Saturday, October 22, 2016

This And That

There’s a bit of everything today – birding, a few pictures and news of a ringed Goldfinch. 

First stop this morning was the egret roost at Pilling where the egrets were pretty much on the move as soon as I arrived in the half-light. I may have missed some leaving but came up with a count of 44 Littles and zero Great White Egrets today. Many thousands of pink-feet were way out on the marsh, too distant to count in the half light. Whooper Swans proved much easier to see with 23 leaving the marsh and flying west towards Pilling village and the shore. 

Whooper Swans

I stopped at Gulf Lane where Linnets and others continue to use the set-aside plot and where three or four very mobile Linnet flocks numbered 160+ birds. Also here - 4 Tree Sparrow and 2 Reed Bunting. In just a week and after a couple of downpours the crop height has dropped substantially until it is now between 18 inches and 2 feet high meaning that our efforts to catch more Linnets may be compromised. If the weather holds I guess Andy and me will have a go as soon as possible. 

I spent an hour or two at Conder Green where a dashing Merlin provided the highlight as it flew low across the top of the marsh and down into a creek before dipping under the railway bridge to the outer marsh. Otherwise I had a reasonable count of the usual birds on the pool and in the creeks: 140 Teal, 22 Redshank, 17 Snipe, 9 Little Grebe, 4 Goosander, 3 Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank. 


There seemed to be very little on the move this morning except for high flying Skylarks, a small number of Chaffinches and a handful of Meadow Pipits, all seen from the railway bridge where a gang of House Sparrows played hide and seek in the hedgerow. 

House Sparrow

Back home I did a little garden ringing with 3 Goldfinch, 1 Robin and 1 Coal Tit until even the meagre breeze began to fill the nets with falling autumn leaves. 



That reminds me.

Details arrived of a ringed Goldinch Z690427 caught at Oakenclough, Garstang on 6th September 2016. What a coincidence. The Goldfinch was ringed in Lower Basildon, West Berkshire on 11th October 2015 by one Simon Lane. Simon is a former member of Fylde Ringing Group. He ringed with us from 1988 until 1998 during which time he played a full and active part in the group and also became a great pal. He left Garstang, Lancashire in order to further his career in the south of England but fortunately he maintained his enthusiasm for ringing and still keeps in touch with us Northern folk.

This is a fairly typical north to south autumn September/October movement for a Goldfinch. Goldfinches are partial migrants with a proportion of the UK breeding population migrating each autumn to more favourable wintering grounds, typically in France or Spain and where both Oakenclough and Basildon can be staging posts in such journeys. 

Lower Basildon, Berkshire - Oakenclough, Garstang, Lancashire

Guess I won’t be out birding tomorrow morning as it’s Andy’s birthday bash this evening. Sue and I are definitely going as Andy is threatening to do a David Brent dance for the assembled crowd. Now where did I leave my video camera?

Linking today to


Jo said...

Hi Phil. Excellent photos as usual. I have never heard of Whooping Swans before this ! Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend. Jo

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Nice birds.. Have a great weekend Phil

Linda said...

What a beautiful and delightful series, Phil!!! You have brightened my day! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

David Gascoigne said...

I get shivers when I see the Whooper Swans powering their way through the air. What a graceful sight. They are impressive birds indeed. Now, in regard to Andy's birthday, do I get the distinct hint that you might be imbibing a tad too much? Is Sue perhaps the designated driver? And here was I, delusional as always, thinking that you ringers in the UK, are as much a model of propriety as we banders are in Canada! My visage now wears a sheen of smug superiority!!

Sara - My Woodland Garden said...

Such sweet little birds and a great photo of Whooper Swans. I too adore seeing them flying (and landing and taking off), these jumbo jets of the bird world.
Thank you for sharing!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Wonderful post, and all your photos are beautiful sharp images, and a treat to see.:) I was interested to learn about the ringed Goldfinch,...mystery solved, and how nice that you knew the person who did the ringing. I guess once a birder, always a birder. I didn't realize that you ringed birds in your own garden.

Anni said...

Oh yes!!! Bring that video camera! And share?!!! I love birthday bashes when dancing is involved.

Wonderful narrative. It's great to have a longtime friend that keeps in touch when there is a special bonding interest with one another. And I really, REALLY appreciated the migration path map you shared. That helps visualize it all for me. And the 1st photo of the swan in flight...awesome.

That Robin photo is priceless. [to quote Helen Mirren - "Abso-bloody-lutely!!!"]

Your contribution for us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend is much appreciated!!

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Love the redshank and Mr Robin is very handsome indeed!!
Hope you had a wonderful weekend :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Great day at home and your slightly further away patch too. Very interesting to discover the history of that finch, especially when it was ringed by your old friend.

Lowcarb team member said...

Just love the photo of the robin and those Whooper Swans.

Hope you all had a wonderful time at Andy's birthday bash!

All the best Jan

Marie C said...

An awesome birding day!

Fun60 said...

What a coincidence to come across a goldfinch that was ringed by your friend. A David Brent dance? Video at the ready I'd say.

Photo Cache said...

How nice to see a robin up close.

Worth a Thousand Words

NC Sue said...

Our robins and goldfinches look quite different. You've captured some lovely shots!

Thanks for joining us at

Felicia said...

that little robin is perfect sweetness.

mick said...

I especially like the photo of the Redshank. of course the Robin and the Goldfinch are beautiful also.

Mary Cromer said...

I am so computer is once again working as for the fact the scroll down bar moved I promise an inch every half hour, it was terrible. So happy! Those Whooper Swans in flight, so majestic and you know I adore your Robins, stunning little chaps. I will need to catch up and see what I have missed. Take care Phil

Lea said...

Love the close-up of the Robin!

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