Friday, July 31, 2020

A Swallow Morning

Andy’s shiny new battle wagon didn’t bring much luck today.  Just a week ago we had the best catch of the autumn so far with 43 birds,  

Ringing Station

This morning we set up the ringing station in the hatchback expecting a good catch on such a fine and warm morning.  If anything, the south-easterly breeze was a little too blowy with the glaring sun on mist nets providing an unwanted addition.   

There seemed to be few birds around and we struggled to even reach double figures with 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Wren, 1 Robin and 1 Chiffchaff.

Willow Warbler

All Chiffchaffs look unkempt at this time of year. Both adults and juveniles undergo their respective moults. The one below is in post-juvenile moult.



Luckily and despite today’s poor numbers the month of July here at Oakenclough has been quite productive with 175 captures. Top spot was taken by Willow Warbler on 47, well clear of Blackcap and Chaffinch on 15 captures each followed by 9 Chiffchaff and 5 Garden Warbler.  Bonus birds came in unexpected singles of Sedge Warbler and Pied Flycatcher plus a couple each of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.       

In contrast to our poor catch the morning provided a good show of visible migration by Swallows. The four hours with not much to do allowed time and opportunity to watch and count groups of Swallows. In the clear skies they arrived from the north in small gangs of 5-15 individuals that fed on the wing around the buildings and woodland edge before each one of them headed south.  We counted 150 + in four hours of observation. July 31st may seem early for Swallows to begin their long migration but that is exactly what they must do to reach South Africa for their second summer.    


Swallow Migration - BTO

I see Google has "improved" Blogger. Alright, it may take time to adjust to the changes but this has taken an hour instead of the normal 15 minutes.

Am I alone?


Vandana Sharma said...

I think a swallow is making a nest in my garage! Seems like a swallow only.

eileeninmd said...


I wish the Swallows a safe journey. I love the Goldfinch and the pretty Willow Warbler and the adorable Chiffchaff. Great photos.
Take care, happy birding. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a great weekend!

Jo said...

Hi Phil, I look forward to seeing the swallows, which means it will be warmer in our part of the world. What an incredible journey (pun intended) these birds undertake. I loved seeing the "scruffy" chiffchaffs. Yes, I also had issues with the new blogger; and thought it was only me. Have a great weekend. Jo

Elkes Lebensglück said...

Thank you for this interesting post with the photos!
Havea good day, Elke

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a gorgeous photo of the Swallow and interesting to see the migration routes. We see Swallows here year round but they are almost impossible to photograph. They dart and swoop too much! lol Enjoy your weekend!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

The new blogger is really annoying. It takes ages to get the pictures and the text aligned properly, the labels take longer to do, and the arrangement and design of the signs for different tasks is far from intuitive. It's crisper to look at but absolutely nothing new has been introduced. Pointless exercise in change. I join you in your displeasure.

Mike Attwood said...

Hi Phil,
Iam glad to see someone is getting the birds because we don't seem to have any here in Sussex. Nice post. Stay safe. Mike.

Jean said...

Your swallow photo looks like it belongs in a bird book! All your other photos are also great, and interesting as always reading your post. I switched away from Blogger but I've heard others mention being a bit frustrated with the new format. Hopefully, it'll get easier for you soon. Hope you're having a terrific weekend so far.

Anu said...

Hello. The migration of birds is a miraculous phenomenon.

Stevenson Q said...

Oh Phil these are so cute! I am happy you guys have been ringing again and seeing these beautiful little guys are happiness to my sight! I really like the way you take photos of them that even if it's just one side, it seems like they are looking at the camera!

I have been adjusting to the new blogger theme as well Phil but it does look a lot cleaner especially when you compose using HTML compared to before where there is no color coding for the tags so now it's easier to see if something is not closed. But for the other parts, it does seem a bit tricky to be honest, especially when adding labels, whenever I search by typing, it treats the keyword as new even if the label already exists Ha!

Have a great new week my friend, oh the weekend went really fast for me! Hope this new week will not be as stressful at work compared to my last few weeks.

Rhodesia said...

At least the morning was not a total disaster :-) The shot of the swallow is gorgeous. Re the update; I went straight back to the old style, I hate changes. Easy to do. Keep well and have a good week, Diane

NCSue said...

How do you CATCH them?
Thanks for linking to us this week!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I don't think I've ever seen a willow warbler before - a handsome bird

Wally Jones said...

At least you had a nice warm morning to enjoy! Now, if the birds would just cooperate.

To my uneducated self, your July ringing numbers seem impressive. The relatively few birds today probably means they are preparing to overwhelm you as August gets underway.

Terrific map showing the Swallow's migration route.

All is good here as we were not affected at all by the recent hurricane. Hoping all of us have a wonderful new week!

Lydia C. Lee said...

So small and yet so far....

Veronica Lee said...

I reverted back to the legacy interface - I hate the new interface and noticed that a couple of my drafts that were missing reappeared when I switched back to the old interface.

Fascinating to see the migration routes. Love the photos.

The Padre said...

Thank You - Fabulous Migration Chart - Be Well


Angie said...

Phil - our swallows have also moved on. One day, dozens flying and perching periodically in the large dead aspen. Next day, all gone!

Yes, I have had difficulties with the new interface. Captions do not show up, labels are much harder to add, "saving" stops working for no apparent reason. Sigh.

Lowcarb team member said...

I think many are having problems with new blogger!!!

Lovely photograph of the swallow.

All the best Jan

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