Thursday, March 24, 2022

Quality Not Quantity

There goes that old chorus again, the one that ringers use when numbers are low but there are a few goodies to shout about. 

Until today the week was a little breezy for the Pilling site where even a breath of wind blowing through the bare hawthorns wafted a mist net around and made it visible. This morning was slightly better with zero wind and by now, after a couple of sunny days, green leaves and blossom in place of bare branches. 

Although by the end of March there are migrant birds to see the main bulk of migration of insect eating passerines is still three, four and more weeks away. I hoped to catch a few Meadow Pipits, a species that migrates north in good numbers in March but there seemed to be few around and I thought maybe they were high up in the cloudless sky with no reason to landfall. 

In fact visible migration was rather poor with small numbers of Lesser Redpolls and Reed Buntings being the most numerous. Just 9 birds caught – 5 Reed Bunting, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Brambling. 

The Brambling, the second one caught here this spring, was a subtle looking second year female without the black and bright orange shades of the male caught here a few weeks ago. 
The redpoll likewise proved to be a second year female. A second Lesser Redpoll escaped the net before I could reach it when I was forced to deal with a Mallard crashing about in another mist net. The nets are not designed to cope with wayward Mallards. Fortunately the duck found a way out without damaging the fairly new £90 net. 

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll
Reed Bunting
Other birds seen and heard - 20 Linnet, 6 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Blackbird, 1 Kestrel and 1 Snipe. Wintering birds comprised over 300 Pink-footed Geese on nearby meadows where their stay will soon be ended by a flight to breeding grounds in Iceland. 

I disturbed the Snipe when crossing a still soggy field on my way to the seed plot and where over the winter we had caught Linnets. An escaping Snipe or two became a regular feature of most days when splashing across to the seed plot. The Linnets are no longer with us in any numbers with so many gone north, hopefully to the top of Scotland where with luck one or two will be recaptured by Scottish colleagues. 


Back soon. Maybe even Saturday if these winds stay down and high pressure stays around.

Linking this weekend to Anni's Blog and Eileen's Saturday.



Mike Attwood said...

Hi Phil, I am not being rude but you always seem to have plenty to shout about and there people like me struggle to find a sparrow. Take care.

Wally Jones said...

Having seen so many seasons pass, one would think I get tired of seeing the same birds time and again. One would be wrong.

Nature continues to fascinate me so I continue to wander around in her yard.

Winter has given up and Spring rules!

We're happy that the wind abated long enough to get in some ringing. Mallards tend to be the avian version of "a bull in a china shop", whether crashing into mist nets or photo-bombing a tranquil sunrise scene.

A few more weeks and migrating birds will be history until the autumn.

Gini and I are doing well and looking forward to our own winds calming down so we can get back outdoors!

Have a splendid weekend!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,
You did catch some goodies! I love the pretty Brambling Reed Bunting and the Lesser Redpolls. The Goldcrest is a beauty. Awesome capture of the Kestrel in flight. The Snipe is one of my favorites, it took me a long time to find one here. I am hoping to get out and do some birding soon, if the weather would only cooperate. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your weekend.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil, :=) Lovely bird captures. The in flight Kestrel image is great, and the close up of the Lesser Redpoll. The nets are expensive items, so I'm glad no damage was done to them, and also hope the Mallard escaped without damaged feathers. It's also been windy here, cold westerly winds, making outdoor walks very unpleasant.

In response to your query on my goat post, The answer is yes, they are milked and various delicious cheeses are produced. The meat is also appreciated here, and it is eaten year round, but especially at Easter, when it is roasted and eaten in most Portuguese homes.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We love seeing the Kestrels here not too. And the Snipe was a neat sighting. Love that you are able to get out and do what you do best! Enjoy your weekend.

Anni said...

...if weather cooperates. One line I say frequently, but not for important ringing like you two. Extraordinary photos today Phil.
Thanks for taking time to share these with us!!

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