Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sixes And Sevens

Temperatures didn’t improve throughout the week. Although the days have been fine, the cold,  nagging easterly winds and cool daylight hours have definitely held back migration of insectivorous species. 

On Wednesday I met up with Andy for a 6 am start hoping that we might catch new migrants. We did, but 6 Sedge Warblers and 2 Great Tits was our sum total and by 10 am we had packed up as nothing much was about to happen. 

Perhaps the “best” bird of the morning was a Corn Bunting, singing from the same spot as a week previously. We suspect it has yet to find a mate so may not stay around much longer in what is now a Fylde landscape containing very few Corn Buntings. 

Otherwise, a single Willow Warbler did well to avoid our three nets. 

Sedge Warbler
Corn Bunting
During almost four hours we saw no Swallows, House Martins or Reed Warblers, three species that are normally here by this date. The slow spring and lack of Swallows this year seems to be a topic of conversation amongst birders and people who spend time in the countryside. 


Gluttons for punishment we arranged to go up to hills of Oakenclough on Friday for another 6 am start. The morning was equally cold with the temperature gauge reading 2.5 degrees and a “possible ice” message as I set off for the 35 minute drive. 

We didn’t fare any better than Wednesday with just six more birds caught - 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Blackbird and 1 Goldfinch. We had a good count of 12 to 14 singing Willow Warblers on site and we think that a good number of the later arriving females have yet to arrive and meet up with the Willow Warbler of their dreams. 

The two Blackcaps comprised one male and one female. The male was in an unusual stage of plumage with his cap still showing a lot of juvenile brown amongst the black cap. By April any juvenile brown from the previous year should have long gone. Although weight was normal, the overall plumage looked in a poor and weak state and we suspected the bird wasn’t in the best of health. 


Willow Warbler

The Greylags up here in the hills are quick off the mark to breed, seemingly oblivious to any type of weather. On Friday we saw two pairs with three youngsters each, pretty good going for 29 April. 

There was a Kestrel hanging around for a while and then miracle of miracles, two Swallows put in a brief appearance by dive bombing the Kestrel. A pair of Pied Wagtails was on territory along the stone walls, a plot that they seem to keep throughout the winter. 

I know that next week will be better for both news and photographs. Tune in then. You will not be disappointed.


eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,
I enjoyed seeing your birds and great photos. I love the cute Sedge Warbler, The Blackcap and the Willow Warblers are cute too. The Kestrel shot is awesome. We are having some cold and windy weather here too. Take care, enjoy your day and the new week ahead.

Yvonne said...

I'm never disappointed, whether you find much or not; probably because I'm not a bird tracker. I do admire all the work you put into it. Whether a day disappoints or satisfies, one really feels it in your narrative.

Thank you for the book you recommended in your comment on my post. After watching the author's video, I ordered it. Hopefully it will help me in identifying birds. I do know that different lighting sometimes confuses me on what the bird is.

Jenn Jilks said...

Nicely done!

The Padre said...

Excellent Shot Of The Kestrel - Well Done


Lowcarb team member said...

Awww nice to see the baby greylags.

All the best Jan

Angie said...

Phil - we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the UK, and I made frequent use of my binoculars for bird-watching. Many I could identify with a little help from Audubon, but it would have been very handy to have you along! Love the Kestrel photo!

Wally Jones said...

The good thing about a slow birding day is knowing it will get better. Honest.

The sparse sightings of Swallows along with a reluctant spring brings up a subject we banter about around here. Just because WE aren't seeing certain species, are they "sneaking" by us at night? Have they altered traditional flyways? Has global warming finally melted them all?

Points to ponder on rainy days.

In the meantime, we shall continue to enjoy seeing the birds which show up.

Gini and I have coordinated our physical issues and have not been able to get out for a week. Severe withdrawal symptoms are not responding to copious internal consumption of extra coffee. No worries. We'll be back in form soon.

Angie said...

Beautiful kestrel, Phil. We are back from the UK, and finally over our jet lag. I thoroughly enjoyed our trip - the birdwatching was terrific!

Rostrose said...

Dear Phil,
I'm sorry that the poor little Blackcap wasn't in a great shape - I hope he recovers! It doesn't sound so good that many birds that should have arrived by now have not yet arrived - fingers crossed that things will get better soon.
I think I know where your report will come from next week - and wish you a wonderful sunshine time :-)
All the best,

Angie said...

Phil - so sorry that birding is not meeting your expectations at the moment. It seems like spring is late in coming here, too, but I know that's not true. Things are ticking along at the normal pace despite MY impatience! Love the kestrel photo!

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