Friday, August 14, 2020

Friday Fortunes

We returned to Oakenclough today. I arrived at 0620, Andy at 0625 for the appointed 0630. That’s just one of the many disciplines of becoming a bird ringer - punctual and dependable timekeeping. Sadly, many a trainee ringer falls at this very first and perhaps most important hurdle of an apprenticeship. 

Following a satisfactory session of 36 birds on Wednesday we hoped for a similar result today. An easterly breeze of 10-12 mph suggested a repeat was unlikely. While north, south and west winds all produce some birds, easterlies arriving via the nearby Pennine Hills rarely produce the goods in numbers. 

Luckily the breeze dropped slightly as the morning wore on, allowing a steady if unremarkable result with 22 birds. Finches were to the fore but we caught yet more Tree Pipits. We totalled - 7 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin, 3 Tree Pipit, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, and 1 Whitethroat. 

The Common Whitethroat was today’s star bird. Not because it is rare but as the “Common” prefix suggests, Whitethroats are a widespread bird of lowland farm, scrub & hedgerow. They are pretty uncommon up here at 700ft above sea level, this the second ever caught here at Oakenclough. Upon inspection, and unsurprisingly, we aged this migrant as a bird born this year. 


Siskins are rather special little birds that come in many shades of grey, green, yellow, buff and brown to name but a few. Even the youngest ones are fine specimens to admire. 



None of the seven Goldfinches could be sexed as they had little or no head colour to inspect. By now mid-August these are youngsters of second broods where the size of an individual might suggest some male, some female. Without the extra information provided by colour and its whereabouts, these birds go onto the database as age ‘3’ - a bird born this year. 


Two more Willow Warblers today brought our total here to 77 captures of the species for 2020. Just six of the 77 were caught on a subsequent occasion, usually within a week or less. 

Willow Warbler

Our Tree Pipits saw three more birds of the year heading south to Africa. Tree Pipits winter in forest and wooded savannas from Guinea in West Africa, east to Ethiopia and as far as South Africa. However, the specific whereabouts of British birds is still unknown. (BTO Migration Atlas). 

As with other declining bird populations, many of the causes may lie outside Britain, on migration or in the African wintering grounds. 

Tree Pipit 

Birding between ringing was pretty unremarkable with little to see in the easterly gusts. Raptors in the shape of Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, 30+ Swallows and a single Swift on the move as the air warmed and the early breeze moderated. 

On the way home I stopped at Lancaster Road to view the flood caused by recent rain and thunderstorms. The hundreds of gulls, dozens of Lapwings and two soaring Buzzards were scared off by a light plane flying overhead. There wasn’t time to wait. Lunch called. 

Summer Scene 

All the rain of June and July with recent hot sunny weather and more bucket loads of rain looks like providing a bumper crop of apples in the garden. 


And still a month or more to swell those Bramleys.  And then it's Apple Pie time.



italiafinlandia said...

The immature Goldfinch is very nice to see.
Have a nice weekend!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,

I am usually the early bird, arriving first. Beautiful collection of birds, great closeups of all the birds. It is hard to pick a favorite, they are all so darn cute. I have to say, the Goldfinch is a favorite.
Apple pie sounds delicious! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care and enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Beeeeeeeautiful! ❤️️

Mae Travels said...

As usual, I'm delighted with the extreme close-ups of the tiny birds in the hands of your colleagues. I hope you do find out, from the markers you put on, exactly where they go in Africa. Bird migration is truly amazing.

be well... mae at

Martha@SeasideSimplicity said...

They are all so beautiful!

Jean said...

Our son's high school marching band director's famous quote: To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late. Great lesson learned for both the kids (and the parents). Enjoyed seeing all the different variety of birds. I can imagine all the others in your summer scene as well. It'll be apple pie time very soon. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Mike Attwood said...

Hi Phil, Once again a post full of interest. Stay safe. Mike.

Rain said...

I love how you can handle the birds...the siskins are especially beautiful to me. Apple pie time sound fabulous! :)

Anni said...

apple pie...delicious!

It's always a good thing to arrive a bit earlier than scheduled to prepare for the upcoming job of work (or fun if the case may be). You both had a prosperous ringing session again So many differdnt bird species. And the flooding image is very pretty! Thanks so much for taking time from your day to share your birding with us at IRBB this week.

Rhodesia said...

Lovely set of photos and it is always good th see the birds so close and see markings that maybe one would not normally see. We have no Bramleys but we have Granny Smith and they als make a pretty good apple pie. Have a good day, Diane

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Those apples sure look good! Got enough to share? Love the Goldfinches and Warblers. They are beautiful birds to spot year round here!

Wally Jones said...

With your reports showing actual migrating birds and talk of fresh apple pie, it is suddenly feeling very "autumn-like" around here.

Thank you for an interesting summary of birds ringed. It's fascinating how small things, such as wind direction, can have such an impact on results.

Our own fall migration has begun, as usual, with an American Redstart seen last week, a Yellow Warbler yesterday and large numbers (50-100) of Swallow-tailed Kites gathering in preparation for their flight to South America.

Gini and I hope you have a fantastic new week!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

your photos today are beauties - love all the birds and who doesn't love apples?

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Your birds are beautiful!!

NCSue said...

You certainly stay busy with your birding!
Thanks for sharing at

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I enjoyed your lovely bird photos. It must be incredibly rewarding to find so many different birds. That's such a great avocation.

Veronica Lee said...

Once again, a very entertaining and educational post, Phil!

Happy Tuesday!

R's Rue said...

Beautiful creatures. Thank you for sharing. Happy Tuesday.

Lowcarb team member said...

That is a nice lot of apples :)

All the best Jan

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