Thursday, August 4, 2011


Wednesday evening - Will and I met up at Out Rawcliffe for a sundown ringing session, and a go at the Goldfinch roost we discovered late last week when about 300 birds took to the twilight gathering.

The evening started well when Will spotted a distant slow flying raptor with the tell-tale “V” profile. It was a male Marsh Harrier hunting the barley fields, and it did so on and off for the next hour or so but never came close enough for a decent photograph.

Marsh Harrier

We counted up to 100 Goldfinches into the roost but managed to catch 14 new ones. This would be a high percentage with only a hundred roosting, so we think we missed a chunk of birds arriving, perhaps from a hidden direction. It’s early days yet, but indications are that the roost holds mainly birds of the year, with once again this latest catch of all juveniles. A Goldfinch roost appears to be a new phenomenon in this part of the country, probably partly as a result of the Goldfinch population explosion, and so presents an area open for further study.


We finished with 34 birds, 29 new and 5 recaptures. New birds: 14 Goldfinch, 7 Long-tailed Tit, 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat and 1 Blackcap. Recaptures: 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Goldfinch and 1 Dunnock.

Willow Warbler

Long-tailed Tit

Other birds seen: circa 4000 Swallow, 8 Mistle Thrush, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 22 Linnet, but not forgetting Little Owl that watched us leave its patch.

Little Owl


Russell said...

Wow! Some very cute portraits.

Christian said...

Wow - a male Marsh Harrier! What a special bird to see without going to an actual Marsh Harrier territory like Leighton Moss. I'm very jealous. I'll be on the lookout during my exceptionally frequent visits to Out Rawcliffe.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The Longtailed Tit is so beautiful, what a lovely it is! Cool image of the Marsh Harrier Phil~

Friend of HK said...

The little owl is on guard!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...That said a V flight ...I tried to think what to call the fight pattern of the Kestrel,but couldn't come up with the right word... would that fit??
I would love to seen biords all roosting like that of the Goldfinch!!
Must be the Qwl endings!!

Stu said...

The Marsh Harrier is a great find, I'm still getting my head round these are not so unusual in the NW anymore, like lots of other species.........

Joyful said...

Lovely little bird photos. I especially like the "head shots".

La sonrisa de Hiperión said...

Que animales tan realmente bellos. Llevaba días sin comentar (cosas de las vacaciones) pero ya de nuevo por aquí.

Saludos y un abrazo.

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