Thursday, April 2, 2015

Out At Last!

Blog regulars may think the reason for a lack of recent posts is that I took a day or three off birding to do a few household chores, look after grandkids or spend time with my long suffering wife. The truth is that all three played a part in my being AWOL but the major reason was the good old British Weather. For the last four days it has blown the proverbial gale with up to 70mph gusts coupled with  lots of  rain, and then for good measure the occasional burst of snow or sleet. And all of this in our so called “Spring”. 

On Wednesday morning I set off for Fluke Hall where I gave it an hour or two in the cold air and then quickly packed in after I saw and heard very little. The few highlights proved to be watching a pair of Nuthatches collecting nest material before they flew into the nearby woodland to their chosen nest site.

There was a flock of c700 very flighty Golden Plover which eventually scarpered off over the sea wall after being spooked by the antics of crows and Lapwings and their customary arguments. By the early afternoon there was more rain so I was happy to be ensconced at home with a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive, postponing the birds until someday soon.

Nuthatch - Photo credit: corvidaceous / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Finally, and by Wednesday evening there looked to be a window of weather for Thursday morning so Andy and I arranged to meet up 0630 at Oakenclough. It was a whole week of missing visits and we weren’t quite sure what to expect apart from having to don winter wellies and a couple of layers in preparation for the forecast 3⁰ degrees.

We continued where we left off with yet more redpolls plus a number of other finches in a total of 19 birds, 13 new ones and 6 recaptures.

New birds: 6 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Long-tailed Tit.  Recaptures: 2 Great Tit, 1 Siskin, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Long-tailed Tit.

The morning was pretty cold and we didn’t see or hear the Chiffchaff until we caught it. There was no sign or sound of Willow Warblers even though they are due in on 1st April.


Below is a rather splendid example of a bright adult male Lesser Redpoll, one of six lessers caught today, bringing the total here this Spring close to 40.

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

One of the two Siskin caught was a recapture from January, suggesting that there are still very few Continental immigrants around. Pictures are of an adult male and a second year male.

Siskin- second year male

Siskin- adult male

Siskin - second year male

Birding proved as quiet as the ringing apart from a fly over Osprey (Thanks PK) heading North West and out towards Morecambe Bay about 0915. Perhaps the one flying over over Burton Mere, Cheshire earlier in the morning?

Otherwise - 4 Pied Wagtail, 3 singing Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Kestrel.

More soon - stay tuned to Another Bird Blog.

In the meantime I'm linking this post to  Eileen's Saturday Blog.


TexWisGirl said...

such cuties! i had read about some serious wind over there!

Linda said...

They are all adorable, Phil, and the Lesser, brilliant! Such a sweet little face. :)

Margaret Adamson said...

I love seeing the close up of the birds. Hoping the weather will be more favourable from now on.

eileeninmd said...

Hi PHil, so glad you made it out! Gorgeous collection of birds, I love the Nuthatch, Redpoll and the pretty Siskin.. Happy Birding, have a great Easter weekend!

Modesto Viegas said...

Great post!!

Larry said...

Great to see those close-ups!

Jen Masssey said...

wonderful shots :)

David Gascoigne said...

When I read the title to this post I thought that someone had conked you on the head! Anyway it's good to get out and about and the birds have no choice after all. Yesterday it hit 16 degrees here and Miriam and I went for a long walk in a nearby conservation area. It was quite wonderful and the air now smells of spring. Be strong and brave, put up with a little wind in your face, a little horizontal sleet, wet feet and a bad attitude, but get out and see our fine, feisty, formidable feathered friends anyway.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, just stopping back to say Happy Easter! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

carol l mckenna said...

You found some beautiful birds! Wonderful shots of them!

Happy Weekend to you,
artmusedog and carol

Gunilla Bäck said...

Gorgeous birds! We've gotten sleet this week as well but mostly rain. I wouldn't mind some warm sunny spring weather. Happy Easter, Phil!

Adam Jones said...

The plumage on the Redpoll is magnificent. What a beauty.

Linda M. Carmean said...

Sorry about all those high winds keeping you housebound! Glad things finally calmed down & you were able to get out. You found a nice variety of birds for the tagging! Have a wonderful Easter!

Hannah said...

Great photos, Phil, I particularly like the Lesser Redpolls. the red on the heads combined with the suggestion of a wild hairdo and the black around the eyes and beak are striking. The nuthatch looks the same as mine.

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