Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Low Level Ringing

Oakenclough is very much an autumn and winter ringing site where nothing much happens in the summer except for nest boxes containing Pied Flycatchers. But the autumn/winter and early spring of 2017/18 was so wet and miserable that we never managed to get here until today, our first ringing at the site since November 2017. 

In the meantime we enjoyed our hottest, driest summer for 50+ years with very little rainfall. The nearby reservoir is about one third full and where the typical water level is near the top of the brick towers and covering the immediate bank of stones. 

Low Level Water 

I met Andy at 0630 and we hoped to catch up a little on our lack of visits. We packed in at about 10.30 when the early minimal breeze wind increased to unmanageable levels. But we had a nice mix in the catch of 8 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Treecreeper and 1 Blue Tit. 

The two Garden Warblers, Sylvia borin, were the first ringed here since 2014, when I ringed a nest full of four youngsters. It was soon after that we were forced to abandon the site when out of control rhododendron took over the plantation and made it impossible to work as a ringing site. About four years ago United Utilities employed contractors to clear the site and to then replant in the hope of restoring its former glory. 

Both of the Garden Warblers proved to be adults, one male, one female, with feathering growing over their bellies, a sign of recent breeding. But as we caught only the two adults, there is no way of knowing if they bred on the now suitable site. The plantation now resembles how it looked in the 1980 and 1990s and hopefully some of the missing breeding species like Garden Warbler, Tree Pipit and Lesser Redpoll may reappear. 

Garden Warbler 

Garden Warbler 

All eight Willow Warblers were birds of the year, with six of them caught together in the same net – a flock of Willow Warblers! 

Willow Warbler 

There was no doubt about age and sex of the single Lesser Redpoll caught - adult male. 

 Lesser Redpoll

We don’t catch too many Treecreepers, here or anywhere else. They often accompany roving flocks of titmice and small warblers but not today. 


Birding in between ringing was very quiet. Highlights were 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Kestrel, 35 Goldfinch and a thin but noticeable movement of Swallows – about twenty heading due south in three hours.

Linking today to Eileen's Blogspot.


Rhodesia said...

I have to say I love it when photos are taken during ringing. It is great to see the birds close up. I have not seen a tree creeper forever, my husband thought he saw one in the Dordogne last month, but by the time I registered what he thought he had seen it had gone! We are returning to the same area in September so maybe I will be lucky.
Have a good day, Diane

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Good evening Phil:
You must have been very happy to band Garden Warblers again. Restoration of habitat is getting to be ever more critical for bird populations. So much has been degraded and/or taken out of use. You really start to wonder what the future holds for so many populations, and when you see what is happening in the United States where the Endanger Species legislation is being gutted it is really becoming questionable whether some species can survive.

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

That is a lovely shot of the Treecreeper Stuart

Wally Jones said...

You need a bit of our rain (we have plenty to spare!) to replenish the reservoirs and produce more mud for tromping around in.

Very nice ringing session! I'll be optimistic for you and presume those Garden Warblers did, indeed, breed locally. A harbinger of good things to come.

Another week has almost passed! Reports of a few migrating warblers in neighboring counties and groups of Swallow-tailed Kites forming for their annual South American journey are about the only headlines here.

Have a great weekend, Phil!

Angie said...

Pretty dry here in Montana as well … the stream out of our lake is down to a trickle, but in the marshy area I did spot a new bird (for me) - a Common Yellowthroat. Yippee! I don't know if it's the heat here, but since we returned from holiday, there don't seem to be near as many birds as three weeks ago …

Lowcarb team member said...

Yes, the water levels are low … hopefully we will get some decent rain soon to help replenish reservoirs.

Lovely seeing all of your bird photographs.

All the best Jan

eileeninmd said...

Hello, love your pretty Garden Warbler. I am hoping to see some warbler migrate through my yard. The Redpoll is a favorite and I love the shot of the Treecreeper. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It's exciting to see a Kestrel. And I enjoyed the birds you've shown! Enjoy your weekend!

A Colorful World said...

Hope the warblers do well! Such a great closeup of the tree creeper, too.

Aditya Narayan Mohanty said...

Gorgeous capture.

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