Thursday, January 3, 2013

Don’t Bank On It

A dry start at last, so I drove to Out Rawcliffe hoping for a spot of ringing, and while the catch was poor, the in-between birding was more than OK. 

There wasn’t quite the 7mph wind promised by the BBC, more like a 10-15, enough for a single net in the ride which is sheltered but least favoured by the finches who prefer a more open aspect when feeding. There were a good number of Chaffinches about together with a much smaller number of Bramblings, probably 50 and 5 respectively, together with 20+ Goldfinches, but not all at the same time. It’s not a large, mixed feeding continuously flock, but more of a stop off point for birds roving the area. 

Just 6 Chaffinches caught until I packed up when the breeze increased and a light drizzle began. I had to remember to change the IPMR ageing codes this morning as from 1st January first calendar year birds become second calendar year birds, and for all six of the birds caught today the age code is now “5” - a bird born last year. Chaffinches are a doddle to age at all times of the year and below is a second calendar year female with worn, pointed tail feathers and worn, bleached edges to the tertial feathers. 


Chaffinch - 2nd calendar year female

Birding wise and in-between the quiet net rounds came 1600 + Woodpigeon, with at one point a smaller flock harassed by a male Peregrine. After a few half- hearted passes the Peregrine appeared to lose interest and went on its way south. Other raptors - 1 male Sparrowhawk , 1 Buzzard and then 3 Kestrels, the now closely bonded pair and a single male some distance away. Nearby wet fields held 17 Whooper Swan, 200+ Lapwing and 500+ Black-headed Gull. 


There were thrushes about this morning, and in addition to the now regularly singing Mistle Thrush were 50+ Fieldfare and 18/20 Redwing. Other passerines included 20+ Reed Bunting, 4 Skylark, 50+ Tree Sparrow, 12 Corn Bunting and a single Chiffchaff close to the ringing station. 

No, there are no exotic, colourful flowers out on Rawcliffe Moss, the picture was taken in the sunshine of Lanzarote just twelve months ago. Wish I was there now. 


I’ll have another try at the finches in a day or two if the promised high pressure system and resultant settled weather appears. Don’t bank on the Met Office getting it right though; just rely upon Another Bird Blog to report in with more news, information and pictures quite soon.

Someone in Saudi Arabia found my blog by searching the Internet for a sketch of a Kestrel. All anyone has to do is ask. Sorry it's a day late my friend, but doing a watercolour took a little longer.

 Kestrel - Fotosketcher


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love the Kestrel too (and we have those over here, both Florida and in Oregon)....the peregrine on the wing is amazing. And I always love your little finches that are so different from the ones we're familiar with.

HAPPY New Year!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine seeing so many birds. Great shots.
Happy new year.

Chris said...

Hi Phil. Happy new year. I have not been out yet birding, the weather has been too crappy so far.

eileeninmd said...

Glad you had a dry start to you day, Phil! Great shots, love the Peregrine in flight! Happy Birding!

Gail Dixon said...

I saw my first Kestrel here in Louisiana last weekend! My husband wouldn't believe me until he saw the enlargements on the computer. Unfortunately, they're very difficult to get close to and my shots were subpar. Next time!

Choy Wai Mun said...

That's a splendid drawing of the kestrel!

Jenn Jilks said...

Glorious bird, great birding!
Cheers from Cottage Country!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Happy weekend Phil. Beautiful birds and that Kestrel is grand. I never know how you get so close to get such brilliant captures. I got a little close yesterday, but still need to upload and then decide.

Gary Jones said...

Hi Phil, great post, I always though Chiffchaffs were migrants, do they over winter here?

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