Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What A Circus

There’s nothing more annoying and frustrating than having to take nets down because of wind or rain very soon after you’ve spent time and effort putting them up. 

That’s what happened this morning after I’d gone to Rawcliffe at 7am on the strength of the BBC’s forecast for an 8-10mph wind all day. By 0855 I was taking the nets down because the wind had suddenly increased to 15-18mph making catching impossible. By then I had caught just 8 birds, 4 Reed Bunting, 3 Chaffinch and a Blackbird. 

Numbers of the target species around my feeding spots were down on recent days, with just 2 Brambling, 15 Chaffinch, 15 Reed Bunting, 20 Goldfinch, 2 Yellowhammer, 20+ Woodpigeon and 55 Fieldfare/180 Starlings in an adjacent field. 

At this time of the year and on an initial glance some male Chaffinches can have the superficial appearance of adults. There’s one below but a closer look at the wing and tail feathers tells a different story - pale and worn tertial feathers and last year’s badly holed and fault lined tail. 

Chaffinch - second calendar year male

Chaffinch - second calendar year male

Chaffinch - second calendar year male

Today’s 4 Reed Buntings takes the February tally here to 16 new ones and something of an early spring movement of the species I think. 

Reed Bunting

Soon after dawn there were the usual unsatisfying views of the male Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus as it arrived from the west, did a fast and distant circuit of the stubble, all the time pursued by a crow, before then hurrying off towards Lancaster Lane again. One of these days….. 

Carrion Crow and Hen Harrier

In such a short visit there’s not much more to relate except for 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 14 Corn Bunting and 1 Little Owl. 

Not the most productive or satisfying two hours I have ever spent out on the moss. As Calamity Clegg or Disastrous Dave might say of Eastleigh around midnight of Thursday next - “Things can only get better”. 

Log in soon to see if Another Bird Blog’s next performance is any better.


eileeninmd said...

Phil sorry about the wind, not a good time to even watch birds! The birds you did manage to catch are beautiful, great shots. Good saying "Things can only get better". Happy Birding!

Stuart Price said...

Weather forecasts are useless the world over. It was supposed to be below zero and snowing today but we got blue skies and balmy above zero temperatures. They know nothing...........I 've never trusted them after Michael Fish in 1987.

Gail Dixon said...

I'm sorry you had to take the nets down before you could really get started. Interesting what birds look like in different seasons and as they age. Your wealth of information is so fascinating.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Not your best birding day, but it would be satisfactory for us amateurs! Thanks for sharing all the information... Lots of work taking down all those nets.

It's funny the way crows chase the bigger birds isn't it? I guess those crows are the same the world over.

Wally Jones said...

Still, ANY day out on the moss can be counted as better than one indoors.
We had a weatherman here for a brief time who was an avid fisherman. During that period, it was amazing how much more accurate our wind forecasts were!


grammie g said...

Hey Phil...So sorry about your disrupted day of ringing...you know there are people who have ringing in there ears that wish theirs would get disrupted! ; ) ya I know kinda sick huh haha!!
Well the weather men here have been right lately, and I wish they where wrong ..it is snowing again! 10 inches this past Sunday and it's on it's way there right now! So quit complaining !
Interesting the band on the birds tail telling it's age hmmm humans by the butt wrinkles?? ; )

Mary Howell Cromer said...

That Hen Harrier just doing it's thing Phil;') Oh bummbers on your morning...that would be so frustrating to get everything in place based on supposed sure weather forecast, just to have to dismantle it so quickly. I am always so impressed by you being able to age birds...very cool thing~

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