Monday, August 31, 2020

Ringers Return

Weeks had slipped by since our last visit to Oakenclough . The last one was 14th August 2020 when we still caught Tree Pipits and Willow Warblers even though the cool morning air suggested autumn was close and that warblers might morph into finches and thrushes. 

Our visit was so long ago that on Sunday while studying the weather forecast I had to remind myself of how we were doing with each species until continual foul weather stopped us dead in our tracks. Up to 14 August and a very mixed bag of 363 birds and 26 species below: 

Blue Tit 20 
Siskin 6 
Goldfinch 39 
Chiffchaff 15
Whitethroat 1 
Coal Tit 26 
Willow Warbler 84 
Tree Pipit 12 
Goldcrest 18 
Song Thrush 2 
Blackbird 3 
Dunnock 5 
Blackcap 30 
Lesser Redpoll 15 
Chaffinch 27 
Wren 20 
Treecreeper 5 
House Sparrow 1 
Robin 10 
Garden Warbler 6 
Pied Flycatcher 2 
Long- tailed Tit 2 
Sedge Warbler 1 
Meadow Pipit 9 
Greenfinch 4 

Would we continue with summer warblers or move almost imperceptibly into autumn birds? 

We met up at 0630 Ringers Three - Andy, Bryan and The One Who Takes the Pictures. The air was cool at 5.5 °C and very little stirred. The earliest sightings came from a flurry of Swallows heading south, flights that continued throughout the morning until we had counted approximately 120 by finish time at 1130. 

Catching was slow but steady with a handful of warblers together with the appearance of the first autumnal Meadow Pipits. Birds caught 22 of 8 species only - 6 Meadow Pipit, 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch , 1 Coal Tit , 1 Wren and 1 Siskin. 

Meadow Pipit
The most unexpected bird of the morning here at 700 ft above sea level was a Marsh Harrier, a brown female/juvenile that appeared from the west, flew along the northern boundary and then down into the valley.  Although we see most raptors here, this was the very first sighting of a Marsh Harrier.

Other birds noted - 2 Nuthatch, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 10 Pied Wagtail, 10 Meadow Pipit, 3 Sand Martin, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Kestrel. 

Another overhead sighting came with the appearance of a brightly coloured hot-air balloon that sailed overhead south to north in the direction of Morecambe Bay. Let’s hope the pilot dropped anchor before sailing out over the Irish Sea. 

Flying High
Stay tuned. There’s a newly published book review on the way.


NCSue said...

Great photos here! Of course I can always count on finding them at your place.
Thanks for sharing at

Elkes Lebensglück said...

Fantastic photos are that!The hot air balloon is so colorful, great!
Greetings Elke

Traveler In Me said...

That's some sighting list. The small feathered friends look so pretty.

Wally Jones said...

A Marsh Harrier, at any altitude, would be special for me! It seems autumn is trying to nudge summer off the calendar. Very nice morning of ringing, although I feel certain you would have liked to see more numbers and greater diversity. But isn't that always the case?

Hopefully, the weather will cooperate to allow more forays as summer truly fades and waves of fall feathers wing their way into your waiting nets.

All is wet here. Rains are now lasting most of the day. We should get a break this week and start slogging around looking for evidence of autumn migration.

All the best as we begin this new week!

Gill Arbuthnott said...

The Ringers Return - is that like The Rovers Return but with mist-nets instead of hairnets, and no milk stout (giving away my age now!).
Tom Dougall

Rhodesia said...

I love that little Goldcrest, they are so cute and I have only ever seen one here for a brief moment. That list of ringed birds looks impressive to me.
I am hearing the Little owls so I know they are around although I have only seen them once recently. I am far behind with blogs, just too busy with the garden and preserving.
Have a good week and take care, Diane

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

your birds and balloon are glorious

Amy said...

I don't think I would be brave enough to be up in a hot hair balloon but I bet they got great views over the land.

Mike Attwood said...

Nice to see that you have plenty birds to work with Phil. Here in the south its getting pretty thin. Still trying to work out what is happening. Stay safe. Mike.

Veronica Lee said...

Incredible photos as always, Phil. I especially love the balloon shot -- I've always wanted to go up in one! Bucket-list item!

Penelope Notes said...

The birds are sweet and the balloon a shining example of our yearning to fly.

Photo Cache said...

Cute birdies.

Worth a Thousand Words

R's Rue said...


Angie said...

Phil - I love the coloring on the wren. Your siskins have much more yellow plumage than ours! Hope your next session is successful!

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely birds, but that hot air balloon is wonderful too - what a colourful one it is.

All the best Jan

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