Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Down To Zero

“Crisp” might be the best description of the start to Wednesday's birding.  At -3º a layer of white frost covered everything in sight at 0730. The several forecasts all agreed, sunshine by midday. This was another day for five or more layers of gear. 

There was a good start to the morning with a ghostly Barn Owl along the farm track and then a Great Egret that left the roost with 15/20 Little Egrets. 

Barn Owl

The three of us set about our usual routine as we tick-boxed the extra work we now carry out as precautions against HPA1 avian flu - disinfection of all of equipment: nets, bags, pliers, weighing scales and clothing. 

The chances of us handling a small passerine with avian flu seem quite remote, especially since the prevalence of HPAI in asymptomatic birds is currently unknown. However, while minimising the risk of transmission should diseased birds be encountered, our continued ringing activities carried out with suitable precautions provide a net benefit in terms of data collection and spotting anything untoward.

As we erected nets we flushed a couple of Snipe from nearby wet areas. This Snipe rush continued through the morning as 20 or more Snipe arrived in ones, twos and threes to feed in areas of grass that remained unfrozen from the overnight temperatures. 

The Snipes' arrival coincided with the incoming tide out in Morecambe Bay where the secretive Snipe are common but mostly unseen feeding in salt marsh ditches and pools. The ones we saw had arrived to roost where they would likely stay until the tide receded and darkness fell. 


Not surprisingly the ringing was off to a slow start with just a couple of birds every now and again. We finished with 14 birds of 7 species: 4 Chaffinch, 3 Linnet, 2 Robin, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Wren, 1 Reed Bunting,1 Greenfinch, 1 Blackbird. 

Reed Bunting


In addition to the earlier Barn Owl and white egrets more to look at arrived in the form of a 'cream top' Marsh Harrier, a Buzzard, and good numbers of Golden Plover, Lapwing & Whooper Swans. 


When I went yesterday to drop supplementary seed I counted approximately 400 Whooper Swans out Cockerham way. 

Whooper Swans

Stay tuned folks. There's more to come and we are due to get real snow. We'll see.

Linking this week to Eileen's blog and Anni in Texas.


Rhodesia said...

I am surprised that your hands work in this cold weather to gently ring the birds. My hands just cease up!!
To answer your question re the photos through the windows. The photos are taken through double-glazing. If I considered opening a window there would not be a bird in sight, they are so shy. If I had the time and patience to spend hours in a hide in the garden they might forget I was there, but I have neither!!
Take care and keep warm, cheers, Diane

Wally Jones said...

Frosty fun! And snow on the way!

We are having to contend with slightly above average temperatures here. Blue skies and calm winds help to make morning outings very pleasant.

Gini and I are about finished with the flu and hope to be back afield on a more regular basis soon.

Kudos again to your dedication no matter the weather.

Mike Attwood said...

Keep it up Phil you are doing a grnd job. Take care,

Adam Jones said...

It's been the same here all week too Phil, and as I write this I have snow falling in my part of Cheshire. It has provided a few highlights though, with Bullfinch and owls more visible. Love your Snipe picture. Hoping to get one or two locally.

eileeninmd said...


I would put up being out on a frosty morning to see a Barn Owl. The Snipe is one of my many favorite birds, it took me forever to spot my first Snipe. Pretty photos the Reed Bunting and the Greenfinch. The Buzzard and Whooper Swans are great sightings. Awesome photos, happy birding! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Wow! That's a lot of Swans! Love seeing what you see there and learning more about your birds. I took a photo of a Kestrel yesterday and when I looked at my photos, he had bands on both legs. I was thrilled and couldn't wait to tell you! Enjoy your weekend!

Shiju Sugunan said...

That’s a veritable haul you got in that cold weather. Lovely photos!

Anni said...

Too cold for me!!
Love the photo of the snipe.
But the number of Sean's seen would blow me away!!

Have a terrific week ahead and thanks for linking up.

NCSue said...

I put in my vote for a mild winter and an early spring!
Thanks for sharing at

Angie said...

Phil - welcome to my world, which I don't bemoan - frost and snow is so important for our ecosystem! Loved the barn owl and the snipe and all the other critters featured in your blog. Warm greetings from Montana!

Veronica Lee said...

You are doing such an amazing job, Phil!

I enjoyed your amazing photos as always.

Happy Wednesday!

Lowcarb team member said...

We've certainly been experiencing some very cold weather in most parts of the UK, and as I type this it is minus three Celsius Brrr!!!

I did enjoy seeing your photographs especially the barn owl and the whooper swans.

Keep well and stay as warm as you can.

All the best Jan

Related Posts with Thumbnails