Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mixed Fortunes

Will and I met up at 6am start for our Rawcliffe Moss ringing session today. We set our usual quota of nets, some that might catch warblers, and yet other nets in finch feeding spots. We didn’t get too many species but found several of this year’s targets with more Goldfinches and Whitethroats to add to those already caught this year.

In all we processed 42 birds, 31 new and 11 recaptures. New birds: 12 Goldfinch (11 juveniles, 1 adult), 10 Whitethroat (9 juveniles, 1 adult), 4 Willow Warbler (3 adults, 1 juvenile), 3 Blackcap and 2 Dunnock. Recaptures: 7 Goldfinch, 2 Sedge Warbler and 2 Whitethroat.

A quick check of our Goldfinch total for June/July reveals 59 individuals, 53 juvenile birds of the year and 6 adults; this is a healthy proportion of youngsters which points to the continuing success of this species and a good breeding season, as yet only part way through. In comparison, the 43 Whitethroats caught in June/July comprise 9 adults and 34 juveniles, healthy enough proportions after a slow start.

Goldfinch - juvenile


In absolute contrast to the latter two species, the age ratios of 23 Willow Warblers captured here in June/July are reversed with 18 adults but only 5 juveniles. This is a fairly small sample on which to base any conclusions but does seem to bear out field observations and a general impression of a poor breeding year for Willow Warblers.

Willow Warbler



We continue to catch good numbers of Goldfinch because in July we already employ niger feeders in the plantation, where the Goldfinches took a week or so to find new feeders but are now literally all over them. As seed forms on their natural foods it will be interesting to see how our feeders perform.

Goldfinch - juvenile

Goldfinch - juvenile

Our birding morning proved fairly uneventful with the usual fare and as yet no sign of visible migration but possibly the beginnings of a Swallow roost somewhere in the area: Sightings: 2 Kestrel, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 18 Tree Sparrow, 70+ Swallow, 3 Buzzard, 1 Reed Bunting, 5 Skylark, 2 Yellowhammer and a Little Owl on a Big Post.

Little Owl


grammie g said...

Hey Phil...first I have to say the photo of the finches with there tails crossed is pretty good timing!!
I wonder if that has any meaning like humans having there fingers crossed!!lol
It good to see you are diligent at work ringing and seaching out the the facts on the birds of the UK!!
Kestrels next I promoise!!

Vinni said...

Wow, I love those birds, do you actually catch them?

B i r g i t t a said...

Great photos of the birds!

Paco Sales said...

Que bello el joven jilguero, unas fotos muy bien realizadas Phil, un abrazo para ti amigo

Nikki-ann said...

Such beautiful birds. I do love our little British birds.

S K Ditta said...

An excellent bird feeder; every little bird has generous space and food. Very nice close-ups. Slowly I am getting familiar with the names. Putting names with bird species has always been a problem with me, despite numerous reminders. Any tips? Thanks Phil.

Andy said...

The owl photo made me laugh :)
Good one!

Kay L. Davies said...

I love those young ones at the feeder, Phil. Typical old lady: "Ooh, I love babies, and I love birds, and I love baby birds, too."
Your photos are always so beautifully detailed.

—Kay, Alberta, Canada

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Very good and nice post.


La sonrisa de Hiperion said...

Estupendos los pájaros que nos has dejado.

Saludos y un abrazo.

Unknown said...

Interesting about the Willow Warbs Phil, been very few up here also so maybe it's a bad year all over the country for them. Other species seem to have done very well though, Siskin, Goldfinch Swallow and House Martin juvies by the bucket load up here.

eileeninmd said...

Great photo, Phil! I lov ethe Goldfinches and that little owl is adorable. What great sightings.

Sgaorishal said...

I've checked out my nest records for Willow Warbler promted by your blog. i
In 2010 I found 8 nests, average number of eggs 6.0, and average pulli 5.75 all of which fledged.
In 2011 I found 18 nests averaging 5.33 eggs (although quite a few found at the chick stage) and average pulli 4.67. I didn't manage to check every nest for successful fledging but a couple had 1 chick that died between ringing and fledging. So 2011 has been a poorer year up here. I blame the poor weather in May but there should be some migrants heading your way from up here.

Phil Slade said...

Hi everyone and thank you for all your comments.

Seasons, just keep up the practice with a good field guide.

Sgaorishal & Dave, thanks for your information from Scotland, we had a poor May and June which may have done for wilwas locally. The BTO will tell us later in the year from CBC and ringing data.

NatureFootstep said...

I love the photo of the black cap male. Loosk cool somehow. Proud! I hope that soon I will learn how to ring a bird. Have not done that yet. :)

NF Fåglar/Birds
Birds in Costa Rica

Neil said...

Great photos.

mick said...

Another very interesting post. I assume that your count and ringing numbers all go to a central data base. Do you get figures back to tell you how numbers are going for the rest of the country. The photo of the little owl on the big post is cute!

MaineBirder said...

Wonderful post and photos! Love your header image.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Hi Little Owl! Your Goldfinches are really neat looking, loving the feather pattern on their wings~

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