Sunday, April 25, 2021

No Show

Three degrees at dawn but not the songsters. The temperature was 3º at Oakenclough where Friday's ringing turned into another poor show of zero migration and little in the way of new birds.  I tell a lie. Visible migration consisted of consisted of 2 Swallows arriving as singles and 2 Siskins, singles again. Otherwise, nothing in the clear skies above or in the trees and bushes below. 

Click the pictures for a full frame.

We started off with high hopes and three birds on the first round at 0700. Willow Warblers have somehow found their way north, hence a count of 10 to 12 singing males. We had three new male Willow Warblers in our catch of just six birds - 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Robin and 1 Goldfinch. 

Lesser Redpoll
Willow Warbler

Very often it's the absent species that provide the clue to an overall picture. So female Willow Warblers have yet to arrive, along with Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Whitethroats and the elusive Goldcrests. The latter species is not represented at all in our catches this spring, perhaps as a result of the cold wet autumn and icy winter of 2020/2021 when large numbers would die.  Likewise the lack of Long-tailed Tits this year, another species susceptible to cold winters. 

Swallows and House Martins are extremely scarce so far in April despite the plentiful arrival of Sand Martins in late March when winds were more favourable. Swifts may too be delayed as by now the 25th, the first of their ilk are usually reported in Lancashire. 

Nationally it is hard to get a handle on how many of the commoner species are arriving in the country when Internet birding sites are 99% dominated by rarity reporting. So for instance we know when Bee Eaters, Hoopoes and other exotica arrive, but common migrants are off the radar of too many hit-list birders. 

Birds around the area of our ringing site consist of resident Robins, Dunnocks, Wrens, Mistle Thrushes and Pied Wagtails. Blackbirds and Song Thrushes are pretty scarce here where the tree and shrub cover is sparse until late summer. 

Maybe next time we'll pick up a few of the missing species?


An hour and two on Saturday at our ground zero Pilling/Cockerham ringing site birds proved birds more varied and in higher numbers. By Saturday afternoon temperatures reached the balmy heights of 15 degrees but it felt cool away from sunshine.

The tiny pool held a pair of Canada Geese with four or five youngsters in tow, the goslings so tiny that they were mostly hidden from view in the grassy undergrowth. Also on the pool - 2 Shelduck, 2 Greylag, 3 Tufted Duck, 2 Moorhen, a pair of Little Grebe, a Little Egret, and a single Reed Warbler in raucous song.


Further exploration found 4 Wheatear, 10 Linnet, 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Buzzard. Three pairs of Oystercatcher show all the signs but seemingly they are yet to lay their eggs.


Pied Wagtail


I think we might have a bash at the Sand Martins next week. At least we know there are plenty on site.



Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Love all the birds you shared. You always take great photos!

Lady Fi said...

Lovely bird shots!

NCSue said...

I'm always fascinated by the birds in your posts. It's really nice to see how the other avian half of the world lives!
Thanks for sharing at

Angie said...

Phil - many great photos - I like the Wheatear!

Lowcarb team member said...

As well as the birds it was nice to see the Shelduck.

All the best Jan

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