end with the more common birds. I always enjoy see your ringing birds up close. The Redpoll is one of my favorites. Great post! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

So very interesting. I always enjoy reading about your 'banding'...what you call ringing of the feathered friends.

Lea said...

Great photos and interesting information!

EG CameraGirl said...

You are seeing quite a variety of birds! Birding has been rather slow here. It has been a strange year.

sandyland said...

I always find the chaffinch fascinating probably because rare to me in Fl

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I am not a birder and the variety of birds and how beautiful they are amazes me. Great closeup shots of the various birds.

Karen S. said...

Thank you for such incredible photos.

Mama Zen said...

Splendid shots!

Shey Wicklund said...

It's a shame that some birds are getting rarer in your area. I hope they won't totally disappear. Is it because they've changed their routes? Great post and photos as always.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Hi Phil, congrats on the Bullfinch. Thanks for mentioning that bit about molting, I got a pic of a mockingbird that seemed rather decrepit but I bet this is the explanation.
~

Anni said...

Here earlier today, of course, with my alias, Hootin' Anni...but again, Phil, I must add that I'd really like to experience this ringing. I wouldn't know where to begin...I guess the Audubon Society would be a good place to start asking questions.

LOVE the close up...those eyes...oh, those eyes.

Thanks for adding your link to this incredible post at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend.

Errol Newman said...

Nice haul, Phil. At least you got the nets up; we're suffering the wrong sort of wind and rain - the daytime sort!

Marie C said...

How awesome to get to see the Redpolls feathers up close. Enjoyed the photos of these birds and the others!

NC Sue said...

Very nice photos!!!
Thank you for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/strange-visitors-in-garden.html

NC Sue said...

Very nice photos!!!
Thank you for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/strange-visitors-in-garden.html

Bob Bushell said...

The Bullfinch chick is special, and the Yellow Wagtail is beautiful, thanks Phil.

Alan T K Lee said...

He he, this one caught my attention because I initially read: Escape to the Blue Hills. Lol. Lovely pics and interesting stories as per usual.

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