Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mostly Chaffs With Chiffs

After Saturday’s rain lasted until midnight it came as no surprise when our 6am start on the moss began not only soggy underfoot but also rather slow in terms of birds being around or becoming active. By 0730 Will and I had caught only 6 birds, but as the morning brightened and warmed up so did our tally of birds.

By 1130 the figures looked much better with a total of 45 birds of 10 species, 44 new and 1 recapture. New birds: 22 Chaffinch, 5 Goldfinch, 4 Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Robin, 2 Blackcap, 2 Dunnock, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Linnet and 1 Great Tit. The single recapture was a recently ringed Goldfinch.

The feature of this morning proved to be the Chaffinches, not hugely noticeable in terms of the numbers passing overhead but enough small groups to estimate a total north to south movement of 150+ birds, particularly if we catch 22 individuals. Although finches predominated again today we notched up more warblers in the Sylvia shapes of Whitethroat and Blackcap. The squeaks of Chiffchaffs also became noticeable once the air had warmed sufficiently for them to move around the plantation and we thought that our 4 birds could probably be doubled for the day count. We don't normally catch many Robins or Dunnocks here so the two of each today were thought to be migrants.



Great Tit

Today’s 4 Whitethroat pushed our year total here to 147 new birds. Below are two of today’s, a bright-eyed adult and a dark eyed juvenile.



It looked like the flies took a day off yesterday and then spent the morning drying off against the warm heavy metal of our motors.

Warming Up

Our birding followed a similar pattern to the ringing with increasing activity as the morning temperature rose. Overhead and/or north to south: 135 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 6 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Raven, 20+ Meadow Pipit. Locals: 2 Skylark, 50+ Goldfinch, 100+ Linnet, 2 Tawny Owl, 1 Little Owl.

Raptors proved obliging this morning, Buzzards in particular taking to the air after their rain sodden no-fly Saturday, with 11+ and a gang of 9 riding the same thermal to the south west about 11am. Also, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel and 1 Marsh Harrier over towards the Pilling Moss road again.



Seasons said...

For me the Great Tit does it - beautiful contrasts in plumage. All these birds are so tiny. Great concluding image of the flying Buzzard. I imagine, one reason you guys have to get up early is to put up the nets. Thanks Phil, for sharing these stats and images.

Christian said...

Excellent Buzzard shot Phil. It's not always easy to get the light right when they are above you. What metering do you use? Have you over-exposed to get this shot at all?


Phil said...

Hi Chrsitian, yes I try to overexpose if I remember too according to my previous shot. I like F7 or F8 for BIF. If none of the above Photoshop is always around! Thanks for looking in again.

Seasons, you are a gent.

grammie g said...

Hey didn't miss me did you I'm back to torment you!!

The reason those flies are all over the front of your car is probably because there is a dead body stuck up in your grill!

I am sorry about your weather,but I could send you the next hurricane then you will have something to complain about!!
Like 70 hours with electic power and then loss of the internet again after all that!! Feel sorry for me !!

Glad to see you are still out there slogging up to your knees for the sake of keeping an eye on the bird world!!


Mary Howell Cromer said...

I had never heard of a Chiffchaff before. What a sweet name for such a sweet little bird. The first image of the White Throat is sure a beauty. Wow, are you certain you did not spill a sweet drink on your car...that is a lot of flies. The flying Buzzard is a beaut too! I hope you have a brilliant week Phil. Take care~

Paco Sales said...

Habrá que limpiar el coche Phil, muy buenas capturas y unas poses elegantes que te ofrecen estás bellas aves, un abrazo para ti amigo Phil

La sonrisa de Hiperión said...

Estupendas las cosas que nos dejas. Un placer haber vuelto a pasar por tu casa.

Saludos y un abrazo.

eileeninmd said...

Hi PHil, another great bird post. Love the buzzard and this time the Great Tit is my favorite. Wonderful photos.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

The Greater Whitethroat is a handsome warbler. I've only seen its smaller relative, the Lesser Whitethroat and they both have totally different looks.

MaineBirder said...

Beautiful birds and great captures Phil!

mick said...

Great photos - again! I always find your descriptions of your birding counts interesting. So different from down here in Aus, btw I thought only the tropics were afflicted with insects like that :-) said...

I don't know how you manage make so good photos :) Thanks for sharing them so we can enjoy them :)

Kat said...

Hi there! Just dropped by from the Camera Critters bolg, wanted to let you know that I really enjoy this blog - so I'll join the minions and become a follower. Fantastic pictures, that takes a lot of patience and skill (and some luck , for sure :))

There's the occational bird featured over at my place, but more often it will be bird food (bugs and spiders ^^), feel free to have a peek around.

Amy said...

Neat birds. Love the light eyes on the adult Whitethroat. Those are a lot of flies... do the birds show any interest in them?

Phil said...

Hi everyone and thanks for your comments. To Mick and Amy in particular, all those flies were a bit of a one off because the air warmed so suddenly after a very wet period and they were looking for somewhere to dry out. There were lots of flies everywhere for the birds that morning.

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