Saturday, October 22, 2011

Still Waiting

The early morning text exchanges made the decision. Yes, it was a bit breezy but Will and I could go to the moss for a “vis mig” count, top up the feeders, and then if anywhere was sheltered, try and catch a few more thrushes. Any day now there should be a wave of northern thrushes heading over the mosslands, all we have to do is hit the right morning.

Saturday Sunrise

We set nets in the only two rides undisturbed by the south-easterly breeze, then listened and watched out for Redwings and Fieldfares, but also Song Thrushes and Blackbirds, both very much migrant species here in October. There was an initial flurry of mainly Redwings, about 130, with smaller number of less than 30 Fieldfares, both species heading slow, low and south into the headwind, but in the less than ideal conditions the burst of activity stopped quite quickly. So we still await a large push of birds, hopefully we will be there when it eventually takes place.

The sheltered “Niger” net caught most of the 12 birds, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 8 Goldfinch and 1 Chaffinch.

Song Thrush



Despite the stiff breeze a number of Chaffinches in ones and twos toiled steadily into it, with less than 100 overall, but the Chaffinch numbers have been dropping recently, a sign their autumnal dispersal may be nearing the end. As Will and I both ring birds on their right leg let’s hope we can catch this left-footer before the Chaffinch dry up completely.


On last night’s BBC Autumn Watch there was a question from a viewer who recently saw lots of “black-billed Blackbirds”, but the query didn’t seem adequately answered by the programme. In October migrant Blackbirds, especially the first calendar year males have distinctly dull and dusky plumage which lacks the gloss of adult males. These young males also have dark brown to blackish bills, and often pale grey throats, so maybe the viewer had simply seen a number of immigrant Blackbirds? We saw a few “blackies” this morning, but didn’t catch any this time, just the brown thrushes above.


Birding wise we counted the following notables: 11 Grey Partridge, 4 Yellowhammer, 26 Corn Bunting, 75+ Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Barn Owl.

Corn Bunting


Paco Sales said...

Un bellísimo amanecer amigo Phil, nos muestras las fotos de los zorzales y los pobres aquí los cazadores ya los están esperando, un pena. Que pases un buen día amigo Phil, un abrazo par ti

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

wow! terrific set of photos!

what beautiful birds!
thanks for sharing.

Kay L. Davies said...

I enjoyed these photos today, Phil, and was already thinking about you because I finally posted the three "mystery" birds we saw in Russia. My post is just a couple after yours on the Camera Critters page.
Thanks again!

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

Kay said...

What great photos! I'm going banding here in south Texas tomorrow. It was interesting to see the birds you netted there, so different from ours but beautiful birds. On my only trip to the UK a few years ago I loved the birds there.
I'm glad I found your blog --I feel like I'm there again!

eileeninmd said...

What a beautiful sunrise, a great start to your day. The birds and photos are wonderful. I just love that beautiful goldfinch.

Russell said...

A great collection of photos and I love the landscape which has an especially beautiful sky.

EG Wow said...

I'm in awe of the work you do!

Anna said...

Oh I miss now birding after I read your post Phil. Excellent set of photos. Anna :)

ladyfi said...

What lovely shots!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The songbirds are beautiful as always Phil, yet I must commend you on the glorious sunrise entry at the top of your selection...
sweet serenity in nature~

mick said...

Great photos - as always - and a very interesting collection of birds.

news said...

pahantHi Phil: re black billed Blackbirds thank you for your answer .it makes more sense than Autumn watch.Best wishes JWB.

Seasons said...

Hello Phil (and Will), it is good to visit your blog again. Excellent that you can work together again. Great pictures, and always a delight to see a Goldfinch. For me, it is not only pretty but also very recognizable. Thanks for sharing.

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