Friday, February 26, 2021


That's correct friends. This is a Blog One Get One Free offering to rival Tesco's Finest. Two posts in one at no extra cost to yourselves, even though no one has yet bought me a coffee (see RH column). 

I ran out of time to update the blog from Thursday's ringing session at Gulf Lane and because Andy and I arranged to go again on Friday, I combined the two days into one post. The direct comparison between the two mornings of similar weather conditions and each morning's birds is I hope, quite interesting. 

Thursday morning saw a a slow arrival of Linnets in ones, twos and fives until a couple of maximum counts of about forty birds. After Tuesday's catch of 14, another catch of 14 on Thursday saw no recaptures nor a single recapture from this or any other winter, a recapture rate of lots of noughts, very close to zero. 

It meant that Thursday's 14 Linnets were all new to us - 2 adult male, 2 adult female, 4 first winter female and 6 first winter male. 

Male Linnets have begun to sport some colourful if patchy colouration where their old feathers wear to reveal the ruby red that attracts a female to their patch.  

Male Linnet - February

We failed to catch either of the 2 Stonechats that appeared around 0730 and spent the rest of the morning parading along the fence line without showing more than a modicum of interest in the catching zone. 

Likewise the three or more Skylark overhead and two Reed Bunting that frequented the patch of bramble that lines the ditch. We now have the Skylark territories mapped in our heads, areas that are familiar to us and obviously to the birds. These fairly small areas are the same as last year and the one before that and the one before that .......
A male Sparrowhawk visited twice, drawn in by the sight of the small Linnet flock. For a while it sat on a fence post 50 yards away before it sped off across the field. It returned an hour so later where it made an unsuccessful pass at a small group of Linnets before it again examined the scene from a post some forty yards away.  If only that 600mm lens had a little more reach. 




Friday began with  another early of toast, blackberry jam and a large mug of brown tea. Just the job for the promised zero temperatures at the meeting point with Andy at Gulf Lane. Cold it was at minus 2 degrees but with a promise of warm sun once the frost cleared. 

Pretty quickly it became apparent that fewer Linnets were arriving to feed. Clear overnight weather may have led to a departure north and our best count of 20+, reflected in the catch of just 2 Linnets. 

We kept our options open and caught a few of the other species around - In addition to the two Linnets we caught 2 male Reed Buntings, a female Skylark and a first winter female Stonechat. So although we added little to our total of wintering Linnets, we enjoyed seeing other species that aren't caught too often. 

There was just the one Stonechat around this morning. The last two weeks has seen a strong migration of Stonechats at local birding sites. We suspect that the closely aligned male and female of Thursday departed overnight to be replaced by the single female we caught. 

The single Skylark caught was a female, the deciders a wing length of 101 mm and a hint of the start of a brood patch ready for the spring and summer. We counted at least five Skylarks this morning. There was both chasing and singing as the larks sort out their respective territories. 


Reed Bunting
There's more news soon from Another Bird Blog. And special offers! 

Stay tuned.

Linking Saturday to Anni in Texas and Eileen's Saturday Blogspot.



Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil, All your bird images are lovely, especially your Sparrow Hawk capture, which even at a distance is a beautiful sharp image. Captivating video clip of the Skylark. I watched, and listened to it twice, may even come back tomorrow to listen to it again!!

By the way Phil, your tastes are not dissimilar to mine!:=)

italiafinlandia said...

The Sparrowhawk is a beauty. One visited my Christmas tree, last Christmas. It was so fun to see him close.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil
It looks like you had a nice outing and count. All the birds are beautiful, I like the cool Sparrowhawk. The Skylark and Reed Bunting are favorites too. Wonderful series of photos.
Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care and stay safe. Enjoy your day, happy weekend!

Rhodesia said...

Nothing wrong with your photos of the Sparrowhawk. I wish though I could see some of the other birds you see, but with my lack of knowledge I would put some of them down as LBJ's :-((((

Sun is shining here today but maximum only 11C.

Take care Diane

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Nice shots Phil, I especially like seeing the Sparrow hawk.

Mike Attwood said...

Lovely post Phil,
I wish I had the opportunity to photograph wildlife as much as you but I am afraid my legs don't travel far from the car so I have to be patient and wait for it to come to me. Stay safe.

Shiju Sugunan said...

Gorgeous shots! That Sparrow hawk is impressive.

The Padre said...

Gotta Like The REED Bunting But That Sparrowhawk Is Something Special - Love Watching Those Falcons, Hawks, etc In Flight - Like Effortless Flight - Be Well


Linda said...

Excellent photos!

Anni said...

I would have to have 3 or 4 layers of clothes on in those temperatures!! Of course, I always enjoy your banding photos...that last skylark is very attractive...and the hawk? Great images of it in the sunlight.
Thanks for choosing to share this post with us birders!

(PS...blackberry jam is my FAVORITE!!)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The Sparrowhawk sure looks like he means beautiful! Enjoy your Sunday! Hope you can get out too!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

it always amazes me to see a bird sitting on your hand - a childhood dream of mine

NCSue said...

As with Carol, I find it amazing to see birds in your hand. The only time I've been able to achieve that is after a bird flies into the window and gets knocked out. I have picked up the little fellow and cupped him in my hand til he's able to fly away.
Thanks for sharing at

Zubida Khatoon said...

Nice to read your blogpost about Linnets, Sparrowhawk. Both are looking beautiful in all pictures as you took it beautifully through your camera.

Veronica Lee said...

That Sparrowhawk is a beauty!

Love that captivating video of the skylark singing!

Happy Tuesday, Phil!

Lowcarb team member said...

Beautiful photographs, especially the Sparrowhawk.

Happy March Wishes.

All the best Jan

Wally Jones said...

We have noticed a similar pattern during migration that you noted between your two consecutive days. Following a clear night, not much activity the next morning, likely due to the birds taking advantage of the good weather to travel. A rainy night with a clear morning makes a big difference!

As my brother wryly pointed out last year, "you don't need a bigger lens, just get closer to the bird". Thanks for that insight, little brother! Brilliant photo of the Sparrowhawk no matter what lens was used.

We really enjoyed the clip of the Skylark. Our balcony in Germany overlooked a wheat field which was a favorite staging spot for springtime Skylarks. Amazing to watch them soar upward singing their hearts out!

Apologies for being absent. Family issues requiring road trips put "normal" life on hold for a bit.

Gini and I are dismayed you haven't yet received our loving gift of fresh coffee. Hope one of crew of the cargo ship it was on didn't take it!

Stay warm!

Angie said...

Phil - that Stonechat is really giving you the "look". Hilarious! (And I know I should not ascribe human behaviors to birds ...)

Arun Goyal said...

Those are lovely bird captures , I would like to appreciate your efforts for taking these stunning and sharp birds images . It would be my pleasure if you join my link up party related to Gardening, Nature shots and birds here at

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