Stone Me

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Next week’s weather looked dire. Sunday might be the only opportunity to get some ringing done. So with a promised 3mph I drove up to Gulf Lane and an early start. No Andy today. And he had the single panel nets in his car except for a brand new Ecotone that languished in my boot. I put up the one net but it was shiny and pristine, straight out of the packet from Poland and by now the rising sun lit up the mesh. Mist nets are better when the new shine has worn off and they take on a greyer tone that merges into backdrop of the customary British weather. Anyway that’s my excuse for catching just 4 Linnets in a couple of hours. And I think the number of Linnets around at 180-200 suggests that this consistent count of recent weeks holds regular birds and few newcomers. But that miserly four equates to 251 new Linnets for the...
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Mix And Match

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Today’s forecast was a little over the top windy for ringing at our exposed sites so I indulged in a few hours birding, camera at the ready. It turned out to be a day of mixed fortunes with both sunny and cloudy periods, showers, and even a spot or two of sunshine. At the end, a few photos to share. The drive across Stalmine Moss found three Kestrels, a hunting pair and then at the junction of Lancaster road a third one in flight. I slowed to scan the fields where a Barn Owl might be seen but none emerged from the post dawn light, just three chattering Fieldfares. The thrushes carried on south but I would see a number of others soon. I stopped at Gulf Lane to count the Linnets and drop food. Still 130+ Linnets, plus a number of Tree Sparrows at the farm 50 yards away. We don’t include the sparrows in our counts as they do no...
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More Linnets Please

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Just yesterday I entered some recent counts of Linnets at Gulf Lane into the BTO’s Bird Track. The system flagged up that the counts were of an “unusually high number”. Well BTO it’s good to hear that, especially as discovering more about winter Linnets is the objective of our project here. BirdTrack - BTOThroughout September and October spot counts here varied between 50 and 100 Linnets during a period of poor and mostly wet and windy weather. In the last week and into November and with more settled weather there have been nearer 200 birds at any one time. Wednesday 15th and at last a morning of less than 5 mph winds. I met Andy at 0715 and ten minutes later the single panel nets stood ready for the Linnets as they arrived from roosts ready for their first feed of the day. Parties arriving varied between 3 and 30 i...
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Bright And Breezy

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The forecast said bright and breezy and it was spot-on for birding if not for ringing at our exposed sites. I travelled over the moss roads where I hoped for a Barn Owl or two; but no luck this morning, just a pair of Buzzards leaving their overnight roost.At Gulf Lane the Linnet flock has increased to 200+ birds but no sign of the Stonechat from earlier in the week. With luck we’ll get a crack at catching more Linnets this coming week. Lapwings and Curlews filled the wet fields alongside the A588 with several hundred of each before I even reached Braides Farm.Here at the farm were 500+ Lapwing and similar numbers of Curlew, and on the flood itself, 80+ Black-tailed Godwit. A mile away I stopped on the rise of Bank End Lane and viewed the fields below. Here were several hundreds more of both Lapwing and Curlew, dozens of Redshank, a...
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Today’s The Day

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
One day a week for ringing. That’s all we get at the moment. One day without rain, wind or both. This week was Wednesday with a cold, clear and frosty start at Oakenclough where I met Andy at 0630. We were later joined by our old mate Will, now too busy with work to do a great deal of ringing. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it. The morning followed a similar pattern to our latest visits here, a post-dawn burst of thrushes and then little else to keep feet and fingers warm. We are now past the peak of Redwing migration and while Fieldfares are often a week or two after the passage of Redwings, this autumn’s Fieldfare migration has seemed a little thin over here on the west coast. Blackbirds were more in evidence today with “continental” types caught, up to 20 seen in total, plus a single Song Thrush. Otherwise, an...
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Saturday’s Schedule

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Saturday began dull and cloudy but the forecast was pretty accurate. The sky brightened a little but not enough to get decent photographs. I set off in the direction of Cockerham where I stopped in the gateway of Braides Farm and looked on the flood about 300 yards away. The flood is distant but always worth a look with the risk that small birds go missing amongst the puddled, rough grass landscape. I counted 480 Curlew, 10 Black-tailed Godwit and a single Kestrel but I’m sure more bits and pieces were hidden. Conder Green proved productive. In the wader stakes I noted 15 Curlew, 15 Redshank, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Snipe, 4 Lapwing and the single and still wintering Common Sandpiper. The light was far from ideal and required ISO1000, a setting which proved barely enough. RedshankCommon SandpiperDown on the mud was a sing...

Linnets And Swan Lake

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
It had been more than six weeks ago on 23rd September that we managed a ringing session at Linnet Project 2017/18. Six weeks of wind and rain which limited our visits to spot count days only with not a single visit for ringing purposes during October. At this site we need a dry morning and ideally, a wind of 5mph or less. At last the forecast was tolerable for this morning so I met Andy at 0715 and we set a couple of single panels through what is left of the wildflower/bird seed field after its autumn battering.  At the moment the finch flock is Linnets only and numbers about 130 at any one time so we were not too disappointed with a catch of 14 Linnets - two adult males, and the remaining 12 made up of 7 first year males and 5 first year females. This bumped up the Linnet ringing total here to 177 during the autumn of 2017.&n...

First of November

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Our first ringing session of the month took place at Oakenclough, Near Garstang. The morning was dry and cloudy with a 10mph southerly, a direction that leaves our nets partly sheltered. I met Andy at 0630 and Bryan joined us soon after. The morning followed the same pattern as the last two occasions here. There was a dawn arrival of thrushes from the south east and quickly leaving in a westerly that lasted in all about 40 minutes. This was followed once again by a slow morning of odds and ends of thrushes, a lack of finches and just 26 birds ringed. Totals captured: 9 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare, 4 Goldcrest, 3 Goldfinch, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Blackbird, 1 Chaffinch. In all we counted approximately 80 Redwings, 40 Fieldfares and 5/6 Blackbirds. As described above, finches were dominated by approximately 40 each of Chaffinch and Go...
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Lazing On A Sunday Afternooon

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
This year no two days are ever the same. Saturday was a day of dark clouds and drizzle in the air. Today just the opposite - bright and sunny. I set off over the moss roads where in the half-light of dawn I saw two Barn Owls and a Kestrel, but with the light pretty poor for pictures. The first Barn Owl flew rapidly alongside the road and towards a regular hangout 100 yards away, an open barn at the rear of an empty house, a quiet location where the owl could rest undisturbed for an hour or two. Half-a-mile away I watched a second Barn Owl hunt a rough grass field that held a water-filled ditch and where there would surely be voles, rats and mice. The owl’s method seemed erratic and fast. It flew here, there and everywhere, dived into the grass occasionally and then restarted its frantic flight, but with none of the slow quartering or...

Have Another Go

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
After yesterday’s slightly underwhelming and fairly unproductive ringing session Andy and I decided we would have another go today. We met up at 0700 for the last time before the clocks revert to winter time settings, and for ringers, a return to earlier alarm bells for a week or two. With clear skies and a promise of sunshine the weather this morning was decidedly better in terms of comfort for us ringers if not necessarily more suited to visible migration. We were correct. After a very early thrush rush the little migration there was came to a complete halt. We caught 22 birds, thrushes named first to illustrate how the morning changed from a promising thrush rush to a titfest - 6 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 1 Robin, 1 Goldfinch, 6 Coal Tit, 4 Blue Tit, 1 Wren, 1 Dunnock. The post-dawn arrival of thrushes compr...
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