Saturday, April 10, 2021

Silent Spring

Six in the morning. I was wide awake as warm feet hit the cold floor. It was time to fill the Thermos, *pack baggin in the bait box and try again. 

Arctic northerlies for ten days and more put the kibosh on birding and ringing. Glacial winds and single digit temperatures held a Stop Sign to migrant birds heading our way. Whole days went by with nothing on the migration score sheet but big fat zeros. The highlight of my spring so far was an unexpected Redstart and a Wheatear on April 1. Since then nowt. 

Now was time to make amends and catch up - we hoped. We arranged to meet at 0730 to allow for the plantation to defrost. 

On the way over the moss I again met up with a flying Barn Owl which dived into the base of a hawthorn hedge. It lifted with nothing and went on its way over the field to try again. 

Barn Owl 
At 0715 and despite the “late” start the dash showed -2.5° degrees as we arrived.  We feared the worst. A slight north-easterly motioned the trees, stirred the nets but left the water without a ripple. After recent days things could only get better? 

10th April 2021 
near Oakenclough - 10th April 2021

How wrong can we be? Just five birds caught - 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Wren, 1 Robin, 1 Meadow Pipit. 

Meadow Pipit
Maybe the highlight of the morning was not the few birds ringed but the “others”? An early morning Cuckoo called incessantly for five minutes or more and then went silent.  April 10 is a fairly early date for a Cuckoo in these parts where the species now breeds sparingly. 

After the initial burst of calls the Cuckoo probably carried on flying north, as did the three Swallows and four Siskins that we saw overhead. 

Otherwise, migration was non existent. A single Willow Warbler sang for an hour or more but that too fell silent. 

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

*put food in the lunch box 

More soon. Stay tuned to Another Bird Blog.



eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,
It is a shame the weather is not cooperating with your outings. I love the Barn owl photos. The Robin is just adorable and the Pipit and Chiffchaff are pretty birds. We are starting to see some migrating birds here. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend!

italiafinlandia said...

I have heard the Robin in these days, with my utmost joy. He is back!
Have a happy weekend!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We always pack a snack and take plenty of water! Love the sky photo and reflection. And of course, seeing the Barn owl would make my day. We are seeing more caterpillars now so hopefully we'll spot a Cuckoo soon feasting on them!

Mal said...

Hi Phil
Does Oakenclough fall within th LDBWS area ?

Phil Slade said...

Mal. I think it is part of East Lancs.

RedPat said...

The Barn Owl would have been a thrill for me! We are having really warm weather here.

Linda said...

Excellent pictures. I like the name chiffchaff.

Shiju Sugunan said...

Barn owl in flight is most amazing. Love the Robin, what a handsome little bird!

Shiju Sugunan said...

Barn owl in flight is most amazing. Love the Robin, what a handsome little bird!

Anni said...

It's been a late migration here for sure. But it is picking up some, yet, so few birds seen. Don't know the reason behind the delay. I've talked with a few other birders & they too think it's a "late start". Hope you have more success next time. Love the owl in flight Phil...timing is perfect!!

Thanks for a most wonderful series of images shared ...

~Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'

Rhodesia said...

You are very brave, there is no way I would be out at any minus centigrade figure! My hands would be frozen anyway and I would never be able to ring anything. Well done, and yes I have now heard a cuckoo here in the last couple of days Stay safe and keep warm. Diane

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil,:=) Lovely close up photos of all the birds in the hand, but the owl in flight is a beautiful capture. I have yet to see a Barn Owl, and yet I hear two owls hooting every evening outside.About the ringing, better luck next time!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil, Thank you so much for the ID. I had a closer look at my bird book, and you are absolutely right. It is a Firecrest, the signs are all there,...I just didn't look well enough, and the "Britain's Birds! book is so well illustrated too. I'm really cross with myself.
Thank you again, I appreciate you telling me.

NCSue said...

Gorgeous captures!
Thanks so much for sharing at

Rain said...

Hi Phil! :) I love seeing that barn owl, it's so gorgeous. And the robin too. We had some nice weather for a while, but now there is frost on the ground in the's chilly for sure.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I can't even handle the mention of arctic winds. uuuuugh Love your photos - the sweet robin and owl and my favs today.

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely photographs.
The Barn Owl and Robin especially.

We had snow showers the other day Brrr!
Keep warm and well.

All the best Jan

Valerie said...

A delightful series of captures here Phil - thank you for sharing your corner of our world.

Little Wandering Wren said...

Brrrr that is so cold! Love your writing. Of course, you do know I was waiting for your little Wren photos but no doubt they were singing loudly and causing a commotion!

Veronica Lee said...

What a fantastic walk!

The views are spectacular, Phil!

Wally Jones said...

That is a beautiful landscape near Oakenclough! Along with a sighting of a Barn Owl, my day would be complete.

Hearing the Cuckoo would have been icing on the cake.

Speaking of icing, -2.5, it likely would have been of no consequence since I would have been totally numb long before then.

We continue to try and send you a bit of Florida sun and warmth. Hope it reaches you before migration is completely over.

Angie said...

Phil - we all suffer disappointments, but cold temperatures and wind only add to the misery. But lest we get complacent, many of us would be content to see that Barn Owl in flight, not to mention capturing it on film!!!

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