Sunday, August 16, 2015


Apologies for the misspelling as I do know how to spell "tremendous", but it is very rare that Tree Pipit appears at the top of a ringing session total.

I’d driven quite slowly to Barnacre and even stopped a few times to watch a hunting Barn Owl and then two Buzzards, one sat atop a barn and the other roosting in a half dead tree. The owl disappeared across the fields as Barn Owls mostly do while each of the Buzzards took their leave as the car slowed for a picture. 

So it was an hour after dawn before I finally set a couple of nets, more in hope than eager anticipation, but I managed to catch a good mix of species, most of them juveniles of the year. Nineteen birds were caught - 4 Tree Pipit, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Willow Warbler,2 Coal Tit, 1 Nuthatch and 1 Robin. 

August is a peak month for the southerly migration of Tree Pipits but they are not always seen until their high-pitched flight call, often high above, gives then away to a knowing birder. Even then the birds do not necessarily make landfall as they are a long-distance migrant and on their way to south of the Sahara desert where they winter. 

Tree Pipit

A few pairs of Tree Pipits used to breed on this very site some 20-30 odd years ago where the inclined ground and fairly sparse plantation provided ideal habitat requirements. The pipits disappeared during years when the plantation was allowed to become overgrown with invasive rhododendron, so the Tree Pipit here is now a spring and autumn visitor only. Recently the landowners spent many thousands of pounds in removing invasive species and replanting native trees to make the site resemble the original, but it is unlikely that Tree Pipits will return to breed as the species has in recent years also suffered a range contraction in this part of Lancashire. 

Tree Pipit

All three of the Lesser Redpolls caught were juveniles and each of them in their partial juvenile moult. The three Goldcrest proved to be juveniles, and then one juvenile and one adult Willow Warbler. 

Lesser Redpoll


Willow Warbler

Other notes from the morning - 1 Stoat, 2 Raven, 120+ Swallows, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker, a handful of Siskin and 15+ Lesser Redpoll. Also, 2 Crossbill flying overhead towards distant conifers. 

From Saturday, a few bits and pieces at Glasson/Conder - 90 Swallows and 1 Grey Wagtail in the area of the yacht basin.

Glasson Dock
In the creeks at Conder Green - 190 Redshank, 23 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper. And the beginnings of an autumn Goldfinch flock with a count of 30+ about the area of Conder Pool. 


Don't forget! There’s more birds soon on Another Bird Blog. Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, another great post and a wonderful variety of birds. You are so lucky with the barn owl sightings, they seem more a rare bird around here. Which is sad! I am looking forward to the fall migration. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

Margaret Adamson said...

Phil I have neveer seen a TreePipit myself so that was lovely to see these shots aswell as the other birds.

Linda said...

What a lovely variety of birds here, Phil! I never see owls here in Montreal, but I am sure they are around somewhere. :)

Vandana Sharma said...

How lovingly and comfortably the bird is sitting !


Love the play on words here...that is TREEmendous. And such a beautiful one at that. Wow.

Hey? I have a 'surprise' for you on my blog today. lol

David Gascoigne said...

Has anyone ever figured out why Tree Pipits have that unique preference for sloping ground?

Phil Slade said...

Good question David. I think the supposed preference for slopes is linked to the species need for elevated lookout and song posts. Unlike Meadow Pipits which start their song flight from the ground, Tree Pipits start from a tree or bush. Perhaps where slopes are present they substitute or act as alternatives for higher look-outs if they are sparse, absent or sometimes unavailable (other species, raptor, disturbance)?

Adam Jones said...

Great stuff Phil. Always nice to see a Tree Pipit (or four). I tend to only see them as they arrive here in the Spring. I have a good spot to watch them parachuting and displaying. Super birds.

EG CameraGirl said...

I enjoy seeing the birds you see, some of which resemble birds here in Canada. Barn owls are scarce in Canada, only seen in my province in the southwestern part close to Lake Erie.

Maya Harrison said...

Really cute little birds :-) In my native language "Pipit" means a very tiny bird. How fitting for these :-)

Visiting from #ourworldtuesday Under The Tea Tree

mick said...

The Tree Pipit is beautiful and I am sure it was very special to catch this bird which you seldom see. The little Goldfinch is always the most beautiful bird for me!

Fun60 said...

Quite a selection of rare birds or perhaps birds that are there but I never see.

carol l mckenna said...

Such beauty in your photography and your love of birds shines through ~ Beautiful work!

Happy week to you,
artmusedog and carol

GreenComotion said...

Lovely collection of birds! Especially loved the Goldfinch!!
Your photos are very nice.
Have a Happy Week!
Peace :)

David Gascoigne said...

Hey Phil: Can you do me a favour and check the picture of Common Chiffchaff in my trip report on 29 July. I have heard from someone who says it is a Willow Warbler and I don't have the proficiency with European species to be sure. Still looks like a Chiffchaff to me. I will wait to make a change until I hear from you.
Thanks very much, David.

mick said...

Hi again Phil, You were quite right - I am told that the Frogmouth is related to the nighjars - Podargus strigoides.

Chris Rohrer said...

Beautiful little birds. Maybe the Pipits will return. At least they are trying to clean up that invasive stuff. We did that here in AZ and saw the return of several species.....the Masked Northern Bobwhites are still struggling but others have done well.....cross the fingers:)

GreenComotion said...

It is a lovely collection of birds.
I am happy to learn that you 'ring' the birds as part of your study.
The Golden Finch is adorable.
Lovely snaps!
Have a Happy Week!
Peace :)

Silver Parrot said...

You always have such fantastic photos and a great variety of birds to share. I love the shots of them on your hands!

Marie C said...

A productive day, looks like! Love that goldfinch's scarlet head!

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