Friday, February 22, 2013

More Orange Things

After the BBC weather forecast of an easterly breeze and an unwelcome wind chill factor I was a bit unsure about heading out to the feeding station this morning. In the event and at 7am the conditions for ringing were ideal with pretty much full cloud and even better, a wind speed of nil. And If Thursday was a day of Fieldfares then today was definitely a Brambling day. 

The session kicked off slowly with a couple of Reed Buntings, a Robin and a Chaffinch until the Bramblings arrived for their breakfast of sunflower and nyger seed. The calls of Bramblings dominated the morning with 30+ birds in the area and it’s speculation that there has been an influx of birds moving north and joining in with the number of Bramblings that wintered in this area. Also, as the food in nearby stubble becomes depleted, birds are finding the mixed seed I provide. In contrast to their colourful cousins, Chaffinches were much harder to locate this morning with 20+ the corresponding count. 

By 1030 the breeze had picked up as promised and I had to pack in before totting up the field sheet at 21 new birds - 12 Brambling, 5 Reed Bunting, 3 Chaffinch, and 1 Robin, as not for the first time this winter Bramblings dominated the catch. Two recaptures were a Chaffinch ringed here 16th December 2012 and a Brambling ringed here a week ago.

Of today’s 13 Bramblings there was one adult male and 12 second calendar year birds, 6 males and 6 females. Apologies then - it’s more Brambling pictures. 

The females lack the mostly bright yellow bill of the males. 

Brambling - female

Brambling - male 

The wing of a juvenile/second caledar year male shows marked colour contrast between the inner and outer primary feather coverts. 

Brambling - second calendar year male

It’s a feature that isn’t visible in the closed orange-toned wing of a Brambling, the lemon yellow on the underside of the wing where it joins the body, more noticeable on males.


The rounded, black tail of the adult male Brambling. 

Brambling - adult male

One of the Reed Buntings was an absolute corker of an adult male. 

 Reed Bunting - adult male

The combination of the overcast grey morning and time spent processing the catch rather limited today’s birding tally to just 1 Barn Owl, 3 Kestrel, 19 Skylark, 1 Curlew, 12 Corn Bunting, 140+ Fieldfare and 50+ Tree Sparrow. 

It’s a similar forecast for tomorrow, cold easterlies but maybe a little more sun. Looks like a layering up morning again, four on top, two below, hat, scarf and gloves with fingers crossed around the coffee cup. 

Pop by soon to see what’s happening on Another Bird Blog. In the meantime call in to see Anni  who migh be out birding.


Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Does ringing harm or traumatize the birds in any way? We call it "banding" here, but I don't know much about it. Why was the one bird lying on its side in the mans' hand? Beautiful shots as always!

eileeninmd said...

I would be happy to see the Bramblings show up, lovely photos Phil! Happy Birding and have a great weekend!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Thanks for answering the ringing questions on my blog. I knew it had to be humane, otherwise bird lovers wouldn't do it. Amazing that they will lie still like that and then fly off. It also impresses me that banded birds return to the same area year after year. They can't be traumatized at all in that case. I hope to observe a banding...ringing session soon!

Kathleen said...

Was wondering what ringing meant, Gail! Thanks for clarifying that.

Banding when done correctly doesn't harm or traumatize birds. It's a lot like going to the doctor's office.

It's pretty strict getting a banding permit in the states. Hopefully I'll be getting my sub-banding permit this season.

Russell Jenkins said...

Very beautiful markings on both subjects. I think I'd be confused if one passed my way. You get such a good number of different species every time which is good to hear.

Carole M. said...

a job well done and wonderful photographs and commentary Phil. I admire your focus, setting out in such bleak conditions

Snap said...

I learn so much when I visit you! Love the Bramblings and your wonderful pics. Happy Critter Day!

Hanne Bente said...

Great image series with an incredibly beautiful brambling. Wish you a good weekend :) Hanne Bente

TexWisGirl said...

both brambling and reed bunting have such beautiful feather patterns!

TexWisGirl said...

(yes, zim is mine. i have a gray mare named gem, too. both arabians.) :)

Karen said...

Handsome birds!

Adam Jones said...

I do love the Brambling. Great shots

HansHB said...

Nice post with a lot of great photos!

Gary said...

Such incredible markings!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Anni said...

Wonderful...I personally think your life is so filled with exciting and educational and humane things. You rock the birdin' world.

Well, I'm not out birding....yet, but I'm birdin' with y'all at the Bird D'Pot right now.

Have a super Sunday.

Crafty Gardener said...

nice series of photos

Shey said...

Beutiful photos. Would love to see how ringing is done someday.

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