Friday, September 2, 2011

Return Of The Goldfinches

The overnight south-easterly dropped a vagrant Ortolan Bunting into Fleetwood, an event which almost certainly caused a temporary spike in petrol sales for miles around, but out on the moss some seven miles inland Will and I were more worried the breeze might disrupt another vital ringing session. We placed our nets carefully so as to avoid the strength of the breeze, so once again caught steadily but with the species list taking a turn away from the warblers of recent weeks.

In all we totalled 36 birds of 8 species, 31 new birds and 5 recaptures, the bulk of the catch made up of finches. New birds: 19 Goldfinch, 6 Chaffinch, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Great Tit, 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Goldcrest. Recaptures: 4 Goldfinch and 1 Blackcap.

Having been largely absent from the plantation for weeks the local Goldfinches seemed to re-find our Niger feeders today, no doubt due to their natural food becoming quickly depleted. Their moult and resulting plumage variations continue to test our ageing and sexing skills, the bird below a relatively easily determined juvenile male.


The juvenile male Goldcrest we caught was the first of species this autumn and as usual it will be fascinating to see how many or how few we catch in the coming weeks. Whilst Goldcrest is the smallest British bird, today’s tipping the scale at 5.7 grams, Chiffchaffs run them a close second with the two today weighing in at 5.7 and 6.5 grams respectively.



Even today’s Willow Warbler was small, a juvenile female with a wing length of 60mm and weighing just 7.7 grams.

Willow Warbler

Visible migration was fairly invisible this morning, perhaps due to the aforementioned breeze and fairly dense cloud in all directions, but particularly to the north. Noticeable were however a party of 9 Mistle Thrush headed south and then later 6 Sand Martins similarly southward bound. A negligible count of Meadow Pit with less than 10 “over” in our four plus hours, but still approximately 120 Swallows in evidence.

Raptors today: 1 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard and 1 distant Marsh Harrier over towards Pilling Moss again.

Oh yes, 1 Little Owl.

Little Owl


Errol said...

The thistle heads have only just burst here and the Goldies have found them. Helps that the fields have been cut, too, and looking forward to catching lots more from now on.
Not had any Chiffs below 6.5g (females) or 7.3g (males). Top weight for them 9.6g

Kay L. Davies said...

That little Goldcrest is officially Kay's Favourite of the Day, Phil. SO tiny and sweet. (Oh, don't you just hate non-birders who make sappy remarks like that?)
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wow, Phil, the wee little Goldcrest weighs in not much more than a Ruby-throated Hummingbird does when it is ready to migrate. What a lovely colour it is, sweetness. Have a great and safe weekend~

Seasons said...

The juvenile Goldfinch and Goldcrest (the latter is a first for me) show great promise of beautiful plumage. These little finches are beautiful. Always delightful when you add a picture of an Owl. Thanks Phil!

eileeninmd said...

The goldfinches are one of my favorite birds from your part of the world. They are so pretty and colorful. And that Little Owl is adorable. Great shots.

NatureFootstep Birds said...

my favourite is the little Goldcrest. I have only seen it once but is hoping to see it again. Nice shots.

euthymic said...

Those are a lot of different birds you got, amazing what the wind can bring. Loved the owl shot:)

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Very nice post and excellent photos.


Anonymous said...

Such gorgeous photos - as usual.

Rhea said...

Very nice bird photo! And that little owl is just adorable!

Chris said...

I would be scare to crash the goldcrest in my fingers there are so small :-) THe little owl shot is gorgeous!

jabblog said...

Delightful photographs. We haven't seen Goldfinches or Goldcrest in our garden for a long time.

Ari said...

Gorgeous pictures as usual, Phil, your post always make my day more interesting..Thanks Phil...

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