Friday, April 28, 2017

Willows In The Wind

Finally. After a week or and more of strong and cold northerlies the wind dropped enough for a ringing session up at Oakenclough. I met Andy at the almost unearthly hour of 0600. That may not seem early but it did mean a 0500 alarm call followed by a 35 minute road journey in the half-light of morning.  The journey included a Barn Owl hunting the road ahead of my approaching car but the owl had disappeared across the fields by the time I reached the spot. 

The morning began with grey skies and a bitterly cold easterly that improved but slowly to give a little sunshine about 1030. Little wonder then that visible migration was limited to a couple of Swallows and a single Whimbrel. 

A quiet ringing session followed with a large handful of new Willow Warblers and the last of the spring finches. Birds caught: 8 Willow Warbler plus one each of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Chiffchaff, Wren and Coal Tit. The Willow Warblers included a “control”, a bird with a ring number not of our own, EDX991, so ringed elsewhere on a previous occasion. We will discover in due course the “who, where and when”. 


Lesser Redpoll


Willow Warbler
Meanwhile, details arrived of a Lesser Redpoll Andy and I caught at Oakenclough on 25th March this year. 

On 27th May 2016 a second year Lesser Redpoll was first captured at Dhoon, Isle of Man and marked with ring number S211085. We recaptured the same bird at Oakenclough on 25th March 2017. Although the elapsed time (302 days) and distances travelled (115km) of this recovery are not of great significance, both of the dates involved are very interesting.

The Lesser Redpoll is a scarce and localised breeding bird (less than 200 pairs) and a summer visitor to the Isle of Man. This recovery indicates that in late May 2016, S211085 was almost certainly breeding near Dhoon. We had thought that many of our springtime Lesser Repolls at Oakenclough were on their way to Scotland. It now seems that a few of them are destined to spend their summer on the Isle of Man. From its geographical location in the middle of the Irish Sea the island is mainly known as a major stop over point for many species of migrating birds in both autumn and spring.

We don’t know for sure where S211085 wintered in 2016/2017, almost certainly south and east in mainland UK or across the English Channel in France/Belgium. In early spring this by now adult male headed back north and west and was intercepted by us on 25th March at Oakenclough.

Dhoon, Isle of Man to Oakenclough

Lesser Redpoll

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Photo(Geo)grapher said...

What beautiful birds. They are awesome! Great photos!

David Gascoigne said...

You are such a baby, whining about having to set the alarm for 5:00 am. You are a brave birder, a Bulldog Brit, and a robust ringer after all. And isn't it time for you bugger off to the sunny climes of the Mediterranean once again? I think you'll have to move to the isle of Wight or someone equally benign.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

The lesser redpole is a stunning little bird.
Wonderful photos, the birds all look very happy. Probably glad of a little warmth! Have a great weekend Phil.

Anu said...

Interesting post and great photos. Thanks for sharing.

Patrycja P. said...

Wonderful collection of photos of Passerine birds. Interesting information about this Lesser Redpoll. Greetings!

sandyland said...

still productive to me

carol l mckenna said...

Lovely series of photography of our 'feathered friends' ~ I love them all ~ thanks,

Wishing you a fun weekend ~ ^_^

Lowcarb team member said...

I don't know what it is but there is something special about the Lesser Redpoll.
Lovely photographs Phil, thanks.

All the best Jan

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