Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Last Gasp

Tuesday would be the last opportunity for getting out before jetting off to Greece on Wednesday. Sue reminded me that packing suitcases is a little like cooking - too many packers spoils the baggage - or words to that effect. So I took the advice, left her filling suitcases and bags via the well-thumbed aide memoire then set off to meet Will out Pilling way for 0630. 

Regular readers will know that recent ringing has been slow in numbers and that birding has proved more electrifying in the way of raptors like Peregrines, Marsh Harriers and Sparrowhawks. There’s nothing quite like a dashing falcon or a marauding hawk to enliven a morning of netting tedium that consists of two birds an hour. 

Even the recent Spotted Flycatcher was having none of our wicked ways when it spent two hours and more watching the clumsy efforts without trying out the mist nets. 

Spotted Flycatcher
Today’s escapee was Stonechat, a single bird that arrived unseen along a distant fence and then flew to the seed plot and perched up within a yard or two of the single panel nets before doing the proverbial vanishing act.  


Villain of the piece was a female Sparrowhawk which appeared on the scene looking for a meal of Linnet but then scattered not only the Linnet flock but also the Stonechat. The Sparrowhawk easily snatched a Linnet and treated us to superb views but we didn’t see the Stonechat again. 

After a couple of weeks of low numbers Linnets were this morning suddenly back in quantity with a couple of large flocks amounting to 150-180 individuals. We caught five Linnets along with two more Robins and possibly our last Reed Warbler of the year. 


Reed Warbler
It seems we are not the only ones to note the reappearance of Linnets with a gang of 220 seen at Hilbre Island, Merseyside on Sunday. 

These movements signify the start of the true autumn migration of Linnets from the top of Scotland, many of which spend their winter in the relative balminess of North West England warmed by the Gulf Stream. Small differences in temperatures may seem bearable to us but to a small seed eating bird like a Linnet spells of Scottish cold, ice and snow are life and death. 

Only briefly did a Marsh Harrier treat us to stunning views when it circled around behind our ringing office where it attracted the attention of assorted crows. The morning sun lit the harrier’s crown and turned it like magic into a pot of yellow butter. 

Marsh Harrier
There was a Peregrine again. Brief views as the bird dashed right to left across our viewpoint and in pursuit of some unknown prey not too far away. 

That’s it folks. The packing is packed. There's an early taxi heading this way. See you in Greece. 

I may have Wi-Fi some of the time so if there’s no response to comments and queries, apologies in advance. I’ll be along eventually. 


Mike Attwood said...

Better luck in Greece Phil. Have a good holiday

Lowcarb team member said...

Beautiful photographs.
Pleased the packing went well.
Have a great holiday.

All the best Jan

Angie said...

Phil - I love the picture of the flock of Linnets. Enjoy your trip to Greece!

Wally Jones said...

There are some who will do anything do avoid packing for a trip.

It's good to see more "normal" numbers of Linnets. You are right about a raptor sighting adding some excitement to any trip. Especially now as migratory hawks and falcons make a seasonal appearance.

Have a relaxing visit in the land of the sun.

We'll wait here.

Fun60 said...

My favourite photo is the flock of linnets. Enjoy your holiday.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil, Lovely captures caught on camera, if not caught in the net. Enjoy your holiday in Greece.
All the best.

Rostrose said...

Dear Phil, I hope you and your wife can spend nice days in Greece - certainly with some bird sightings. Your photo of the flock of linnets is really great!
All the best from Austria,

satta said...

So glad I found your blog! I have been looking for new bird blogs to follow. I don’t think nearly enough people are well educated about birds, Thanks learned and know a lot for sharing everything. Its helps a lot. Thank you very much.

Related Posts with Thumbnails