A Typical August Mixed Bag

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning saw Graham, Ian and Me undertaking a ringing session at one of the reedbeds at the Obs. It had been crystal clear and cool overnight, so every indication was that it had been a 'clear out' night. At first light we had four oktas cloud cover with a 5 - 10 mph southwesterly wind.As we were putting the nets up the morning murmuration of Starlings, as they exited their roost, entertained, and I estimated that there was somewhere between three and five thousand birds. Pied Wagtails also exited their roost on the marina and they flew over in ones and twos heading south to feeding areas.An adult male Sparrowhawk, Little Egret and Great Spotted Woodpecker made it into my notebook, but that was it from a birding perspective.We ringed 27 birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):Wren - 3Willow Warbler - 3Chiffchaff - 1 (1)Robin - 1B...

Solway Soothes The Soul

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It's been a traumatic ten days or more and I have spent it with my wife and her family, either in hospital or the hospice, watching her dear father pass away. I'm not looking for a sympathy vote dear reader, just letting you know that this is the reason that I haven't posted in a while.I was 'back in the saddle' work-wise yesterday and had a bird survey to complete in north Cumbria. And after I finished my survey, just like my previous post, I headed to the northern shore of the soothing Solway for some communion with nature! The Solway looking south towards the LakesMy survey site was another of my favourite plantation woodland surveys that I have been doing for four years now, and I like the way the landowner manages this one, creating wide open rides within the trees and I think increasing the number and range of bird species.I adde...

Birding Both Sides Of The Border

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I always smile when I cross over the border and see that sign 'Welcome to Scotland' (Failte gu Alba), and almost breathe a sigh of relief to be back in bonny Scotland. I do have Scottish ancestry, but not immediate family, although I do consider myself a Celt, relating more to my Irish half, in fact I consider myself Irish first and English second, and perhaps that's the connection! I'm not sure why I shared that with you, and need to rewind a little to south of the border at first light.I was at one of my favourite survey sites this morning, not too far from Wigton in north Cumbria and I am envious of the farmer, Ian's, house! The front of the house overlooks the Solway and you can see across into Dumfries and Galloway with the splendid Criffell dominating the view! Out back the view isn't too shabby either looking on to the north Lakes wi...

Three Layers

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over the past two mornings I have been undertaking bird surveys and it's been a bit nippy, and for the first time in a while it has necessitated three layers of clothing! However, within an hour or two I have been down to just a T-shirt. Why do you mention this I hear you ask, well that early morning nip is just another signal that we are indeed in autumn!Yesterday I was in north Cumbria not a million miles from Carlisle and I always enjoy this survey because of the views across the Solway to bonny Scotland! Weather conditions for the survey were good with no wind and full cloud cover, perfect conditions for ringing incidentally, but that's another story for another day.The weather conditions were good but the birds weren't performing as it was very quiet. That's the problems with surveys sometimes as they are a snapshot in time, and that's...
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Sylvias Still Dominate…Just

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
This morning I met Graham and Ian at 5:30 a.m. for another ringing session at one of the pools at the Obs. We were greeted with 6 oktas cloud cover and a 10 mph southeasterly wind. The cloud cover gave some welcome cool relief to the recent hot weather, but within an hour or so the sun dispersed the cloud and it was a tad warm again!There were a few more signs of autumn this morning including the first few Pied Wagtails flying over, dispersing from their overnight roost. On the subject of Wagtails a single Grey Wagtail over was another autumnal sign, as was the single Snipe that left the pools to head out towards the river/saltmarsh to feed.From a birding perspective the pickings were slim and trying to pick out some highlights from my notebook isn't easy. Grasshopper Warblers always delight and a distant 'reeling' bird brought a smile to m...

Garden Inverts

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Sadly I haven't been birding this week, but fingers crossed that will be remedied tomorrow. During the week on various excursions into the garden to look for invertebrates I spotted a humble Greenbottle Fly that looked reasonably photogenic i.e. it would remain still long enough for me to snap it! I grabbed my camera and took a few shots and below is the result of one of the better cropped pics!Greenbottle FlyI ran my moth for the first time in a while last night and out of the catch managed to identify fourteen moths of nine species as follows:Dot Moth - 2Common Wainscot - 1Common Rustic - 4Buff Arches - 1Large Yellow Underwing - 2Riband Wave - 1Heart and Dart - 1Garden Carpet - 1True Lover's Knot - 1 True Lover's KnotThe True Lover's Knot was a first for my garden and totally unexpected. They are usually found on lowland heathland an...
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Reedbed Monitoring

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was great to be back in the reedbeds at the Obs this morning, albeit very early! This was our first ringing session in this habitat of the autumn, yes it's autumn in the bird world now, and when I met Ian at first light we were greeted with clear and calm conditions. The idea was to have a couple of hours ringing before the temperatures got up.As you all know it was a very cold and late spring and large numbers of migrants either didn't make it back to the UK or started very late with their breeding cycle. It is going to be interesting to see what sort of results we have in terms of our catches, particularly the ratio between adult and juvenile birds. Of course after just one ringing session it is impossible to draw any conclusions.We had a reasonable catch of 28 birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):Wren - 2Chiffchaff - 2Willow Warb...
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First Moths For A While

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Friday into Saturday I ran my garden moth trap for the first time in a couple of weeks and caught thirteen moths of nine species. Well, I actually caught more than that but I don't attempt to identify many of the micro moths; shame on me I know!The moths I recorded were as follows:Angle Shades - 1Buff Ermine - 1Large Yellow Underwing - 2Gothic - 1Bright-line Brown-eye - 1Heart and Dart - 2Dot Moth - 2Green Pug - 1Common Marbled Carpet - 2Buff Ermine Angle Shades...

Kes

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Tuesday evening found Huw and Me at our good friends Diana and Robert's farm to hopefully ring a brood of Kestrels from a box that Robert put up on the edge of his woodland. We have ringed the Kestrel chicks from this box for the last two years, so fingers were crossed on Tuesday evening.Prior to me going away on holiday we had checked the box and the female Kestrel was sitting, so we had high hopes that when I got back there would be chicks and that they would be big enough to ring. Huw went up to the box and there were three chicks, plus one egg. The chicks were probably somewhere in the region of 10-12 days old so there was no chance of the egg hatching. The three chicks were duly ringed and placed back in the box. KestrelWe headed up to the yard to check the Barn Owl box that Robert has up in the barn. We've ringed the Barn Owl chi...
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Eyed Hawkmoth

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Earlier in the week, Monday to be precise, Gail and I were giving our two Oriental cats one of their daily walks in the garden when Woody (see picture of Woody below) found an Eyed Hawkmoth close to the Apple tree.Woody Eyed HawkmothEagle eyed Stewart in Northumberland contacted me to say that the Eyed Hawkmoth was a female based on the width and pointed end to the abdomen; thanks Stewart!On Tuesday morning Gail went out into the garden to have a look at the Apple tree to see if the Hawkmoth was still there, after me saying that it wouldn't be as it would have moved on during the night. A delighted shout from Gail at the bottom of the garden saying that there wasn't one, but two Eyed Hawkmoths now! Mrs Hawkmoth had presumably now been joined by a Mr!  Eyed Hawkmoths...
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