Friday, March 13, 2020

Keep Calm And Carry On

It seems that modern weather forecasts emanate from just a few sources that syndicate their findings. It’s no surprise then that mainstream TV channels have remarkably similar forecasts when most of the announcers read from a rehearsed script rather than share their thoughts as informed and knowledgeable meteorologists. The best bet is to find an Internet forecast that updates time slots regularly and one that suit a particular preference or pinpoints locations for the activity that is to be pursued. After all,  a windsurfer’s needs are quite different to those of a bird ringer! 

Andy and I continued our search of weather forecasts for one that might allow us a morning in the fresh air and a ringing session. By Thursday evening there was a chance that Friday morning might provide the requisite window so we duly pencilled it in for a trip to Project Linnet. 

It could be that continued bad weather has delayed the Linnet departure north whereby in a normal spring winter flocks have separated and individuals gone their own ways. We’ve had 35/40 around all week when I checked and dropped more seed to keep the birds interested. 

Friday saw the regular Stock Dove or two and a couple of Reed Buntings and Chaffinches feeding in the penalty area. The now resident Kestrel hovered overhead for while during its customary circuit.  


Reed Bunting and Chaffinch 

A male Blackbird holds territory, and this morning at least five Skylarks in song in the immediate area where the many fence posts come in handy. 



Stock Dove 

Many people will be unfamiliar with the Stock Dove. A quick glance confirms their fears that it is one of those messy creatures that hang around city streets. Look closer; while the Stock Dove is indeed a member of the pigeon family this small version nests in holes in trees and in farm buildings. It’s a bird of woodland edges and parkland during the breeding season and can be seen in small flocks on winter farmland. Unlike the Woodpigeon and the Feral Pigeon, the extremely shy Stock Dove is very rarely found in towns, cities or suburban gardens.  

This morning looked ideal with less than 10 mph wind and wispy cloud above. Unfortunately the Linnets didn’t play ball by refusing to visit our seed in anything other than ones and twos but instead sunning themselves in the bramble. We noted that the recently depleted Linnet flock is now quite “loose” and “stretched” compared to those of mid-winter when the birds pack tightly together. As soon as the weather takes a real turn for the better the Linnets will be long gone. 


We caught not a single Linnet and had to settle for a second year male Reed Bunting instead. We suspect this to be the male on territory and paired to the female seen earlier. 

Reed Bunting 

When opportunities arrived to catch three or four Linnets, we declined in favour of a bigger haul that never materialised – isn’t hindsight wonderful? We also suffered “near misses” of two or three of those Skylarks, the ones that sang on high and came down for a too brief look and didn’t stay long enough for capture. Better luck next time. 

Dear Readers, stay safe and well. Carry on as normal and keep calm is the advice from here. I have no elderly parents to worry about, but I do have five young grandchildren. Take sensible and personal precautions to avoid contagion is the key, but life must carry on.

H L Mencken in 1918:

“Civilisation  grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed and hence clamorous to be led to safety by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

Back soon on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Anni's Birding and Eileen's Saturday Blog.


Wally Jones said...

Phil, I empathize concerning accurate weather forecasts. Here in sub-tropical Florida, the "meteorologist" has a 50% chance of always being correct: rain or no rain.

As you point out, finding a suitable weather reporting source depends on your interests. I've found an internet site who specializes in wind reports for boaters and this has been quite helpful in planning birding trips.

My ignorance of ringing and birding in your local area is profound. Reading your excellent report seems to indicate spring is proceeding. Hopefully, really bad weather is now only a memory.

The Kestrel must appreciate your seeding efforts.

I'm sure it's just my suspicious nature, but I can't help thinking those Linnets in the brambles are mocking you.

Gini and I hope your weekend is filled with fun and birds!

We have found the most effective antidote to viral plagues is to avoid media. Hope it works.

Tanza Erlambang said...

I rarely see "Kestrel" in nature....
is there population declining in UK?

# Yes, forecast said sunny, but we got rain sometimes

Elkes Lebensglück said...

what a beautiful bird life they show here!
Now you have to be careful that the virus doesn't catch you and do everything you can!
Greetings Elke

Adam Jones said...

Phil, the weather has been so poor for months it seems. I've had the same issues. If you have a smart phone there are a couple of apps that I have found to be reliable with their longer term (week ahead) forecasts for wind, rain and snow. One is called 'XC Weather' and the other is 'Windy'. Hope they work for you. Reed Bunting was a good runner up prize, but I know how frustrating it is to not get what you set out to.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,

I think you managed to see some great birds on your outings. Love the Kestrel, the Blackbird is handsome and Reed Bunting is beautiful. Great photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

camdandusler said...

What a nice birds😊

Jo said...

Hi Phil, no matter the weather, you seem to show such incredible finds. I love the Black bird and Stock Dove. Kestrels and Falcons are aplenty in our area here in the Central Drakensberg, South Africa. They're soon will depart. Stay safe. Jo

Lowcarb team member said...

The weather so far this year has not been good!!!
We did get out and about in the week but everywhere is so wet and muddy.

Meanwhile the grandchildren keep us busy which is great :)

I always enjoy seeing your bird photographs …
Enjoy your weekend.

All the best Jan

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Now the weather! Well I started a morning walking group and at present leaves my home at 7.45am for the past 2 months, 1 hour and i have only had to cancel it twice in once due to too much ice under foot and the other it did rain just too much for us. Usually the rest of the day got the worse weather so the saying, "The early bird catches the worm" is working for us. If we listened to the weather forecast, we would never get out there sometimes. Anyway, with your ringing, of course it is important. I love the Kestrel shot and the male reed bunting. I hope you have a great week ahead and stay safe from this virus. Thanks for all your comments..

Anni said...

I hope you and your family remain safe & healthy throughout this pandemic. We have one local weatherman who is spot-on 99% of the time (even near correct to the hour when a weather front moves in)...anyway...your bird photos this week are super. I especially like the male Reed Bunting...striking color pattern.

Thanks for coming over to I'd Rather B Birdin this weekend and linking up with us.

EricaSta said...

What a wonderful Post... have a good week. Stay healthy.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I admire your dedication in going birding despite the weather. Hope you have a few bright days and you avoid the 'bug'.

NCSue said...

The reed bunting is especially beautiful to me! Thanks for sharing at, and I hope you and yours are well and are not swept up in the hysteria.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Lovely photos! Will be keeping calm and Happy St. Paddy's Day to you and yours!

Stevenson Que said...

Beautiful feathered friends! That blackbird looks very sharp yet very peaceful and calm. Makes me sing the song at the sight of him :)


Veronica Lee said...

Over here in my corner of the world, we are having an unusual long, dry spell. I am in awe of your dedication in going birding despite the weather. Lovely photos as always, Phil!

Rhodesia said...

Hi Phil, Lovely set of photos and I particularly love the kestrel.

Carry on as normal - pretty much impossible here. they say it will be a 12-week lockdown. We have to print off a form from the internet each time we want to go to the supermarket to be filled in for each trip to show to police. I am wondering what the older people are supposed to do, many even at our age here do not have a computer or a printer!!!! Literally, the only places open are bank, chemist, hospital and supermarkets at limited times. There you have to queue to go in as only so many people at a time allowed in. Some people including both of us cannot stand in a long queue for any length of time. I have a 99-year-old FIL in the UK, thankfully SIL is with him at present

Stay safe. Diane

Angie said...

Phil - it's wonderful to see you out and about, doing your normal birding "thing". We are still getting out, but we are avoiding people as much as we can. I truly believe social distancing will only work if we all do it. Thanks for bringing some sunshine to all of us through your bird photos!

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