Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finch Fest

Will had maintained the bird feeding in his Garstang garden and promised us a good catch when the weather allowed the three of us, Will, Ian and I to finally make it there. The forecast was accurate but we were well prepared, paying due respect to the zero temperatures by donnning extra layers, woolly hats and thermals.

66 birds kept us fairly busy and stopped our fingers seizing up from the cold which hovered around freezing point all morning. Sue kindly provided us with copious coffee in hand warming mugs, not to mention the bacon butties that came with the compulsory brown sauce, all of which also kept the cold at bay; Garden ringing can be so civilized compared to some of the grotty situations that we ringers often find ourselves in.



Although the Chaffinch were a bit slow arriving, the Siskin were there from the off, calling excitedly from the tops of the alders in the half light and we caught three of them on the first net round then another later on when the tardy Chaffinch arrived for a feed.

The four hour session saw us catch the following birds, of which pretty much 50% comprised finch species:
Siskin 4
Goldfinch 6
Chaffinch 21
Greenfinch 1
Blue Tit 17
Coal Tit 3
Blackbird 3
Great Tit 7
Dunnock 1
Robin 2
Nuthatch 1

We caught an interesting adult male Goldfinch that had flecks of yellow/gold in the red of the plumage around its head. I wouldn’t say we catch many Goldfinch in the course of a year but perhaps enough to say we may have seen this before, but none of us had. Picture below.

In between the ringing we noted both a male and a female Sparrowhawk that passed by separately for a brief look at what was on offer, a couple of Redwing and two Collared Dove. There are a couple of Treecreepers in Will’s garden that not only visit the bird table but also feed on the ground below the table and it was most interesting to watch them creeping across the hard standing picking up morsels of food, naturally we christened them “Groundcreepers”. The garden also has a healthy population of very clever House Sparrow who totally avoid going anywhere near our nets.








Sharon said...

Great set of photos Phil, love the "spotty" Goldfinch - sounds silly but I always forget how small birds are until I see a photo of one in somebody's hand!

Errol said...

Phil: I've always found that the speckly headed GO turn out to be 5Ms (nasal hairs & tail shape, sometimes on ogc); how did this one turn out? E

mick said...

Great photos and very nice to be able to see all the birds up close.

Bob Kaufman said...

Excellent shots of the different finches (and nuthatch, too!)

Larry said...

Super photos of all the birds Phil. Interesting Spotty Goldfinch. Your goldfinches over there are much more brightly colored than ours in the US.

Interesting also the terminology differences, what you call ringing over there, we call banding in North America.

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness...that goldfinch portrait is exquisite. All of your photos are beautiful.

S.C.E. said...

Well I've never seen a Treecreeper on the ground before.............

Phil said...

Thanks everyone for your positive comments. Errol, we made the goldf an adult. But the spottiness is something I hadn't seen before, mainly because dont catch many in a normal year.

Tabib said...

Beautiful pictures!
I have never see and done any bird ringing before.
In fact very few people in Malaysia done this.
I only know Dave Bakewell that lead the Whistling Thrush project that done it.
Perhaps I can follow him one day.

Angad Achappa said...

Nice photos Phil, loved the last portrait of the Nuthatch, its brilliant!
Angad Achappa

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