Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blowing In The Wind - Tuesday/Wednesday

The weather folk were spot on with their forecast for Tuesday. The tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo raged on with the result that there was no birding in the gale force north westerly’s. 

Instead I met with Andy near Garstang where we looked over an old ringing site of the 1980s and 1990s. The area became unsuitable for ringing when invasive rhododendrons won the day, but following recent extensive clearance by the site owners we may be able to utilise the place again. So clutching our newly printed shiny permits we explored the now almost rhododendron-free ground looking to identify net rides. 

Before the rhododendrons overran the landscape the open structure of the woodland was especially good for breeding Willow Warblers, where over a number of years around 400 nestling Willow Warblers were ringed and many nest records completed. 

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler nest

It is a site with breeding Willow Warblers, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Bullfinch, and where Yellowhammers, Tree Pipit and Wood Warbler once nested. I found what may have been the last nests of Yellowhammers here in 1996 and 1998 but none since. Nesting Tree Pipits disappeared from here about 1997 but still occur as migrants, while Yellowhammers are now as scarce as hen’s teeth. After the recent extensive ground works both species might just make a comeback but I’m not betting on it. 


Andy and I identified a number of net rides, put up a few feeders to attract Siskins and Redpolls, scattered seed for ground feeding finches such as Chaffinch. We will return when the weather improves. 



On Wednesday a 9 metre high tide at Knott End rather appealed even though the wind was still too north-westerly to produce much in the way of seabirds; well at least if the showers returned I could bird from the car. 

A couple of hours were all I managed as by 11am the rain had started again. In between times I counted the nearest waders as 230 Oystercatcher, 180 Redshank, 45 Lapwing, 35 Sanderling, 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, 300 Knot and 22 Turnstone. 

On the shore, the incoming tide and the river - 11 Eider, 5 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Grey Heron. 


After three days of abysmal weather passerines were hard to come by with just 30+ Goldfinches, 5 Linnet and 3 Pied Wagtails along the marsh the best. 

Let’s hope Gonzalo relents soon to leave us with sunshine instead of so much wind and rain. 

Linking the Chaffinch on the barbed wire fence to Run A Round Ranch.   


Grandma C said...

I love the colors of the Siskin. Cute little bird.

TexWisGirl said...

love the sweet willow warbler and yellowhammer.

eileeninmd said...

Glad you have your ringing spot back.. The birds are all cute, the Yellowhammer and Siskins are some of my favorites.. Happy Birding, Phil!

David Gascoigne said...

I don't know from which direction the winds from a hurricane come where you live, but in Atlantic Canada birders flock to the coast after a storm to see what may have been blown in. Some amazing discoveries are made in provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador.

NC Sue said...

Lovely birds, lovely photos.

Tanya Breese said...

aw, they are all so sweet, beautiful pictures :)

TexWisGirl said...

thanks, phil! :)

Margaret Adamson said...

that Yellowhammer looks very perky

Felicia said...

love the coloring of the chaffinch on the fence. beautiful images.

KK said...

I have not been online a lot lately, Phil. But coming here and looking at bird pictures makes my day.

It is so funny, whenever I look at birds, they are almost never stationary. And they seem almost like statues in your pictures.

Ida said...

Love seeing birds/nest together. Also that little finch on the barbed wire was a cute fellow.

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