Friday, May 7, 2021

A Tale Of Two Halves.

Wednesday morning produced yet another icy start at Oakenclough. After a few dire days of catches and thinking along the lines of that old upbeat Howard Jones song, we imagined that “Things could only get better”. 

How wrong we were as we failed to even reach double figures. Just 5 birds caught and once again, virtually zero visible migration of note in the bright blue skies above. Throughout four hours we noted three or four Swallows heading north. Luckily the four (2 x 2) Siskins overhead drew our attention by their distinctive piercing flight calls or may have missed them too. 

Our catch - 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Blackcap, 1 Wren and 1 Willow Warbler. 

The second year male Blackcap was the first to be caught this year when normally we might expect to be in double figures by early May. 


Lesser Redpoll
The single Willow Warbler was a recapture from the week before, so new birds numbered four. In the plantation ten or twelve Willow Warblers sang from their now established location without us catching any females. From this, and the lack of chasing around, we deduced that female Willow Warblers had yet to arrive to our site. This is a natural enough lag in timing for Willow Warblers and many other species, accentuated in 2021 by the icy spring. 

Although by 1030 temperatures had climbed to the dizzying heights of 11 degrees, we knew to call it a day. 


Friday dawned bright but slightly breezy with the decision not to go ringing already made. I headed off Pilling way for a spot of birding alone. 

Swallows were more obvious with a number of them seen to fly north and quickly out of sight. In my two plus hours I counted more than 20, a vast improvement on recent days. But still no Swifts or House Martins, the latter still absent from their breeding eaves in our semi rural location and now two weeks behind schedule. 

I searched a stretch of land I'd not done in weeks and found 3 Lapwings sitting while their mates chased off gulls and crows that showed too much interest in the very obvious nesting pairs. In the same area were two or more pairs of Skylarks, a single Wheatear, a male Pied Wagtail and ten to twelve Linnets. 

Pied Wagtail


In wetter areas came 11 Little Egret, 2 Great Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Tufted Duck, 4 Shelduck, 5 Mute Swan, plus both Canada Geese and Greylags with youngsters in tow. Also, 6 Reed Warbler, 4 Sedge Warbler, 8 Oystercatcher, 6 Redshank. 

Sedge Warbler 

Back home today we sat with a coffee and watched a male Sparrowhawk sat on a neighbour's garden wall. After a while the hawk dropped to within inches of the ground, accelerated like a rocket and crossed into another garden.


That's all for now folks. The forecast for Saturday is rain and wind so it looks like a day doing nothing but chores. Don't go away, see you soon.

Linking this weekend to Eileen's Blogspot and Anni in Texas.


Adam Jones said...

So disappointing Phil. The Linnet looks very smart at the moment, and I always enjoy seeing the Redpoll. Like you, I'd miss so many Siskins if they didn't call as they flew over. Even then I don't always locate them.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,
Sorry about your low ringing numbers. I enjoyed all the beautiful birds you did capture and see. The Blackcap is a beauty, the Redpoll is always a favorite. I like the Pied Wagtail with the nesting material. The Sparrowhawk looks intimidating. Beautiful photos! Our weather has been windy, rainy and just chilly for spring time. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend!

Anu said...

Great photos. The migration of birds is late here in Finland. The weather forecast promises better weather for next week. Maybe next week the birds will also arrive.
Take care.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The Sparrowhawk is very majestic! I'm sorry your numbers are down but maybe it's just early and still cold. It's nice here today with lower humidity so we may go out in the wild this afternoon! Happy weekend!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

yes a pretty miserable week here also weather wise although I took a small group of birders out to a National Trust Garden on the one sunny day but did not see many birds. had a great view of 2 Jays as one was eating something on the ground. Have a good week ahead and stay safe.

Anni said...

What a disappointing week of miserable weather for ringing! But, on the bright side, you had a chance to get out and relax & see birds. Kind of a mini-vacation. I'm going to go out on a limb here and state "the weather just HAS to improve"!!

As always, an excellent post & much appreciated that you shared it with us this week!

Rhodesia said...

Sorry your ringing is not quite going as planned but it will improve I am sure. We seem to have few birds in the garden at present therefore a lack of blogs, though I did do one today. Sadly I have found two female blackbirds dead in the garden this week which is quite disturbing. One was simply killed and just left, I suspect one of the many stray cats in the area have been visiting, but the other one was half-eaten so.... maybe sparrowhawk or even the magpies which are pretty unfriendly! Sad whatever the answer is.
Keep well and take care, Diane

NCSue said...

Grand photos as always! Thanks for sharing at

Fun60 said...

The sparrowhawk looks regal as it sits on the fence.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

another wonderful excursion

Lowcarb team member said...

I do like your photograph of the Sparrowhawk.

All the best Jan

Veronica Lee said...

Fascinating photos as always, Phil! Especially the sparrowhawk sitting on the fence.

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