Showing posts from April, 2013

Whinchat tops spring arrivals in Bowland

Saturday was a lovely spring day so it was an early start at Mark's to see if we could catch more of the hoards of Siskins that have descended before they migrate. In fact it was so nice, the bulk had indeed left but we still managed a good number of birds.

It was lovely to hear Redstarts singing again - they were back in force with at least seven birds in song around the farm but virtually impossible to pick out even in the bare trees. We had a walk down to the end of a neighbouring field where a Pied Flycatcher was proclaiming his territory and a Tawny Owl was sitting on eggs.

On the opposite side of the track, Wheatears were being disturbed as the sheep were being fed but the major surprise was a fine male Whinchat on top of a hawthorn.

We decided to try my garden in the late afternoon as I still had plenty of finches around and we weren't disappointed. Firstly I got a ringing tick with three Blackcaps including this female.
Then there were lots more Redpolls, Siskins and a…

Killdeer and Osprey provide a distraction from ringing activities

I think the title is putting it mildly. After a couple of hours ringing in the garden catching another 13 new Redpolls taking the winter total to over 70, my phone rang - it was Bill Aspin - there must be something at Brockholes I thought! Close. A Killdeer at Alston Wetlands found by ace Kildeer finder Gavin Thomas was a first for Lancashire and a first for me in Britain if I saw it so the nets were furled and the remaining birds processed before Mark and I leaped into the car and headed for Longridge around 15 miles away.

There was no playing it cool like the Solitary Sandpiper a couple of years ago so Mark reminded me! However our velocity was somewhat hampered by Sunday drivers and a tractor between Ribchester and Hothersall but we arrived at the parking spot just before 11 and legged it across the field only to be greeted by a (smug?) pair of birders - Bill and John Wright. "It's flown high south" - Bill clearly wanted it on his Brockholes list but we carried on to …

And yet more Redpolls

I apologise for being rather repetitive on some posts recently but Redpolls are generally scarce yet on Saturday Mark and I ringed a total of 22 new birds plus a control and several retraps.
One of the few adult males that was coming down to seed was distinctly greyer that the rest of the birds and having bounced of the nets three times previously, we eventually trapped him. The bird seemed to have good credentials in that it was noticeably greyer than all the rest and the white in the wing, tail and back was extensive. Flanks had no buff in them and were boldly streaked as was the rump. However, the measurements were all below the range for Mealy! It was reminiscent of a bird in 2009 that stood out similarly. That was also trapped later and though quite large, we put it down as a Lesser as with this one.

The previous control from January came from Cumbria:
L7422553J30.07.11Greystoke Forest (Cumbria)
Caught6F13.01.13Rishton 110 km SSE

We caught three Blackbirds, one of which was laden…