Saturday, September 2, 2017

Some You Win

The weatherman kindly told us that Thursday 31st August was the Meteorological End of Summer. I tried to recall more than a handful of summery days during of May, June, July and August that resembled summer but I quickly gave up. 

Friday 1st September. I took a flying visit to Conder Green where a distant Kingfisher proved the only bird of note as it dived into the now shallow water from the top of the marker post. Otherwise there was the usual fare – An increase to 17 Teal, 9 Little Grebe, 80 Lapwing, 5 Snipe, 1 Goosander and 1 Common Sandpiper. The female Tufted Duck is reduced to just three youngsters now. A few pairs of Tufted Ducks have bred on the pool for the last three years but always struggle to get more than one or two youngsters up to full size. 


Tufted Duck

I was on the way to Gulf Lane to unload a bucket of rape seed into our net ride in preparation for a ringing session on Saturday. The seed is back-up to the natural food that the 300+ Linnets and Goldfinch now target because those large numbers of birds will soon make a large dent in natural food availability. 

Saturday 2nd September dawned misty but bright with the promise of sun and little wind for our ringing. I met up with Andy at 0630 just as the sun rose over to the East. 

Pilling sunrise

Looking West at Pilling

Unfortunately the Linnets didn’t perform as well as have come to expect and we ended up with a meagre catch of just five birds, a total quite unlike our catches to date this autumn.  Howver, all is not lost as those five bring us to 150 newly ringed Linnets so far this autumn.


The composition of the flock has changed considerably this week with now something like 50/50 Linnet/Goldfinch and just 200 birds in total this morning. Given the natural abundance of food at this time of year, both on site here and in the local area, the birds have many choices of where to feed. Additionally, the preferred feeding patch on site is some way from our single 80ft cut through the crop. 

We have seen a Sparrowhawk on at least three recent spot visits which leads us to think the hawk is a very regular visitor and may be deterring the finches from their usual habits. As Sparrowhawks are liable to do, once they find a reliable source of food, they come back time and time again. The hawk made two visits today, once trying to snatch a Linnet in the air and then later, moving along the fence line from where it could wait to pounce. The hawk flew off when I walked along the road towards its lookout post. 

Some you win, some you lose and it won't stop us trying again soon.

We may not have had the biggest catch of the year but it was certainly good to be out in the sun for a change. 

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


Vandana Sharma said...

Food for everyone!!

Linda said...

So sweet, Phil, I so enjoy your posts and photos.

Lowcarb team member said...

Fabulous photographs Phil, the sunrise looks amazing.
Weather wise, we've had a nice day too but I fear it will not last long ... more rain forecast. It's certainly been a strange summer.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

All the best Jan

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Good to get some sunshine after the rainy summer you've had. it is still hot hot summer here -- hot and, sadly, smoky. We could use some of your rain here ... it never seems to distribute itself well.

The Kingfisher is lovely posing on top of that 9 foot high dive!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Good morning Phil: I don't think you lost at all, you just didn't capture as many Linnets as you had hoped. But you had wide range of interesting species and even though the Sparrowhawk may be threatening your Linnet banding operation, or threatening the Linnets themselves for that matter, I am rooting for the raptor. They have a hard enough time coping with man's anthropomorphically stupid assertion that they are vermin and I wish them every success. Are we ever going to get over this view that raptors are somehow evil and need to be be exterminated at every turn? I hope so.

Noushka said...

Hi Phil,
I can't agree more with David's comment about raptors.
They are part of Nature's balance so are sharks in the ocean.
Maybe humans need a predator to set things straight!!
The Sparrowhawk is magnificent.
Wishing you a great new week :)

Gordon said...

Nice shot of the Kingfisher Phil, can't remember when I last saw one. How we all love to see a Sparrowhawk, until they start taking our favourite garden birds, or in your case all the Linnets you have just rung, nasty.
Have a good week, all the best, Gordon.

Stewart M said...

I've seen a few jokes about this years summer in the UK - I have to say, the weather was not the best when we were there! As you say, some you win ..........

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Gordon said...

Thanks Phil, I knew you would have a better idea than me , with all the close handling you do as a ringer.
Thanks again, and all the best, Gordon.

NCSue said...

Beautiful images - always!!!
Thanks for linking up at

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Them hawks can cause so much havoc with small birds.

Fun60 said...

Loved the sunrise and your photos of tge kingfisher and hawk.

Lady Fi said...

Gorgeous shots of sunrise and kingfisher!

Kay L. Davies said...

The Kingfisher is beautiful, Phil, the Linnet is adorable, and the Sparrowhawk majestic on its perch, but the sunrise at Pilling is wonderful!
And congratulations on being the first blogger to post on this week's Our World. I don't know if you've noticed, but Rajesh, in India, is usually first. You had to have been up very, very early in order to get ahead of him. The early morning life of a birder!
Hugs to you and Sue.
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

eileeninmd said...

Hello, your kingfisher is one of my favorite birds. I love the sky images and the scenic views too. Great birds and photos. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Your Banner image of the Wheatear is brilliant Phil. The images of the landscape around Pilling and beyond were lovely. The Sparrowhawk is wonderful. I am going to catch up on a couple more. See you there ;)

A Colorful World said...

Loved seeing the Sparrowhawk, but I know the other birds weren't happy to see him. Beautiful landscape shots!

likeschocolate said...

I always think of labor day as to the end of summer, but they don't have labor day and we really only had about 3 weeks of really hot weather. Now it is remarkably chilly here and I am not sure if we can say summer has come to an end.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Having had two days away, I'm a little late in visiting. I love your sunrise shot, and the lovely Kingfisher capture.
You haven't had much of a summer have you, but like you said, it won't be long now before you will be soaking up the sun in Greece, however, you always manage to delight us with your local wildlife, despite the poor weather you have been getting.

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