Up North

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I have had a full week of 'stupid o'clock' alarm calls to head up north to Cumbria to complete the second surveys of the plantation woodlands that I am surveying for birds. On Monday Gail joined me at an upland site where there are tremendous views of the Solway and over to the Criffell in Dumfries and Galway.These second surveys tend to be the quietest of the three as they are at a time where a good percentage of breeding birds are feeding young. This site was no exception and the few highlights included a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff, a Stock Dove, two Siskins, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Buzzard, a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap.An early start, means an early finish, so afterwards we had finished the survey we headed over to the Scottish side of the Solway to have a look at the seabird colony at Balcary Point. We did a four mile circula...
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More On Pied Flycatchers

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Earlier in the week Gail and I checked our nest boxes in the Hodder Valley and it is looking very good for Pied Flycatchers. We definitely have eleven occupied boxes and they are all incubating completed clutches. I lifted a further three females off the nest and one was one of ours (ringed as a chick last year), and the other two were controls.I was very interested in the good numbers of Pied Flycatchers occupying our boxes and through social media I asked other nest recorders if they were finding similar. Interestingly one local scheme reported average numbers as did a recorder from Wales, but mainly it would seem that most observers are reporting increased occupation. Several reasons have been put forward for this and include good over-winter survival, increased survival during spring migration and poor breeding success for Tits last yea...

April’s Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right you will see that I have updated the totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of April. We are 375 down on where we were this time last year and this has been mainly as a result of avian influenza outbreaks. Talking of avian influenza outbreaks there has been another two in the Fylde at Hambleton and Thornton and we currently have another ringing suspension within the 10km surveillance zone! So that doesn't bode well for our totals going forward.Three new species were added for the year during April and these were Tree Pipit, Willow Warbler and Tree Sparrow. Below you will find the top three ringed for April and the top eight 'movers and shakers' for the year so far.Top 3 Ringed in April1. Lesser Redpoll - 482. Goldfinch - 133. Willow Warbler - 12Top Eight Movers and Shakers1. Lesser Redpoll - 65 (up from 3rd)2. Lin...

Pied Fly Paradise

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Before I get to the 'Pied Fly Paradise' a quick rewind to earlier in the week is required where I carried out some bird surveys in two different parts of Cumbria. My first survey was in the north Pennines not too far from Kirkby Stephen. The site is in a gorgeous location, but for some reason (third year now) it is always cold, and this particular morning was no exception! These surveys that I am carrying out are on common woodland/woodland fringe bird populations so the highlights of these common birds included seven Goldfinches, three Linnets, four Lesser Redpolls, a Stock Dove, a Song Thrush, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler and three Siskins. GoldfinchAfter I had completed the survey I had to see a client near Barrowford so my drive took me along the A65 through Kirkby Lonsdale, Settle and at Long...
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A Few Arrivals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Sunday morning saw me wandering around the farm fields again at the southern end of the Obs recording area. I had clear skies and it was calm at first but a 5 mph NE wind picked up from 0805.The usual Chiffie and Whitethroats were holding territory, but it did seem as if there had been a few arrivals just based on the increase in the number of singing Sedge Warblers. On my walk round I recorded 16, and there certainly isn't enough habitat to support this number of breeding pairs in this area. One of the Sedge Warblers was doing some mimicry throwing Reed Warbler, Linnet and Goldfinch in to his set list! Three Wheatears by the sea wall added to the feeling that I had of there being a few arrivals. WheatearConditions were suitable for some vis and I recorded (all north) a Goldfinch, thirteen Lesser Redpolls, 99 Swallows, two Swifts, a Sa...
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Arctic

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
This northerly air stream all the way from the arctic is getting wearisome and it makes it unseasonably cold for May! This morning Ian, Howard and Me had to take shelter behind the tower once again to record the migration at the Point. Normally at this time of year we would be stood on top of the bank with great views out to sea and a clear view to the west to pick up easily any vis, but not today!We had clear skies at first, but cloud slowly built during the morning, and the wind was a keen 10 - 15 mph northeasterly! The one good thing about Spring is that it is an 'urgent' passage and birds are pretty much on the move whatever the weather conditions, within reason of course!Straight away from first light Lesser Redpolls were on the move and their totals and the other vis is as follows (all east); 25 Lesser Redpolls, eight Tree Pipits, one...
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Woodland And Waders

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I completed another plantation woodland bird survey in Cumbria yesterday morning, and this time it was in the northeast of the county in the Eden valley. This particular site is one of my favourites and usually produces some half decent results.At first light, which is getting a tad early now I have to say, I had five oktas cloud cover with a cold 10 mph northerly wind. I had three small blocks of plantation woodland to survey raging from recently planted to woodland planted about eight years ago. For ease I'll just give a list as follows of the more interesting species that I recorded; eight Willow Warblers, five Redstarts (four males & a female), a Mistle Thrush, eleven Shelducks, four Tree Sparrows, a Siskin, a Stock Dove, a Sedge Warbler, a Yellow Wagtail, a Song Thrush, a pair of Bullfinches, a Blackcap, three Coal Tits and a Buzza...
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Where Did That Rain Come From?

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I set out at first light to walk the farm fields at the southern end of Fleetwood Obs and it started to rain as soon as I set off. I wasn't too bothered about the rain whilst checking for grounded migrants, but I knew that where I looked at the sea at this part of the Obs it didn't afford any shelter, but thankfully it had stopped by the time I got round to that bit! After the rain had stopped I still had full cloud cover with a 15 mph ENE wind.The first migrant I had was a Chiffchaff singing from the herb garden and this was quickly followed by a Willow Warbler singing from the copse. It was obvious that there had been a bit of an arrival overnight as I soon added five Whitethroats, five Sedge Warblers, two Grasshopper Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat to the grounded migrant tally. ChiffchaffEven though it was a bit drizzly and murky...

Beyond Those Mountains

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
The one thing that can be said about this week, and it's the same nationwide, is that it has been bl**dy cold! I have been doing bird surveys beyond those mountains in the middle of Cumbria and with 4:00 am alarm calls the the thermometer has been showing a negative figure! After I had finished a survey in north Cumbria yesterday I had to see a couple of clients in Bowland and driving over the top from Bentham to Slaidburn it was like driving through the tundra! I should have stopped and taken a few shots of the snowy landscape but I couldn't spare the horses to make sure I was at my meetings on time! Looking back towards those mountains.The cold spring has been having an impact on migration, and still there are only dribs and drabs of summer migrants coming through. Also, when it is weather like this birds just seem to appear quietly ...

Full Spooner

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I headed to the Point first thing this morning and joined Ian and Howard, and boy was it cold! The skies were clear and the wind was a sharp 15 mph northwesterly! It was a toss up between standing on the bank and in the wind, but with the sun on your back, or standing behind the tower out of the wind, but with no sun; I opted for the windier but sunnier option.There was some vis this morning and the direction of passage was anywhere between north and east. My vis totals were 25 Goldfinches, 165 Pink-footed Geese, 248 Meadow Pipits, nine Swallows, 19 Linnets, two Sand Martins, four Carrion Crows, eleven Lesser Redpolls, four Siskins, three Tree Pipits, two Alba Wagtails, a Rook and amazingly a Blue Tit that came high over the dunes and was lost from sight as it headed out to cross Morecambe Bay!The best bird offshore was undoubtedly the 'ful...
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