Friday, June 17, 2022

Where Are The Kids?

Thursday - what a strange morning. We met at 0600 up at Oakenclough - Andy, Bryan and me - a sunny morning in mid-June when we might expect good numbers of both breeding adults and newly fledged juveniles. 

However, and against all expectations our catch of birds in four hours totalled a paltry twelve - 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Bullfinch, 2 Robin, 2 Blackcap, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Wren and 1 Dunnock. Only three of those twelve birds, the resident Robins and the single Dunnock, were juveniles of this year. 

A surprising aspect of the morning was the lack of juvenile Willow Warblers as opposed to the fifteen or so males still in full song in the planation. Spring 2022 was so cold, late and lacking in the timely arrival of both males and females that we suspect many Willow Warblers are still at the nesting/incubation stage where males sing while females attend to their nest. Alternatively there may be many nest failures but either way is bad news. 

Female Bullfinch AKN3608 was a recapture from the last visit while the male was new to us. Both were in prime breeding condition that suggested a nearby nest. 


Both Blackcaps were male but we saw no females or newly fledged young.


The two juvenile Robins were offspring of resident birds rather than summer returning warbler species. 

On the water and along the grassy banks we saw an unseasonal Whooper Swan, one that by rights should now be in Iceland. 
Whooper Swan

Quite why and how a Whooper Swan is up in the hills of Lancashire in mid-June is something of a mystery, but it could be the same one that summered in the Cockerham area 15 miles away in 2021 but then joined Greylags returning inland to breed. During the northerly winds and cold of May 2022 the Whooper probably felt quite at home. 

A single Buzzard soared around for a while before performing a display dive to distant trees. 


Buzzards are now scarce up here on the edge of Bowland where raptors must still take their chances against tech-savvy gamekeepers. In contrast to this certain and continued persecution there is informed talk of a very successful breeding season for both Hen Harriers (40+ young fledged) and Merlins on private land where the species are well watched and soundly protected. 

From nearby trees, mixed and conifer, we saw Siskin, Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and a party of 15-20 Long-tailed Tit. Thankfully, and for the second time on the trot we retained a clean sheet for the timice family. By all accounts it would seem that they too have experienced a poor season due to a lack of caterpillar food in April and May. Our pet name for Oakenclough is "Coal Tit Central", but not on Thursday.



Others seen - 3 Grey Heron, 1 Grey Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 4 Swallow , Oystercatcher with one young. 

Back soon with more news, views and photos.

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


Shiju Sugunan said...

Lovely shot of the Buzzard. The Bullfinch, Whooper swan and the Nuthatch are among my favourites today. All great captures!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Phil! I'm visiting from my friend Rain's Thursday Art Date. Thanks for sharing your beautiful birds, although it is distressing to hear that the spring season has been difficult for them. Enjoy your weekend!

Rain said...

Hi Phil, such gorgeous photos! The Bullfinch and Robin photos...beautiful! The only young ones I've seen around here are the Redwing Blackbird babes flying around with Dad mostly!

Lowcarb team member said...

Concerning you didn't see more but I do like the photographs you've shared here. My favourite is the nuthatch.

Wishing you a lovely weekend, and enjoy Father Day ... we are having a family get-together.

All the best Jan

eileeninmd said...

Where are the kids, I hope they are still at their nest? You do have a beautiful collection of birds and photos. The Bullfinch, Nuthatch and Siskin are a few of my favorites. I also love the Buzzard in flight shot. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It does make you wonder why sometimes there are such few birds. I didn't see as many when I went out one day this week but it's extremely HOT here. Love that pretty nuthatch!

Wally Jones said...

Beautiful collection of birds receiving their new jewelry.

I guess late nesting seasons occur from time to time since nature is predictable in "general" if not in the "details". Still, it can be disconcerting to know what your local records and experience tell you to expect only to be confronted with a different reality.

Around here, it took awhile to determine several years ago that we were not necessarily seeing a huge reduction in migrating warblers, rather, they altered their southerly migration route by 50+ miles.

Expectations can be fickle things.

Global Warming is here! Well, it feels like a "normal" summer to this Florida kid. Really hot. Really humid. Afternoon thunderstorms. Just like when I was a cave-boy in the last Geologic Era. I trust the science. It shall cool down by November, or, as we have come to know it, the "Coming Ice Age".

We're doomed, because of something or other.

In the meantime, we need to go out and count our own American baby birds to see how badly they have been affected by the scientific consensus. (Thankfully, the chicks can't read yet.)

Gini says "Hi". Me too.

Powell River Books said...

Our tree swallows are late at nest building in the birdhouse and the barn swallows are weeks overdue. My only guess is the late cold and rainy weather. - Margy

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Hello Phil, long time since I have been around my blog pages. What a lovely assortment of beautiful birds! The lack of kids must be daunting, especially if the exact reasons are not known, if I understand my reading correctly. We had a very unfortunate thing happen here. The lane that I get most of my bird images from is only 4 miles away. There were hundreds of ground nesting birds raising their young and then mankind had to interrupt the entire scene. I called the manager of the thousands of acres property and was told that the largest field with largest number of nests would be the last to be cut. All other fields were hay fields that needed to be cut and baled for their 500 head of cattle. 5 to 7 bales per cow is needed per year. I got that, but why not wait just 7 more days. No they would not. Not only did they not wait, they cut acres and acres of wild flowers where the majority of the nesting birds were. No hay, nothing for the cattle. They did it for pure spite because they are tired of the birders coming and photographing them and made certain that we would have nothing to shoot pictures of any time soon. I cried for 2 hours while watching the sadness unfold. One week the young mostly would have fledged and then they did what they did not have to do, but chose to do~

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

you mentioned a bird was in prime breeding condition - how can u tell? do they have a different color or something? excuse my ingnorance

Billy Blue Eyes said...

Great shot of the Buzzard Phil, wish I could get on eof the Kites round here like that

Veronica Lee said...

Incredible shots, Phil.

I especially loved the buzzard in flight.

Happy Tuesday!

Angie said...

Phil - love the colorful bullfinch! We have a nesting pair of Trumpeter Swans on the lake near our house, and they seem to have produced two cygnets. So exciting!

Rostrose said...

Dear Phil, It's a pity that there weren't any young birds to be seen. I think that the animal world is also very confused by climate change. Let's hope that the young hatched now will have enough opportunity to grow end get fledge. The whooper swan seems to be an adventurer. The buzzard looks magnificent - it's so sad that birds of prey are still being pursued!
All the best from Austria!

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