Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Redwing Morning

This is most unusual. We’ve had two days of frost with minus 2° on the temperature display at 0600 this morning. Not cold by some standards although the forecast was spot on and I was well prepared with five layers on top, three below, a very woolly hat and a scarf. 

I met Andy at Oakenclough where we were very unsure of the birds we might see and those we might catch in a period that is not quite autumn but also a tad off midwinter.

Perhaps the previous couple of days of zero temperatures had an effect on birds too because the morning saw a heavy movement of thrushes and to a lesser extent finches. From 0700 to 1000 we counted approximately 2000 thrushes arriving from the north and north-west. Many birds continued on south with some stopping off to feed on the still abundant crop of hawthorn and rowan.

Soon after 10 am the arrivals stopped and around 1030 we decided to pack in. 

The flocks and smaller parties numbered between two and 200 individuals, mostly Redwings but with a small proportion of Fieldfares. We estimated 1750 Redwings and 250 Fieldfares in the three hour slot. 

Luckily we managed to catch Redwings in our biggest catch of the species this autumn. We were not so lucky with the mornings’ other arrivals so finished with just 25 birds of 5 species only - 21 Redwing, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Goldfinch and 1 Song Thrush. 

Of the 21 Redwings, 19 were birds of the year (Code 3) and 2 adults (Code 4), a high ratio of juvenile/first years. 

Lesser Redpoll 

Redwing - first year

Song Thrush - first year 

A Redwing Morning 

Finches noted this morning, also from north to south - 35+ Goldfinch, 30+ Chaffinch, 12 Greenfinch, unidentified 30+. Also - 18 Lapwing , 1 Jay, 1 Raven, 1 Pied Wagtail. 

On the way home via Pilling Moss there was a flock of Fieldfares numbering 150+ feeding along a hawthorn hedge, obviously part of the morning’s arrivals that we hadn’t seen some 12 miles away. 


P.S. A fellow Lancashire ringer caught 64 Redwings near Lancaster this morning.


This was a morning when huge numbers of both Redwings and Fieldfares on the move.

Linking today to Anni in Texas and Eileen's Saturday Blog.


italiafinlandia said...

Redwings are beautiful birds. Rowan berries are over in Finland - burned by the frost.
Have a nice week!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

My word, you are such a baby with all those layers at a balmy minus 2! Sounds like more than I wear at minus 10! Glad to hear of the movement of thrushes and the Redwings provided you with a decent morning of banding. The sheer pleasure of seeing the migration in full swing like that would have given me enormous pleasure. I have never seen Redwing or Fieldfare, as I may have mentioned before, and my few views of Brambling have been fleeting and unsatisfactory. Perhaps one day I will have to come to Britain in November for Lancashire hotpot and thrushes. I will make sure that all my layers of clothing are ready for the experience!

Wally Jones said...

David's opinion on layering notwithstanding, kudos to you for your dedication to ringing in what - in my very humble opinion - was extremely adverse conditions.

Of course, I tend to don a sweater when a cloud obscures the sun ...

What a good day you appear to have had! Hopefully, the high ratio of first year Redwings bodes well for the species.

Gini and I hope you're both well and Sue is especially in our thoughts.

It's a bright blue sky day so I'm headed out (sweaterless) to seek migrating ducks to advise them to steer clear of cycling paths.

(Your previous post reminded of Nash's poem "The Hunter".)

S K Ditta said...

Hello, Phil.

Visited your blog after quite a long time. Nice to see you again.

Shared this post via Twitter @skditta. But it only shows the URL link. There are no images that would prompt others to look further. Just letting you know.


Jenn Jilks said...

Nicely done.
I love it: "Not cold by some standards" It's true. it's just begun. We had hail this morning.

Elkes Lebensglück said...

fascinating, beautiful photos of the Red Wing or Fieldfare, I've never seen that. Interesting your stories!
Greetings Elke

eileeninmd said...


You are brave to go in the early morning to band and count the birds. I am a wimp, anything under 40° is too cold. Beautiful photos of the Redpoll, Redwings and the Fieldfares. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend.

Lea said...

Great photos!
One good thing about the changing weather is that we see more birds as they migrate.
Have a wonderful weekend!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I would be a wimp too. We hiked and it was in the 50s....and we thought we were freezing! haha! Love that Fieldfard. What a beautiful bird!

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

I loved reading your counting up of these lovely birds. Great job. I have yet to see birds in such numbers migrating.

RedPat said...

I love to hear of these adventures and agree that those temps can feel really cold if it is windy. And I think you have more of a damp cold than we do in Canada. I've been to your area a couple of times in September and it was splendid.

Joyful said...

Beautiful little birds. I love how committed you are to recording their numbers.

Powell River Books said...

I'm in the migration destination zone. Seems like Canadian human "Snowbirds" are traveling alongside the real Snowbirds. - Margy

Anni said...

It's a good thing you didn't fall down...you'd never been able to get up with the weight of all those layers!!

I'd say the numbers of birds are pretty good considering the temperatures & early morning hours. Excellent, informative photos, as always.

Thanks for linking up this weekend.

sandyland said...

I want to go

The Ornery Old Lady said...

Your job sounds lovely, being able to interact with the birds. Some nice pictures here!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Living in semi-tropical Florida, it sounds really cold to me. I admire your dedication to the birds. Great photos today as usual!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

That was a remarkable migration event! We, in south Florida had a cold front pass through last night and it got down to 55 degrees F. Time to wear the fleece vest!

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely to see the birds in your photographs.
It seems a while ago now that it was minus temperatures … so much rain!
Enjoy this last week of November.

All the best Jan

Angie said...

Phil - love the song thrush. The plumage - ooh la la!

NCSue said...

Pretty fellas!
Thanks for joining this week's linkup at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/11/morning-glory.html

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