Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Never The Same

The alarm clock buzzed at 0520. I was due to meet Andy and Bryan at 0630 for another ringing session near Oakenclough. The weather forecast of a 2mph wind with no rain proved to be accurate and we enjoyed an eventful morning of both ringing and birding. Three pairs of eyes and ears proved extremely useful during the usual lulls in ringing. 

After an initial round of Great Tits, Coal Tits, a Blue Tit and just a single Willow Warbler it seemed as if the session might be below par for this always productive site. But within an hour the species changed when visible migration began, and after five hours we had caught 51 birds of 10 species. 

While no two ringing sessions are ever the same it was finches top of the leader board again with yet more Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll. We had handfuls of both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff together with another Tree Pipit. 

Totals - 14 Goldfinch, 8 Lesser Redpoll, 6 Willow Warbler, 5 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Chaffinch, 4 Coal Tit, 3 Great Tit, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Blue Tit and 1 Tree Pipit. 

Willow Warbler

Long-tailed Tit
The Ringing Office

Lesser Redpoll

Tree Pipit

Birding proved very interesting and began with our second Osprey of the week. This one followed a similar route to the one on Friday last by flying North to South alongside Harris End Fell before disappearing from view. Seven Grey Herons appeared together from the south, circled for a while before they lost height and dropped to the north and towards the fisheries near Scorton. 

Other raptors seen – 2 Sparrowhawk,1 Kestrel and 9 Buzzard. The Buzzards appeared late in the morning as a “kettle” of 7 plus 2. Three Ravens added to the action on high. 

We noted a steady stream of high-flying hirundines with Swallows to the fore. 60+ Goldfinch and 30+ Chaffinch dominated the arriving finches where Lesser Redpolls seemed less vocal than normal. We were a little surprised to catch nine redpolls when so few seemed to be around. 

An initial count of 5 or 6 Mistle Thrushes turned into a massive 29 when two parties that arrived unseen at the North West corner of the site took to the sky flying east. As the thrushes spread out we counted a flock of 22 and then a gang of 7, all heading the same way. 

It’s often in September that people mistakenly report Fieldfares arriving early in the UK, when in fact Fieldfares do not really arrive here from Scandinavia until late September/October. What those observers have actually seen is a far less common but not unknown flock of Mistle Thrushes. Just last week a local birder, Bryan Yorke saw over 80 Mistle Thrushes in the hills north of Lancaster. 

Mistle Thrush

Seems like our largest UK thrush has enjoyed a good breeding season! 

Other birds noted in the plantation – a single Nuthatch and 2 or more Bullfinch.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday.


Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

The lesser redpol and long-tailed tit are my favorites out of this group. Have a super day!

Jo said...

You do a wonderful job. I love your ringing office too! The Long tailed Tit is very woolly: almost as if it's a juvenile. Thanks for always sharing your finds (and ringing) I've moved further down into the valley and the birdlife in my garden is prolific! Greetings Jo

David Gascoigne said...

Looks like you had a great day, Phil. As you say it never hurts to have three pairs of eyes and ears. I certainly don't hear so well any more, and a lot of the high frequency songs are inaudible to me. I am always glad to have Miriam along with me - her hearing is still excellent.

Jo said...

Hi Phil, I popped over to Google and found this about the Gurney's Sugarbird: The common name and Latin binomial commemorate the British Banker and amateur ornithologist John Henry Gurney (1819-1890) the Latin name is Promerops gurneyi. I hope this helps. Greetings Jo

A Quiet Corner said...

Collecting data through your endeavors, Phil, sounds interesting with such a variety of birds...:)JP.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil, looks like a great day. I think our Hawk watches should be starting soon if not already. I love the all cute birds and photos. Happy Birding, enjoy your day!

Linda said...

It does look like a wonderful day, Phil! Beautiful photos1

Vandana Sharma said...

What a beautiful day it must be, starting and ending with feathery little things!!

Noushka said...

You certainly had a great day Phil, but I can't say I'm a fan of bird handling.
I'd rather see us humans reduce seriously all the causes of the destruction of bird species and their environment.
I've been in business of raising parrots and I am all too aware of the stress it occurs to birds...
But that is just my personal thought ;-)
Have a great weekend

Phil Slade said...

Noushka. Thank you for your comment. In view of the continual changes in worldwide avifauna, not least in Europe where we both live, cost-effective data from centralised ringing schemes are just as necessary now as they always were to detect and understand these changes, enabling in some cases appropriate conservation measures to be taken for birds as a whole and/or individual species.

KK said...

I loved the picture of the long tailed tit. I also loved your ringing office.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! Your photos of the birds closeup are just beautiful. Sounds like you had a great day of ringing. The office looks great too. Thank you for linking up your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

A Colorful World said...

Sounds like a very productive day! I loved seeing your "office." Have a wonderful weekend!

sandyland said...

I miss thrushes a lot

Lowcarb team member said...

Goodness, that was an early alarm clock call!

Lovely photographs, I think my favourite is the Long-tailed Tit ... it just looks so cute somehow!

All the best Jan

Villrose said...

So this is where the Long-tailed Tits are now! They use to visit us once in a while wintertime. Love them :)

Mary Cromer said...

Long-Tailed Tit's are always one of my most favorites of your shares...OK I have a few, but truly, I think they are such beautiful birds and the image share is wonderful. I don't remember seeing the Mistle Thrush before, maybe, but not sure. Gorgeous, isn't it!!!

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