Saturday, November 19, 2022

Sticky Times

The forecasts for Wednesday proved to be on the wrong side of marginal. Luckily I’d already decided to drive and top up the feeding station without taking the ringing gear. The Fiat splashed through deep puddles of the days and weeks before as I looked for a less sticky spot to park up and disembark. 

I’d made a good decision as the wind was a tad strong for any netting and this would be a day for dropping a bucketful of supplementary seed and a quick look around. 

A Cetti’s Warbler greeted me with a burst of rapid-fire song as if it was trying to attract attention but I didn’t even look from where the song came because I knew the chances of seeing the bird were close to zero. And anyway, a few seconds later it would be gone and singing fifty yards away. 

Fifteen and more visits to Spain’s Balearic Islands where the Cetti’s is both common and widespread taught me not to waste time in trying to actually see a Cetti’s but to instead enjoy its song and eccentric behaviour. While morning and evening can be best, the colour, size and the habitat a Cetti’s chooses makes for challenging birding. 

Cetti's Warbler
It’s no different here in the UK where hardly anyone sees the skulking, evasive Cetti’s Warbler, a little bird with one of the UK’s loudest and most distinctive songs. It’s thought that by hiding away and singing loudly and forcefully from different parts of its territory, a Cetti's can fool rivals into thinking there are several males present, making the interlopers less likely to stick around. This behaviour allows a male to then have two or three females in his territory and thereby increase the success of his own lineage. 

Chaffinches, Reed Buntings, Long-tailed Tits and Greenfinches criss-crossed the net ride in search of the scattered seed. I watched for a while and then dropped seed on the whoosh netting square where the cleared and flattened ground held puddles formed by the days and weeks of rain.  A couple of days of wind and sun would dry the square - if only. 

Long-tailed Tit

Reed Bunting 


It was Saturday before the wind and rain presented a real window of opportunity by way of a 5mph wind or less across a number of forecasts. It was time to have another go. I met up with Andy and Will at 0700 where the partly flooded farm track glinted in our combined headlights. There was mist which hung around until the sun burnt it off around 10am.

With a little drainage work we made the whoosh net area usable if a little muddy, dropped more seed, set the single panel net to one side of the flooded walkway and erected three nets in the woodland edge.

The morning began, the mist refused to clear, but eventually it did and the catch improved a little. We finished at 1130 with a nice and varied catch of 25 birds -  7 Chaffinch, 5 Linnet, 4 Meadow Pipit, 3 Redwing, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Wren, 1 Robin, 1 Blackbird.

Meadow Pipit

Reed Bunting





Today was one of the better Chaffinch days, yet another farmland species that is seeing a serious decline in its population. One of the males today, with a wing length of 95mm, was possibly of Northern European origin, a type we are seeing less of in recent years. Our UK Chaffinches are generally smaller, both males and females.  


A good morning was had by all and we'll be back another day on Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Eileen's Blogspot and Anni in Texas


eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil,

We have had a few of the bad weather days for birding. You did manage to find some beauties. I love that cute Cetti's Warbler. The Long-tailed Tit is a pretty bird and the Chaffinch and Greenfinch are favorites too. Great collection of photos and birds. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I'm so glad you found a morning of better conditions. I guess it will be changing every day now with winter weather on the way. Love the little Cetti's Warbler. What a cutie! Happy weekend!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil, :=)

Your photos are all wonderful. The heavy mist looks most unpleasant although the mornings catch was quite fruitful with much better Redwing photos than I posted on my blog. The day before, when the weather conditions were not at all favourable for netting birds, you at least caught some beauties on camera. The Cetti's Warbler and Long tailed Tit are lovely little birds, and I haven't seen a female Chaffinch in a long time, so thank you for this array of gorgeous birds.
Enjoy your weekend
All the best.

Rostrose said...

Dear Phil,
fascinating and very sophisticated, these Cetti's Warblers :-D
Your close-up bird shots are great again!
All the best and have a nice weekend,

Fun60 said...

A difficult week for you weatherwise so to ring 25 sounds a success. I like the photo showing the mist and early morning light.

RedPat said...

I'm glad that you got some weather that was a bit better. I love the Chaffinch.

Linda said...

Sweet birds! I admire your determination.

Anni said...

That warbler is absolutely stunning!!
You all eventually had good numbers, which is a happy ending. Our weather has been wet, cold, windy & dreary. I'm happy to know that. Birding on hold these days, not so good weather has me thinking I'm not missing out.

Terrific post as usual. I always enjoy stopping by for a visit. Thank you for linking in.

Wally Jones said...

If we never had any poor weather, we would not get so excited about the good days. (Okay, that sounds silly now that I read it aloud. Just ignore my meteorological wisdom.)

At least your Saturday improved over your Wednesday. I empathize with you about finding "less sticky" spots to park. Perhaps the lingering mist helped improve your net results?

The Cetti's Warbler fits the description of what we refer to as LBJ's (little brown jobs). They are drab in appearance, prefer to lurk in the underbrush and defy all attempts to obtain a photograph. At least it has a distinctive song.

We're dealing with our own foul weather. The past few days have been rainy, windy and chilly (for us).

It shall pass. We will soon be enjoying crisp mornings with blue skies and birds on every branch. And then we will wake up.

Gini and I hope your new week brings better weather and great ringing!

Rhodesia said...

I have not even heard of a Cetti's Warbler!!! I see that we do get them here but I suspect if I had of spotted one, it would have ended up as an LBJ!!! I must try harder.

Love that closeup of the redwing, lovely shot. I never realised how pretty they are

Constant rain here and pretty depressing at the moment! Take care, keep warm and keep dry! Cheers Diane

NCSue said...

I think I just fell in love with a long-tailed tit! What a cute bird!
Thanks for sharing at

Veronica Lee said...

That warbler is a stunner!

Fascinating post as always, Phil 👍👍

Lowcarb team member said...

I'm sure I had commented on this post!
I wonder if it may be in spam folder ... blogger is still causing glitches from time to time.

All the best Jan

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