Showing posts from March, 2011

Another Lesser - this time a 'pecker

Today was a bit of a repeat of last Tuesday with an early start, this time in the Midlands, followed by some birding en-route to home.

Today's visit was to Moore NR and I wasn't disappointed as I immediately got on to the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker as it was excavating a hole in the forlorn hope that a female may turn up. Apparently, this male is the only one on the reserve - a similar story from Marbury a few miles south. The species has never been common in the North-west but it is declining rapidly.

Anyway, it was most obliging though a bit distant for my camera lens. A pair of Willow Tits, another seriously declining species, called nearby and this lovely Tawny Owl could just about be seen from the path.
Moore is really a lovely not-so-little nature reserve. You don't notice it's next to a huge landfill site until you walk around! The woods were full of singing birds; lots of Chiffchaffs, Nuthatches and Treecreepers as well as the usual Tits and finches.

The Birchwood…

Lesser Scaup, Marshside

Checking Rishton Reservoir these past few days has not revealed a great number of birds. Yesterday, five Tufted Ducks were new in and today a pair of Widgeon had dropped in. Otherwise just the usual gulls on the far bank with up to four Oystercatchers and three Curlews. There are at least two Lapwings on territory and I caught sight of a distant Sparrowhawk displaying.

The Grebes had increased to eight birds this-morning with the ones to the left of the promenade busy building a nest.
The four juvenile Mute Swans are still around and were joined by an adult pair on the small res. Garden finch numbers have declined somewhat so I took myself off to have a look at the Lesser Scaup that had been at Marshside.

A couple were intently looking at a bird rather close to the screen at the Junction Pool as I arrived and declared that it was asleep in amongst the Tufted Ducks. I couldn't see the bird in the flock and I thought I was going mad but after a few minutes the Scaup steamed in from t…

A grand day out!

I was up early to do some breeding bird work in Yorkshire this-morning - a fine day was forecast and so it turned out. It's nice to see lots of Yellowhammers and Tree Sparrrows on the site and a couple of pairs of Grey Partridge were also welcome. No sign of any visitors yet apart from a Chiffchaff in a nearby copse.
The Hares were still bounding around the fields 'madly', giving the poor female the run-around and I had several encounters with Roe Deer. The sound of Skylarks started to fill the air as it warmed up and Lapwings were 'pee-wit' ing in several fields.

Once completed, I headed for home via North Duffield Carrs where there had been some Cranes recently. It's the first time I've visited this place and it won't be the last if my short stay there was anything to go by. No Cranes unfortunately but loads of duck - Teal, Pintail, Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler all on the flooded meadows being spooked occasionally by a female Sparrowhawk and a rather l…

Yet another first!

What is going on. March is a pretty good month for my garden so after the influx of Siskins and the flock of Waxwings this week I thought that I should be glad of what I'd got.

Mark came around this morning to try and get some Siskins. This, we certainly did, but in the process added several Lesser Redpolls to the tally and good numbers of Goldfinches. Amongst the Redpolls was a re-trapped bird whose flock-mate back in January was controlled by Pete Marsh at Thrushgill yesterday.

Anyway, as we were ringing the birds, I heard a sound that I was familiar with but not in my garden. Mark heard it too and commented "You said you'd never had Nuthatch in your garden before". Nope - Rishton has been a Nuthatch-free zone as long as I have been here. They thrive to the west and south of Blackburn and they're common at Spring Wood near Whalley not four miles away, but they've never made it to here - until today! We didn't see it unfortunately but I'll be keeping…

Siskins abound and then more Waxwings

These past couple of weeks have been Siskin time - everywhere I've gone I've come across these beauties but better still were the birds in the garden. A peak count of 22 this past weekend was something to savour. They hung around all day for several days as well but it seems that they may have moved on now.

Anyway, this-morning, I drew back the curtains and noticed a few familiar silhouettes on the top of the alders. Finally got them perched up in the garden - seven Waxwings. A complete surprise! Too dark for any pictures and they didn't hang around more's the shame.

Our first control and the first Ladybird of the year

I had heard Redpolls around the garden yesterday and there had been good numbers of Chaffinches and Goldfinches so Mark came round for a morning's ringing session. Unfortunately, there was a steady easterly breeze making the nets billow out and appear obvious - and that was before the sun came out making things worse! Anyway, we managed to catch a few birds in the bottom nets including our first control for the site; this Greenfinch....
 Hope to have some information about where it's come from before not too long.

I had seen at least two more unringed Bullfinches recently so guess what we caught! That makes 19 in teh garden so far this winter. This one enjoyed the experience so much that it didn't want to go!
We took the nets down by 12 and I started some tidying up in the garden coming across this Ladybird and a Bumble Bee in the sunshine. Spring is very close!