Sunday, October 24, 2021

A Frustrating Saturday

Friday evening became another of those “Yes” or “No” occasions when every weather forecast was different to the next. Saturday morning might be too wet & windy for ringing but the timings of any wind or rain couldn’t agree. Weather charts for the coming week looked equally scary by way of wind, rain and glimpses of sunshine. 

Saturday might be the single opportunity for a week or more to get a little ringing underway. A phone conversation with Andy left us agreeing about the possible window on Saturday, a last minute decision and a hurried breakfast. 

When I sent a text at 0715 Andy replied that he was already on site so off I went into cold, cloudy skies but a zero wind and no rain. I quickly donned jacket, wellies and woolly hat and we set off across the thoroughly wet and puddled field to the depleted but still functioning seed plot and then the tree nets. 

Soon we were up and running with first birds in the nets of a new Robin and yet another un-ringed Chiffchaff. 


Linnets were quickly on the move east to west along the strip of seed plot, helped along the way by a singing Linnet below that served to entice some in for a feed. A zero on the wind scale changed quite quickly to 5, 10 and finally 15+, when trying to catch Linnet in a ballooning net became impossible. We had already lost out on four or more Linnets that jumped out as we approached. We packed in at 1030 following a reasonable catch and the help of slightly sheltered tree nets that escaped the worst of the now blustery and cold morning. 

There seemed to be good numbers of Linnets around (up to 130), with a couple of long-winged females handled being contenders for ‘Northern’ Linnets. It was a shame that on this occasion the wind beat us again when another hour or two would have doubled our score of Linnets. 

18 birds caught, all new. 8 Linnet, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 3 Greenfinch, 1 Great Tit, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Robin, 1 Chiffchaff. 

Long-tailed Tit


The blustery weather definitely didn’t help our birding but in no particular order we had sightings of 800+ Starlings, 100+ Linnet, 30 Greenfinch, 12 Long-tailed Tit, 8 Redwing, a single Buzzard, a male Sparrowhawk, 450+ Curlew, 250 Lapwing, 4 Whooper Swan, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 1 Raven. 

Whooper Swans
Recent local sightings suggest a Snow Bunting winter may occur along our Lancashire coasts, a habitat with similarities to the species’ breeding areas. 

The Snow Bunting is an Arctic specialist, with a circumpolar Arctic breeding range throughout the northern hemisphere with small isolated populations on a few high mountain tops south of the Arctic region, including the Cairngorms of Scotland. 

This is another species that may have benefited from two seasons of lockdowns and reduced footfall and associated disturbance over its breeding spots, landscapes popular with summer walkers. 

Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting

It’s a year or two since my last photographical rather than flyover Snow Bunting. The one above hung about one spot along Pilling shore for a few weeks in early November 2013. 


eileeninmd said...

Lovely birds and photos. Sometimes we see the Snow Bunting show up here, in spots along the bay, they are beautiful birds. Happy birding, enjoy your new week!

jp@A Green Ridge said...

Phil, while trudging through the cold and wet weather isn't my idea of a good time either, you certainly have some beautiful birds!! And a "snow bunting"??? I never even heard of it, et alone saw one, Phil. They are beautiful birds!!!

Rhodesia said...

Despite the cold, it sounds to me like a pretty successful day. I do love the Long-tailed Tits, I have only ever seen them at a place further South here. As for the Snow Bunting, wow I would love to see them. We have seen here a Nuthatch this year in our garden the first in 15 years so things are looking up.
Now winter has arrived I hope to keep up more with blogs, sorry summer was a busy time for me with the garden and the kitchen.
Keep safe, happy ringing, Diane

Valerie said...

Wonderful shot of the swans on the wing

NCSue said...

Great shots, and I've completely fallen in love with the snow bunting!
Thanks for sharing at

Fun60 said...

Sounded a miserable Saturday but you still managed to ring a few and see plenty more. I've never seen a snow bunting so thanks for the photos

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil,:=) Great pictures of all the birds. The cold dull weather did not affect the quality of the bird images, and they are all beauties. The Snow Bunting is beautiful, and not a bird I'm familiar with. I hope you see more along the Lancashire coast. The Long.tailed Tit is another beauty, I see many Tits in my garden but few Long Tailed Tits. The in flight shot of the whooper Swans is well captured.I hope your weather improves, ours is still good,but come Monday it starts to rain.
Take care!:=)

Veronica Lee said...

Despite the bad weather, you managed to beautifully photograph the birds, Phil!

I absolutely love that shot of the swans in flight. STUNNER!

Jenn Jilks said...

I adore snow buntings!

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