Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Quality Not Quantity

Another early breakfast. Then at 0525 a drive towards Oakenclough, a 35 minute journey and ETA 0600 for a meet with Andy. 

Half a mile from home came the welcome distraction of a flypast Barn Owl. A white van ahead had slowed down and alerted me to a Barn Owl heading my way alongside but below the raised road. There was time for a few clicks of the shutter before continuing east and into the rising sun. Doesn't everyone drive with a camera on the passenger seat just in case? 

Barn Owl
Andy was already there as I pulled in at 6.02 with the excuse of "Barn Owl" the reason for the poor timekeeping. 

Over the fence 15 yards away a Garden Warbler was in full song, a good omen for what lay ahead. We enjoyed a quiet ringing session of quality rather than a quantity of birds with the sum totals of 3 Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldfinch and 2 Lesser Redpoll. 

It was during 2020 we noticed increased numbers of Garden Warblers here at Oakenclough, a site  where the species has not bred for at least ten years. But now the plantation is revitalised by a clearance of rhododendron and restocking with native trees, we are confident Garden Warblers will return. Our three today consisted of one male, one female and one yet early season indeterminate. 

Garden Warbler

Willow Warbler

While there's a good population of Willow Warblers here we think that Lesser Redpolls breed close by if not in the plantation in which we ring.  Similarity to Garden Warblers, the redpolls bred here in the not too distant past and they too may return as the planting matures and thickens.    

Lesser Redpoll
Our birding was unremarkable in the clear and cool morning but we notched up several Swallows, 15 Sand Martin, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Buzzard, 1 Siskin, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 12+ Willow Warblers,. In nearby fields were several Oystercatchers and Lapwings plus a good number of Greylag families.

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


Lowcarb team member said...

Goodness, a very early start to the day.
I always thought 8.30am was earlier enough for breakfast!!!

Lovely photographs within your post and always lovely to see the Barn Owl.

Have a good week.

All the best Jan

Angie said...

Phil - a barn owl sighting is certainly a good excuse for poor timekeeping in my book. Glad to see that you are experiencing some species returning to the area!

Rhodesia said...

Apart from the Goldfinch, I do not think I have ever seen the other three. I am so jealous of the barn owl sighting. We used to have one that was often around here but I have not seen it for several years now :-( What with the rain and the horrible weather I am not seeing many birds at all other than the few constant residents and we cannot go anywhere to look elsewhere.
Not sure I could cope with those early morning starts anymore. All the years I worked in racing stables, I had to be at work by 4 am how I ever did it now I cannot imagine.
keep safe, Diane

Anu said...

Hello Phil.
Interesting post.
Early morning is the best time for bird watching.
Have a wonderful weekend.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,
I would be thrilled if my morning started off with a Barn Owl. Your header and owl photos are awesome. Love the sweet Warblers, Goldfinch and the Redpoll. Happy birding! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend.

The Padre said...

Yes, More Barn Owls Please


Adam Jones said...

I think a small delay for a passing Barn Owl is more than acceptable. I came across my first Garden Warblers of the year last weekend. A bird that I always struggled to find, but have had more success too in recent years.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I would still love to see a Barn Owl...any sighting of an owl is a great day. Love seeing your colorful Goldfinch too!

Linda said...

What a wonderful owl!

Anni said...

I think everyone with the right mindset has a camera in the seat next to them. That owl in flight photo is stunning. I think you accomplished a good number of birds for ringing!!
Thanks for sharing with us at IRBB this weekend!!

Calendula said...

What a beautiful owl!

RedPat said...

The Barn Owl would be the big thrill for me!

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