Saturday, September 1, 2018

No Two Days Alike

Most bird ringers will agree that going to the same place on consecutive days may not be a good idea. That’s probably true for sites where the majority of birds are likely to be from a small local area but does not apply where a site attracts migratory birds, ones that are likely to be different individuals each day. And the theory definitely doesn't hold water in migrant hot-spots like coastal bird observatories where both ringing and observations on consecutive days is an absolute must to record day to day variations. 

I guess our site up at Oakenclough is a mixture of the above. For sure there are local birds but located as it is on the edge of the Pennines and with a clear view down to the coast just 12 miles away, there can be a large element of migration at certain times of the year. 

Andy and I had already been twice this week and clocked up almost 80 new birds, the latest on Thursday when we caught 52 of 10 species. So we had no qualms about heading up there again this morning and arranged our meet-up for 0630. 

Thursday was a pretty busy day but this morning produced a downturn in both numbers caught and species observed. Birds ringed 23. We processed 7 Goldfinch, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 3 Coal Tit, 2 Tree Pipit and singles each of Blackcap, Robin, Great Tit, Goldcrest and Wren. 

Today saw our ninth Tree Pipit of the week. All nine have been first year (born 2018) birds.

Tree Pipit 

After three new Coal Tits yesterday, two more today tells us that the species’ migration is probably under way. 

Coal Tit

Long-tailed Tits are definitely local birds. But we have not seen any large flocks of “lotties” just yet, flights that can number up to twenty, thirty or more individuals following good breeding success and mild winters. 

Long-tailed Tit 

Although we caught just the one Goldcrest today, there is little doubt that their autumnal migration is now on-going. 


We didn't record Willow Warbler today; our only warbler sighting consisted of the single Blackcap we caught, a first year male. Although Blackcaps breed close to this ringing site we are pretty sure that the three first years birds caught this week have been migrants. 


This morning gave a good display of Chaffinch visible migration as small parties of between 2 and 20 individuals arrived from North and North West, flying overhead calling. From the total of approximately 80 observed, A small number stopped off and accounted for the three caught. 


About the only other visible migrant today was Swallow. Like the Chaffinches that moved in a similar time frame our Swallow sightings consisted of small parties of between 5 and 15 Swallows all heading south, either directly through or over the ringing site. 

Otherwise: 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 10 Pied Wagtail.

Linking today to  Stewart's World Bird Wednesday and


Joyful said...

Wonderful bird captures. I'm feeling the chill in the air where I live so I guess it's time for the migration to happen. I'm amazed at how you have so many birds perching on your hand. Awesome.

sandyland said...

you had me at the tern header !!wow

Rhodesia said...

I thought I had commented here but maybe I am not keeping up! Sounds to me like you have been very successful with your ringing. I am in love with the long-tailed Tit it is just so cute. Have a great Sunday Diane

Angie said...

The 'lottie' is quite fluffy - and the Goldcrest is teeny-tiny! As always, I am fascinated with all the species and the close-ups. Delightful.

Wally Jones said...

Well, it certainly seems a prelude to fall migration is in progress. That looks like quite a diverse collection you had yesterday!

You are definitely right about no two days being alike, especially during migration! Many times I'll see a report of an uncommon bird in a spot I had just explored the day before. Curse you, lucky birder!

We are still in the "get out early" mode here as thunderstorms arrive by lunch time. Above average rainfall and plenty of wonderful humidity!

Another week about to begin and we look forward to enjoying reports from Another Bird Blog!

All the best, Phil.

Stuart Price said...

I didn't know Tree Pipits were that common in the NW............

Anni said...

I'm now officially in LOVE with the long tailed Tit! You shared with us so many catches of the day...a wonderful outing with you two once again!

I'm late getting around to visiting today...birding early before the holiday traffic built up! Thanks for linking in with us this weekend!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Certainly the migratory component is the most rewarding part of bird banding, and the sense that one is contributing to research into the movements of species, with clues as to their habitat, feeding strategies, census data and threats, is very rewarding. Citizen science is a very important part of modern day research and I am sure you are happy to be a part of it. I know that I am, Phil.

NCSue said...

Your photos always are wonderful! Thanks for sharing them with us at

Fun60 said...

Holding the goldcrest gives us a really good idea just how small it is.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Wonderful collection of bird shots today

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The long-tailed tit has the sweetest face...lovely close-up. Migration is an exciting time.

Photo Cache said...

Incredible captures.

Worth a Thousand Words

mick said...

All those little birds are especially beautiful when you show them so close. Interesting to be able to check on the progress of near-by migration.

Stewart M said...

I would say that LTT's have to be one of my favourite birds. I some ways I am surprised that they wer not brought to Australia! (far less attractive bird were!)

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

italiafinlandia said...

In this post the Blackcap is my favourite image.
Sylvia Atricapilla. In Finland a Christmas song talks about this bird.

Lady Fi said...

What wonderful shots.

A Colorful World said...

80 new birds! Wow! That coal tit is so cute. Nice shots of the sweet bounty of birds.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such sweet looking birds.
Great selection of pictures.

All the best Jan

Mary Howell Cromer said...

That Long-tailed Tit so precious, I always love when you share the Tits of any kind, their faces are just lovely~

Aditya Narayan Mohanty said...

Wow awesome bird capture . Please tell something about my captures on my blog.

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