Rishton 29th Dec

I haven't gone very far in birding terms over the past few days with the season's festivities and cold weather. The garden has been busy with the regular finches and tits but a good number of Blackbirds feeding on the apples were joined today by a couple of Fieldfares - always a lovely bird to see and to have one in the garden was a real pleasure.

A couple of days ago, a trip to Ewood Park to watch a dismal game of football was briefly enlivened by the sight of a Snipe wiffling down onto the River Darwen that runs alongside the ground. It's the only cobbled river I know of and matches the cobbled streets perfectly! At least yesterday's result was welcome! Anyway, back to the birds...

Today, I spent a little while at Rishton Reservoir in the swirling fog. As it lifted, I could see a small patch of open water in which a Great Crested Grebe swam. Six teal were flushed from the bank along with 37 Lapwings and there was a small assortment of gulls on the ice. Suddenly I heard a sound that is becoming very familiar this winter - a single Waxwing calling as it flew over. In fact there were a few birds, Starlings and Redwings, moving in the same westerly direction.Cut Wood was alive with Tits and Treecreepers with Great Tits and Coal Tits both singing.

Mark texted me about a few birds he'd ringed in his garden today and we arranged to spend the afternoon ringing in my garden. It wasn't the best time of the day but we still got a nice selection of birds including several Blackbirds and more new Blue Tits. I'd seen lots of ringed birds in the morning and during the cold snap, the feeders have been busy right to the end of the day but not today. All the birds had good fat scores and it seemed that there's been a good survival rate. When we trapped seven Long-tailed Tits, including a re-trap, we knew birds must have done OK.

This young male Great Spotted Woodpecker was a retrap from the last time and was enjoyed by John Wright and Zac Hinchcliffe who'd come to spend a little time enjoying the birds.

John Wright, Dendrocopos major, MArk Breaks, Zac Hinchcliffe

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