Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Here And There

At last a half decent morning without that nagging breeze, a chance to go ringing at Oakenclough where at 0630 I met up with Andy and Dave. 

Our catching was steady and on the slow side. It was dominated by finches and signs of early returning birds with the recaptures of a Lesser Redpoll and a Siskin. The Siskin was first ringed 11th February 2016 and the Lesser Redpoll first ringed 25th March 2015. So they were both early springtime birds but neither of them recaptured in the intervening periods. 

Total birds processed 23 of just four species, including the two recaptures: 9 Goldfinch, 5 Siskin, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Chaffinch and 3 Dunnock. 

Siskin

Siskin

Siskin

Goldfinch

Lesser Redpolls can vary in colouration with some individuals showing greyish tones with whiter wing bars than a typically brown example. They are however not to be confused with Common Redpoll which is always bigger and longer winged. 

Top and bottom below are an adult female and an adult male respectively.  In the centre is a first winter male Lesser Redpoll that is greyer than the average, especially on the mantle and the underparts.  The adult male is the recapture from today, first ringed here on 25 March 2015. 

Lesser  Redpoll - adult female

 
Lesser Redpoll - first winter/spring male

Lesser Redpoll - adult male

Other birds seen during the course of our ringing: 3 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goosander, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Song Thrush. 

On the subject of Lesser Redpoll. A week or so ago and quite by accident I discovered that the Lesser Redpoll is also alive and well on the other side of the world - in New Zealand. This all began when a fellow ringer (bander) in New Zealand contacted me after reading about Lesser Redpolls on this blog. Being a curious sort I delved further and discovered that New Zealand hosts a large number of birds that were introduced from other countries, mostly by UK and other European settlers during the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. 

The reasons for introductions were the same as those in the transportation of non-native birds to North America and other continents like Australia - the settlers missed the sight and sound of birds from their homelands, mostly birds of the then rural landscape. 

The list of European species on the other side of the world may surprise you as it did me; as it includes species like Little Owl, Rook, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Yellowhammer, Cirl Bunting, Starling, House Sparrow and Dunnock. 

Chaffinch

A hundred and fifty years later less than a third of the species introduced managed to survive and breed in the wild, but some that did are now among the most common birds in New Zealand, especially the Lesser Redpoll. 

Don't forget. Login to Another Bird Blog soon for more news from here, there and everywhere.

Linking today to Anni's Birding Blog and Eileen's Saturday.



23 comments:

Stuart Price said...

Didn't know about Redpolls down under...........

Bill Nicholls said...

Phil they are some beautiful birds you netted this week. I remember my Primary School Headmaster Bill Cambell who used to net birds in the back garden of the school house and would bring the kids from school and tell them about what he caught. Might add some of the country's top birders were taught by him

Linda said...

I just love this series of birds, Phil, I absolutely love the sweet expressions and markings!

David Gascoigne said...

Hi Phil: if I am not mistaken I read recently that Lesser Redpoll is no longer considered a unique species, having been merged (remerged ?) with Common Redpoll. It was never assigned full species status by many taxonomic authorities. There is even a body of thought here that considers Arctic Redpoll as a subspecies of Common Redpoll. In other words they are all variants of the same species. Obviously when you have a bird in the hand and are able to take measurements there is enough variation between Lesser and Common to identify them. I wish this were true of Willow and Alder Flycatchers here in North America. When we band them we still categorize them as Traill's Flycatcher,the old name before they were split. In the spring when they are vocalizing it is easy to tell them apart, and habitat is a clue too. But in the hand - forget it!

Mary Cromer said...

Oh Goodness me the Chaffinch is absolutely brilliant, what a beautiful bird! Love the colours as well as that little expressive attitude...just darling. The Lesser Redpolls are always a great favorite too. Hope things are going well for you all~

Jenn Jilks said...

They are simply so sweet! What a great thing you do!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, beautiful captures of all the birds. I love the Siskins and Goldfinch. Happy Birding!

Lowcarb team member said...

What a beautiful set of photographs, and how nice to know about the NZ birds too.

We are blessed to have such a variety of birds and their colourings are so nice to see.

I hope the week has been good for you, enjoy the weekend.
Mine has started well, with a lovely Chicken Dinner and a glass of chilled white wine ... talking of which I must go and finish sorting it out!

All the best Jan

sandyland said...

amazes me weekly how different these goldfinches are than what I grew up with - adoring all

Villrose said...

Most of the birds are well-known, but Lesser Redpoll I never saw before.

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! ~ Gorgeous set of bird photography ~ love them all ~ thanks,

Wishing you a lovely weekend ~ ^_^

Hootin' ♥ Anni said...

Fantastic images...and as always so very informative reading Phil. You mentioned: "Lesser Redpolls can vary in colouration with some individuals showing greyish tones with whiter wing bars than a typically brown example. They are however not to be confused with Common Redpoll which is always bigger and longer winged." I learn so much from your birding posts...thank you.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful and cute little birds.

Jenn Jilks said...

I love your goldfinch. Ours are just gold! OK, yellow!!!!

Stewart M said...

One of the funny experiences in NZ was standing by a pool of boiling mud being serenaded by blackbirds and chaffinches - bit of a mixed message really!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Patrycja P. said...

These Fringillidae are so beaitiful :).

♥Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'♥ said...

Thanks, Phil, so much for your participation this weekend at I'd Rather B Birdin'! I never stop enjoying your birding photos and your expertise! Well done.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, wonderful post and photos. I just wanted to stop back and say thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

A Colorful World said...

Wonderful shots as always! Beautiful goldfinches, with their rich colors, and the chaffinch is so lovely!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) I have been trying to visit you for a while now, but only managed to do so today, and as always, it's a pleasure to see your beautiful bird photography. I photographed a Chaffinch through one of our windows today, but as my windows need cleaning, they turned out badly.:( I have seen the male Chaffinch around though, so may get another chance one day soon.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

British birds go everywhere! I'm glad they mostly do OK once they get 'exported.' But people do kind of interrupt the natural order of things don't we. Pretty pretty birds.

Lady Fi said...

Such lovely bird shots.

Felicia said...

the feathers of the siskin are so beautiful. how do you catch the birds.

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