Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Siskins And Things

This morning was dominated by the sight and sound of many Siskins, but it was rather frustrating that our catch was far less than the numbers overhead.

I’d met Andy up at Oakenclough where we hoped to continue last week’s good fortune when between us we caught almost 50 birds here. There was no such luck today when our catch numbered a measly 12 birds comprising 5 Chaffinch, 3 Siskin, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Dunnock, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Coal Tit. 

The Chiffchaff had just completed its full adult moult and so looked in splendid condition.


The Chaffinch below is a first year male, possibly up to four months old, and therefore has some resemblance to a full adult.


The Siskin below is an adult male which has almost completed a post-breeding moult. 


The Ringing Office

Although we caught just 3 Siskins, all males, good numbers were flying around the immediate area but mostly sticking to feeding in the tops of nearby conifers, alders and birch and did not venture to net level. In all we estimated something like 70/90 Siskins. 

From recent reports on the Internet it does appear that European and Scandinavian Siskins may be undergoing one of their irruption years when larger numbers than normal are reported during migration times. The numbers of Siskins migrating vary greatly from year to year with more distant movements recorded during years of irruptions. The availability of seed crops on favoured trees like alder and birch are a major factor in the degree of movement away from breeding areas. It was good to see so many Siskins around after such a generally poor summer for our resident birds. 

“Otherwise birding” resulted in 2 Kestrel, 1 Nuthatch, 60+ Swallow, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5+ Lesser Redpoll, 15+ Goldfinch, 15+ Chaffinch, 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Cormorant. 

At home this week I’ve noticed a few day-flying bats, just above the house and garden for a few seconds only. Then one day I saw one fly low through the garden and land on the soil under a conifer. Curious as ever I picked the bat up and took a picture before laying it in our dense hawthorn hedge from where it soon flew off. I believe it to be a Common pipistrelle - Pipistrellus pipistrellus, but I am open to more informed identification. 


It seems that some bat species will occasionally fly during the day, but it is not common. They usually fly at night because that is when their main food sources are most active and the bat’s predators less likely to be encountered. The two commonest pipistrelle species found in the UK are the Common pipistrelle and the Soprano pipistrelle, the two identified as separate species in the 1990s. The two species look very similar and often the easiest way to tell them apart is from the frequency of their echolocation calls. 

Over the garden yesterday about 1740 I heard overhead the rattling call of a Mistle Thrush.  When I looked up it was a gang of seven flying directly south. Now there’s a true sight and sound of autumn. 

There will be more autumn birds very soon on Another Bird Blog. Log in and don’t miss them.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


Linda said...

What a lovely series, Phil! And I wasn't aware that some bats fly during the day. :)

Vandana Sharma said...

They all look so cute and tiny creatures including the bat.

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, sorry it was not a good ringing day. The birds and photos are pretty. I have not seen a bat during the day around here, they are becoming hard to find. Happy Birding!

Jo said...

I always love seeing your bird images and reading about the ringing, Phil. I learnt something about bats here, that this type flies during the day. Thanks for sharing. Greetings Jo

Margaret Adamson said...

Ah well you made up for the small number of birds ringed when you photographed the Bat Phil.

mick said...

Your birds in the hand are always very special. I especially like the Siskin. Very interesting to find the bat flying around during the day and getting photos was even better!

David Gascoigne said...

Great to see the picture of the bat and kudos to you for being willing to pick it up - so many people have such an irrational fear of bats. For that act you are hereby inducted into the Grand Order of Batty Birders.

Silver Parrot said...

Wonderful photos as always!

Russell Jenkins said...

The Chiffchaff is quite handsome, Phil and that is good news about good numbers of Siskin. I do like bats as well, but I'm not one to secure the right ID. Autumn is in the air here too in the evenings and mornings, but still hot in the middle of the day.

Beth said...

We'd not dare touch a bat in the USA for fear of rabies. We've had 9 cases in Oregon this summer from bats.

Mary Cromer said...

All such lovely songbirds Phil and such a tidy little bird ringing, banding table...over here I never know which they will call it.
The Bat... I love Bats and we have a lot of them here. We get mostly the Kentucky Brown Bats which from your image, looks so much like it. They will begin before dark and fly about and I have a hard time knowing if I am seeing them, or the Chimney Swifts that also flit around and over our home. I have handled them before and they are just quite interesting.
Hope you are enjoying your week. Have a great weekend coming up quickly now. Where does the week slip by so fast~

Gunilla Bäck said...

The bat is so cute! It's been years since I've seen bats.

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