Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Few Frost-Free Finches

Exactly a week ago the ringing session up at Oakenclough proved rather quiet and uneventful, a result Andy and I assigned to the onset of frost with minus temperatures which caused regular birds to depart the site. This morning was warmer if more than a little on the dull and dreary side but following a week of  mornings without frost we enjoyed a much healthier sum of birds. Our four hours of work included a good selection of finches. 

We totalled 49 birds of 10 species, 34 new birds and 15 recaptures. New birds: 7 Chaffinch, 7 Goldfinch, 7 Blue Tit, 4 Coal Tit, 3 Great Tit and 2 Lesser Redpoll, plus one each of Blackbird, Siskin, Treecreeper and Robin. 

The Treecreeper is not a species one might associate with bird feeding stations but they do tend to join in with flocks of tits which very much frequent feeding stations.  
Recaptures: 5 Goldfinch, 5 Coal Tit, 3 Great Tit plus one each of Blue Tit and Siskin. 

We are hoping that both Lesser Redpolls and Siskins will begin to appear in larger numbers once they begin their Spring push north through the UK in late February and into March. 

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Today’s Siskins, a male and a female were caught at the same time and so released together. Recent BTO Garden BirdWatch data show that Siskin numbers usually start to increase in gardens by the end of the year, as the amount of natural food diminishes and the weather worsens. However initial results suggest that at the end of 2014, Garden BirdWatch saw the lowest proportion of gardens reporting Siskins since the survey began in 1995.

According to the Forestry Commission, 2014 looks like it was another good year for Sitka Spruce which, combined with a relatively mild and dry winter so far, could be why Siskins are missing from gardens this winter.




The morning was so gloomy and overcast and the visibility so limited that birding was nigh on impossible, and therefore nothing to report in the way of other birds.

On the way home I did see 3 Kestrels with single birds at St Michael’s village, Out Rawcliffe and finally at Stalmine Moss. 


There are more birds in a little while from Another Bird Blog, including another instalment of Lanzarote birds. Don’t miss it and log in soon. 


eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, gorgeous collection of birds and images.. Great post..Happy Birding!

Vanessa Morgan said...

So cute. My favorite of these is the lesser redpoll.
Have a lovely Wednesday.

David Gascoigne said...

Seems to me that a few Frost-free Finches translates to a Boffo Bonanza of Banded Beauties Tastefully Trapped on a Tuesday by that Slick Sleuth Slade.

TexWisGirl said...

all such beauties!

Irma said...

Gorgeous collection of the birds.
Best regards, Irma

Chris Rohrer said...

Weird!!! Sweet that you found a Treecreeper. They are the coolest birds and they certainly do like to creep along with all the other little birds. We have the Brown Creeper here. Nice!

Linda said...

Hi Phil,

Your birds are gorgeous, I love this series.

Atlas said...

How to you catch/hold the birds?

Christian Perrin said...

That Treecreeper looks so tiny and fragile in human hands!

I don't quite follow the connection between good Sitka Spruce numbers and few Siskins. Do you mean that the Siskins haven't had to migrate so far or gather in large numbers because the spruces in their homelands are getting them through the winter?

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