Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stock Taking

The days have flown since Andy and I did any ringing at Oakenclough. The centres of attention in late May and early June were Pied Flycatchers in nest boxes together with sussing out the few pairs of Willow Warblers nesting in the clumps of heather and bilberry. Today we returned to the hills to do a little management of the netting area of the plantation and once that was done, attempt a little ringing. 

A catch of just 8 birds may have confirmed our worst fears about the breeding success of many species in this soggy, windswept year with a catch of just 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Dunnock, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Great Tit and 1 Blue Tit. 

Willow Warbler


Despite the low catch there did seem to be good numbers of Goldfinches around including the first real flock of summer when 18/20 flew over without landing near the nets and a total of 40+ on site throughout the morning. In recent years our UK Goldfinch seems able to both survive and prosper whatever the weather. Otherwise and in the finch department we noted 15+ Lesser Redpoll as flyovers plus a handful of Siskins on the move.

Also “round and about” - 20+ Swallow, 15+ Chaffinch, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2+ Nuthatch, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Tawny Owl, 1 Jay, 1 Grey Wagtail.

At home and in the garden this week a couple of normally very shy Stock Dove (Columba oenas) have been regular visitors around the feeders left out for the local House Sparrows. The Stock Doves are often in the company of one or two Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus), their close relative. Although Wood Pigeons are now very common garden birds the Stock Dove is a rare garden visitor in this area. It is not the first time I have seen Stock Doves in the garden, they are becoming more regular, and I am wondering if this is the next species to exploit the British pastime of feeding birds?

It’s perhaps easy to overlook the Stock Dove, dismiss it as a lost racing pigeon or a even feral urban pigeon but the species is a very distinctive blue-grey with a pinkish breast and an iridescent green patch on the side of the neck. There is no white patch on the neck, like on an adult Wood Pigeon, and it is darker than the Wood Pigeon. One of the better differentiating features is their black eyes. The bill is yellowish and the legs are pink. They have a black tipped tail and two small black wing-bars on each wing which are less distinct than the wing-bars on a Rock Dove.

Stock Dove

House Sparrows may have bucked the poor breeding trend this year as I am seeing good numbers of them in a number of places I visit or pass by. There are reasonable numbers of Goldfinch coming to the Niger feeders, including good numbers of juveniles, but as yet there is lots of natural food to be found, so no need to visit garden feeders in huge numbers.

There’s more birding this weekend, so catch up with the news at Another Bird Blog very soon.

Today the blog is linking to Anni's Birding and  Eileen's Saturday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, it is sad news that your catch was low. I think the same could be happening here with certain species. The Stock Dove has some pretty colors and I love your Goldfinches. Great photos, happy birding.

Errol Newman said...

Agree with you, Phil; as many young Spuggies this year as last, if not even more. My fault - I feed them too well!

Linda said...

I always enjoy seeing your photos, Phil, and these are no exception. Beautiful and captivating.

Margaret Adamson said...

I have found that there arealot more young birds in my garden this year, espeially the Sparrows, Goldfinch, Blue Tit. Coal Tit and Great Tits. Really enjoyed this post of your Phil and hope you have a lovely weekend.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I am just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

sandyland said...

chiffchaff interesting name - what species is that warbler or finch??

Adam Jones said...

Nice Stock Dove Phil. I agree, a rather dismissed and understand bird. Sad to hear that numbers are down this year. It really has been a poor summer Warner wise for the juveniles.


I like your finch feeder....I'm gonna have to look for something like that around here in USA...the ones they sell here are just netting, and I don't like that. It's just a 'me' thing.

I understand the lack of 'regular' birds and the wet/windy season. We experienced that a couple of months ago, and the populations haven't grown much this summer.

Now, I must say I had to "google" the word sussing. I learned something new today.

Let's you and me hope for a better FALL than Spring/early Summer when it comes to birds.

*I'm in my personal blog admin today, but checking and visiting those who linked up at I'd Rather B Birdin'. Thanks Phil.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Fine efforts Phil, I hope your birdies get better weather next season.

Funny thing, we have so many English sparrows in our cities they're a pest. There were five nests wedged into my dad's attic vents in D.C. this year (and I'll bet they're still there).

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you for this post. Our garden has Goldfinches (can't get over how small they are e.g. beside Great tits). We have good sized broods of Blue tit and Long-tailed tit who are coming to the feeders. Sadly the Greenfinches who were here three-four years ago have gone ... and we rarely see Chaffinch. Bullfinch sightings when the blossom is at its peak.

Roan said...

Like the Stock Dove and those finches. Our Goldfinches are much different. Beautiful shots!

Marie C said...

Your stock dove is lovely! And I enjoyed seeing the other birds as well. Wonderful post! Have a great week!

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