Friday, February 17, 2017

Mist With Splits And Joins.

Friday. I met Andy up at Oakenclough for a ringing session.  The scene that greeted us was not quite as promised by the weather forecast and nothing like the clear morning I'd left at sea level fifteen miles away. In place of a starry sky was low cloud, fog and far from ideal conditions for catching birds. Our experience is that birds don’t move around much during foggy and misty conditions. 

Misty Start

Towards Bowland

The sun never broke through and as we expected, birds didn’t arrive in high numbers. Nevertheless we left quite happy that we’d managed to catch 16 birds. Unusually for here and for the first time ever, Blue Tit proved to be the most numerous bird of the catch with 7 Blue Tit, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Coal Tit and 1 Lesser Redpoll. 

Adult Male Siskin
Adult Female Siskin

Adult Female Siskin

Adult Male Siskin

First Winter Male Goldfinch

We caught our first Lesser Redpoll of the year, a fine first winter male. 

First Winter Male Lesser Redpoll

First Winter Male Lesser Redpoll

The Lesser Redpoll is included in The British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) decision to adopt the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) World Bird List taxonomy for its British list from 1 January 2018. The redpoll complex will be reduced from three species to two - Common and Arctic - meaning the loss of Lesser Redpoll as a species. So after being split into three species in the year 2000, ringers will be lumped back to where we were 17 years ago when the Common and the Lesser Redpoll were as one. Isn’t science wonderful? 

Other changes to the British List will mean that the total of species recorded in Britain will increase slightly by way of a number of 'splits' recognised by IOC but not currently by BOU. Isabelline and Red-tailed Shrikes will become two separate species, as will Bean Goose when there are both Taiga and Tundra Bean Goose to tick. Thayer's Gull will be recognised as a full species and not a subspecies of Iceland Gull. 

Two-barred Warbler will be elevated to full specific status rather than continue as a subspecies of Greenish Warbler. Two other Far Eastern vagrants - Eastern Yellow Wagtail and Stejneger's Stonechat will be given full specific status, as will North America's Least Tern. Each of these will therefore become species additions to the revised British list. 

One loss from the future British list is Hudsonian Whimbrel, which will remain a subspecies of Whimbrel and the two not split into separate species.

Meanwhile, back in the real world it’s now a good 12 months or more since the Oakenclough site was treated to an overdue makeover by way of uprooting the huge stands of rhododendron followed by a replanting scheme of native trees. It gets pretty cold up here on the edge of the Bowland Hills but the new trees do have the advantage of a good supply of rainwater where they are more likely to die from drowning than from drought. 

Replanting at Oakenclough

Other birds today: 1 Bullfinch, 10 Siskin, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 20 Lapwing, 4 Oystercatcher, 6 Curlew.

Linking today to Anni's Birding and Eileen's Birds.


Patrycja P. said...

I love Siskins, they are one of my favourite birds. Wonderful photos, as usual :). I did not know about the changes in the systematics! Greetings!

Linda said...

I absolutely love all the birds in your photos, Phil, and the Siskins and Redpolls...the colours and patters are gorgeous!

Stuart Price said...

Aren't all Redpolls going to be lumped together again anyway?

rob husbands said...

sad to see redpolls lumping back together hopefully we can still record as to race i.e lesser or common, i have over 4500 on my database mostly lessers commons straiightforward 99% of the time.
i have rarely if ever had an juvenile male with extensive red on the breast rump and cheeks,
but variation in nature is infinite, also had a mature female with quite a red breast this autumn {first one]

Phil Slade said...

Hi Rob. I rather agree about redpoll and their variation so I am not surprised at the relumping. I think that when the new online data entering is introduced for ringers we will still be able to specify race.

Peter R said...

Hi Phil
Very interested in the Redpoll situation in the UK. Here in Zew Zealand where Redpoll were introduced in the later half of the 19th century there has been an on going and as yet not finalised as to which type was introduced or if there were two. I personaly think there were two.

I would like to copy your comments if possible to put on my blog and also put on the Birds NZ Forum site.

Regards, Peter

Rajesh said...

Great shots of the bird. Very cute.

Lea said...

Have a great week-end!

sandyland said...

how are you able to hold them??

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! I love the foggy scene. Pretty variety of birds. The Siskins, Goldfinch and the Redpolls are some of my favorites.

Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Bill Nicholls said...

Loooks like you are getting on with the new 80D Phil. Great photos of the birds in your hand. What zoom lens do you use for the cose ups of the ones flying?

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It's amazing to see the red on a Goldfinches head. We have around 100 of them coming to our feeders right I write! They are mostly still dull yellow but a few have bright yellow colors already. Enjoy your weekend!

♥Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'♥ said...

Oh my....hope they don't get root-rot from too much rain. If it isn't one thing it's another. Tree will look fantastic there if they make it.

As far as the science goes with birding, it's all a bit frustrating. For instance, some books and websites have GREAT egret and others have COMMON egret for North America [same bird tho]. Of course, I look at it this way, it's all a matter of opinion anyway. Yet, your line of work on ringing and banding that's a whole 'nother story.

Excellent images Phil...great reading and love the foggy morning photo. Thanks so much for adding your post link for all us bird enthusiasts today. Much appreciated.

bettyl-NZ said...

The colors on this pretty bird are just lovely to see. Your photos are awesome, too!

Mary Cromer said...

WOW had no idea about the Redpolls and their state over there. They are such lovely birds. looks as though they have had a nip of the drink or something dripping down their feathers. We had dense fog this morning like what you show, with only an 1/8 of a mile visibility~

Jo said...

Hi Phil, I love the misty scene. And the siskins. Especially the image you used as a thumbnail on Our World Tuesday meme. Have a great day. Jo

Lady Fi said...

Gorgeous shots!

DrillerAA09 said...

Foggy, misty mornings can be the most serene, peaceful beginnings to a day. Lovely images.

David Gascoigne said...

If we live to be a hundred, Phil, the taxonomists will not be finished with us! I am currently in Hong Kong enjoying some fabulous birding and so far have not happened upon taxonomic dispute. But some of the large gulls in sub adult plumage give me it a Heuglin's, a Vega, a Caspian, a Mongolian, a Slaty-backed? Thank goodness for local expertise to help me out!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The Siskins and redpolls are both lovely birds. I'm glad your patch has been replanted back to its natural state. It's cloudy and rainy here this morning and so we have canceled our planned trip to the birding beach. That is the difference between amateur and professional. You would go anyway. (Of course that and knowing the taxonomy.)

Lowcarb team member said...

I quite like the foggy photograph ...
Lovely pictures too of the Siskins.

All the best Jan

Esther Joy said...

I'm not very good at telling the fiskins and the finches apart, but your photos are wonderful and help me a lot! Thank you for sharing!

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