Monday, December 31, 2012

So That's Where It Went

It’s official, 2012 was the wettest year on record for the UK, not that birders, ringers or bird photographers needed the Met Office to tell them that. 

Yesterday was no different, but in between the blustery showers I topped up the feeders Out Rawcliffe way, disturbing a gang of 20 or so Goldfinches in the process. If only the wind and rain would relent I could get a few nets up, have a half decent catch of birds and in-between times take a proper look around the site. I found the two Chaffinch flocks again, about 60 one stubble field, and then 300+ on another field half a mile away. There were at least 4 Bramblings mixed in the bigger flock but hard to pin them down while the whole lot were so flighty, the wind induced movement of nearby trees, hedgerow and the leaf-strewn stubble making the birds nervous of the slightest disturbance. 

Other birds in the area included pairs of Mistle Thrush and Kestrel, 30 + Skylark and 10+ Reed Bunting. 

Indoors again today during the wind and rain, so as a post filler, I thought I’d recap some personal highlights of 2012 and include some favourite photographs of birds and places. 

Last January Sue and I were in warm and sunny Lanzarote where Southern Grey Shrikes seemed especially numerous, often very close to the tourist beaches. 

Southern Grey Shrike


Spring came early in North West England, a feature being the movement north of Lesser Redpolls at the beginning of March when normally we would expect the phenomenon from mid-April onwards. After ringing over 90 of them during a warm spell of March weather, only 4 more were caught during April. I’d be happy to catch just stunning little Lesser Redpolls all year round. I’m still waiting to hear of a Belgium ringed one from September. 

Lesser Redpoll

The month of May saw Sue and I visiting beautiful Menorca for the umpteenth time, seeing friends we have made over the years and heading for birding spots discovered through our travels. 


Bee Eater

The summer wasn’t too kind to birds, numerous nests and planned ringing sessions lost to the weather. Even the persistent Swallows fared badly. Sadly one place I visited for several years to monitor breeding Swallows decided they did not want the Swallows anymore, going to great lengths to keep the returning birds out of the farm buildings. Truly, this is becoming a sad, selfish world in which we live. 

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

A result of the wet summer appeared to be poor fledging success, an example being a nest of three Sparrowhawks at Pilling where only one made it into the big wide world. Some birds spent time at nests which failed completely during the summery downpours e.g. a pair of Buzzards out on the mosses. 


Buzzard - Buteo buteo

Buzzard - Buteo buteo

A soggy Summer merged imperceptibly into an even rainier Autumn. Then before I knew it I was pitting my wits against returning Wheatears, catching more than a few via the mouth-watering meal worms. 


Meal Worms


Autumn is finch time, a goal being to continue with the work on Chaffinches begun in 2010. Although numbers were down, the results I hoped proved interesting and informative to ringers and local birders alike - More On Chaffinches 


December brought the orange ones, the Bramblings from the east and north. Europe’s loss is our gain, so with luck and in a day or two we’ll meet again in 2013. 


Let’s take this opportunity to thank all those who follow or read Another Bird Blog on a regular, occasional or even accidental basis. Although many are scattered around the world they are friends indeed, and without their support and comments the blog would be nothing. 

Happy New Year to all, and please visit again in 2013.

This week Another Bird Blog is linking to Weekly Top Shot  and Paying-ready-attention-gallery.

PS and don't forget, click on the pictures for a better qualty light box experience. 


Unknown said...

Seasons greetings, Phil. Finally, 287 KH's v 301 last year.Better than I thought.

Lou Mary said...

Looks like you had a great years birding despite the atrocious weather!

Jake Gregory said...

You blog is worth reading. So thanks for sharing your ringing and birding with us. Good luck with the Bramblings.

Gail Dixon said...

Phil, those shots are astonishing! The bee eater has to be my favorite, but the hawks are right behind them. Wishing you all the best for a wonderful 2013. Thank you for all the information and beautiful photography you share with us.

Findlay Wilde said...

brilliant selection of photos, I hope you have a great 2013. From Findlay

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, you had a great year of birding! I love your Bee-eater! Looking forward to a lot more of your blog post and birds! Happy Birding and I wish you all the best in 2013. Happy New Year!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I hope you stop complaining about the rain in
2013 ; } You should be here shoveling for me wind snow all week and heading to 4 below tomorrow night! I had a chunk of ice come of the roof yesterday when I was removing snow ..hit me in the head and knocked me out for a few..what a headache no blood just a lot of
pain :{ sure hope I have better luck in 2013!!
You have quite the year in review,I am so happy you showed those mealyworms, I bet some people where very impressed ..I like my dried friends aren't impressed when they come by : ))
I think you should come here with your back deck is a great place 32 Redpolls, 25 Goldfinch , etc.. I have look at there legs , no bands to be seen : {
Well I am here to wish you and your family a fantastic New Year my friend ...can you believe it 2013!!

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the baby barn swallows, Phil, and the sparrowhawk photo sure made me laugh. Looks like he just rolled out of bed.
Lanzarote is a fascinating island, isn't it?
I guess 2012 wasn't the year for visiting the UK, with all that wet, so maybe one of these days...
Meanwhile, wishing you and Sue the best of the coming year.

Stewart M said...

I get the impression its been wet!

Great set of pictures.

The 70 birds was a good catch - we canon net over flocks, so getting a high % is often possible. Sometimes we get too many!

Cheers and have a good (and dryer!) 2013!

Stewart M - Melbourne

Isidro Ortiz said...

Feliz año nuevo Phil.Un abrazo

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Happy new year.. Feliz 2013.. :-)))

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Happy New Year Greetings Phil!
It was wonderful viewing some of your favorites from last year. I do hope that you get to see a Redpoll again, as well as any others that do not frequent often enough.
That Bee Eater, once again is absolutely stunning!
Those long rainy days...would really have me feeling low. I always delight when a spot of sunshine comes out.
How selfish of the landowners to make it to where the Swallows could no longer nest. I know they make messes, just like our Wrens do, and yet, the benefits of taking all of the insects, far out weigh any clean up after they are gone!
May the New Year bring about more sunshine for all of us!

JRandSue said...

Happy New Year Phil.

TexWisGirl said...

just beautiful shots of beautiful birds. :) happy new year!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Our Barn Swallows have been declining in both the USA and Canada. Happy New Year!

mick said...

Happy new year to you. You've had too much rain and we haven't had enough. I don't ever remember it this dry in the 9 years I have lived here. Photos all great but I especially like the bee eater!

Unknown said...

I'm so in love with your photo's..and I love learning about all these beautiful birds..thank you! (I'm kind of new to bird watching, but it's a start for 2013)
~Kindredly, Shirley

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Loved the review! Thank you and Happy New Year to you and yours. Looking forward to more wonderful instructive posts in 2013.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Happy New Year, Phil. Looking forward to more of your postings.

Entre Nous said...

Love your blog. I have a one footed rescue finch I have had for six years. We love her :}

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Great selection of photos here, Phil!
Wish you a wonderful 2013 :-D

Unknown said...

Another great series!! Geeze I'd be happy to have the swallows. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Neil said...

Great series and Happy New Year.

Patti said...

Oh! What pretty birds you have! That must be where all our rain ended up last year, many areas of drought in the U.S.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

I am back...that Barn Swallow image is really stunning!

Anonymous said...

Menorca looks lovely, what a beautiful spot to stay! Your year was busy... Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #63!

Jenn Jilks said...

What a year it was! Ours was a drought year in Canada.
Very sad. But what *is* normal?!
Beautiful photos, and lots of birds new for me!
Well done.

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