Monday, January 11, 2016

Taking A Chance

This hobby of mine is about taking every available opportunity to grab the camera, head off birding or plan a ringing session, especially so during the historic wet and windy winter of 2015/16. Yet again Sunday’s weather forecast looked likely to sabotage any chance of a birding or ringing session in the week ahead as tightly packed isobars drew ever decreasing circles on the charts. 

Then late on Sunday afternoon a window of light winds and zero rain opened up in the centre of the low pressure system sitting directly over Oakenclough. I sent a text to Andy - Ringing 0800? A message came right back. Andy was game. 

It proved to be a good decision when our four hour session produced a respectable total of 66 birds, but for us, an unusually high number of recaptures. We had 28 new birds comprising 9 Chaffinch, 7 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 7 Blue Tit and 4 Coal Tit. The single Siskin caught was an adult female in fine condition. 

Siskin

Goldfinch

The remaining 38 recaptures were made up of 3 Goldfinch, 2 Chaffinch, 10 Coal Tit, 11 Blue Tit, 10 Great Tit and 2 Dunnock. 

Chaffinch

The unusually high numbers of recaptures of the tit family in the last two visits here suggest that the mild winter of zero frosts and nil snowfall has allowed many birds to survive, individuals which might otherwise have perished. Additionally today we noted that a nearby house which normally has full bird feeders had allowed the said feeders to become empty and to lead more birds to visit our own feeding station where we prefer that the Nyger feeders catch finches only.  Our objectives of ringing at Oakenclough include catching good numbers of finches and if possible to avoid catching large numbers of the titmice family, an aim realised to good effect since recommencing ringing at the site in late 2104. 

Hopefully the tits will leave the immediate area soon and allow us to concentrate on catching migrant Siskins and Lesser Redpolls, not to mention the newly arrived warblers of the burgeoning Spring. 

Blue Tit

Coal Tit

Dunnock

Back home I noted an increase in garden Goldfinches, Blackbirds on territory and Great Tits taking an interest in a nest box. Things are looking up.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday in Australia.

18 comments:

Linda said...

Beautiful, Phil! I used to have a pair of zebra finches and they were the sweetest, gentlest birds, and the male could sing up a storm! :)

Wally Jones said...

Very happy to hear you finally had a good break in the weather! With those numbers, it appears you took full advantage of the opportunity. It's hard to believe you are already seeing hints of spring preparations but, as you pointed out, it's likely a result of the mild winter. Hope a late freeze doesn't catch some "early birds" unawares.

Here's hoping more "windows" of opportunity open up for your birding and ringing!

David Gascoigne said...

Wow, you guys are ahead of the game. You're already banding in the next century!

David Gascoigne said...

It still says you started ringing in 2104!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, so glad you had a break in the rain! It is great that the homeowners agreed to stop feeding the birds so you could do your ringing. I love both the Siskin and your pretty Goldfinch! Great photos. Enjoy your week!

Fun60 said...

I have an image of you looking out of the window with camera and binoculars at the ready waiting for that break in the clouds!

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I agree with Fun60!! I can see the image of you and your camera at the window and ready!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Have a great new year and a wonderful new week!!

carol l mckenna said...

Magnificent photography of such beautiful birds ~ Worth the risk, eh? Thanks!

Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

Jo said...

Great that you had good weather. We've just had much needed rain and hope for more! Now that we're not in East Africa (and birding in the African bush at every possible opportunity) I keep a strict eye on the many birds visiting our garden. And am rewarded amply! I'll post on WBW tomorrow. Happy birding to you Phil. Thanks for always sharing this LBB's which are so special for me to view. Greetings Jo (South Africa)

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Very nice captures of all the birds. The Blue Tit is my favourite. On your header you have a photo of a Black Redstart, which looks slightly different than the one I have posted, and I'm wondering why!!!

Breathtaking said...

Hello again! Thank you so much for your comment Phil.I believe you are correct about it being a juvenile, and I just assumed it was a female Black Redstart because a male Black Redstart kept coming to and fro with food in it's beak. I didn't actually see it feeding the one in question, and don't even know if the male does feed it's young.
It did look a little light in colour, so you may be right. I'll look out for them next year. I certainly need more experience at identifying the birds I see on the farm. Thank you again!:)

HOOTIN ANNI said...

We have plenty of sunshine today also!!! And guess what Bud and I did first thing? Yep, birding...well, mostly just walking the beach, but I had my camera readied...just in case.

As always, a perfect post. Enjoy your holiday in Spain by the way!!!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wonderful photos!

mick said...

Great photos and very beautiful little birds. I know your goal is to catch and ring birds but just think of your readers all over the world - like me! - that get so much enjoyment from reading about your birding activities. Thanks!!

Mary Cromer said...

The lovely little Dunnock, the Coal Tit, and Blue Tit, along with Fnches, are such beauties. You may send those little Tits my way, but I am thinking they would have a rough go getting cross the big pond in between. Having some down days and trying so hard to feel better. Maybe when Spring arrives...goodness that seems forever from now. Having had no vacation since 2014 seems to have caught up too. Oh well, carry on with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. Have a great remainder to your week~

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I'm glad for the break in the weather. The birds you show today seem even more colorful than usual....really made me smile.

Marie C said...

Glad you had such a great ringing session! So nice of the weather to cooperate! What is it about the blue tit that it just looks like the dictionary expression of sweetness!!!

Kay L. Davies said...

I can't begin to choose a favourite, Phil, from all these lovely birds. So nice, though, to be visiting you and your birds again.
K

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