Poor Old Oyk

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
There came something of a surprise with a recent email from the BTO. The message concerned an Oystercatcher found dead by a member of the public at our ringing site near Oakenclough on 18th April 2018. The bombshell was the fact that our Oystercatcher had died at the grand old age of 22 years, 7990 days after being ringed at the same place on 2nd June 1996. This is a site where a number of pairs Oystercatchers breed every year, an inland and upland location with a reservoir where the Oystercatchers nest on the rocky shores dependent upon water levels but also in adjacent fields. Even my memory of ringing occasions doesn't stretch back 22 years so I looked up the original ringing data on our Fylde Ringing Group database and there it was. Ring number FR86494, ringed as a chick, one of two youngsters on 2 June 1996. IPMR dataI s...
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Change Of Scene

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
With a forecast of a good sunny morning I decided to have a drive up to the hills to see how things were going in this belated spring. With luck I’d have three hours of birding before the parades of wannabe Bradley Wiggins’ showed up in their day-glow clothing and very loud voices that scare the birds away.It’s a forty minute drive and a bridge over the northbound M6 before I hit the beginnings of the Trough of Bowland."Click the Pics" for a closer look. Bowland, Lancashire Bowland The quiet of early morning was broken mostly by the sounds of displaying Curlew and Lapwing. To lesser extent were the calls of Oystercatcher, Redshank and Snipe, all in the throes of establishing their breeding territories but the last three tend to be later breeders. Redshank Oystercatcher Snipe I lost count of the Mistl...
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Missing In Action

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
A rather grey morning left me waiting for the promised lunchtime sun before I hit the trail. Although the light was still not good, sun was on the way with our bit of the “heatwave”. Those midday Barn Owls showed again, this time an obvious pair since they hunted the same fields. They weren't quite in tandem with one of them much more active than the other which sat in the adjacent hedgerow for a good hour. I was still on ISO1200. Barn Owl Barn Owls Barn Owl I checked out the recent Buzzard location to find both birds on show but partly hidden in the nest, seemingly doing a little housekeeping. Nearby was a Kestrel and also a male Sparrowhawk sat in the depths of the cover with its bright orange breast a dead give-away. Some migrant species are rather slow in arriving this year. The long journey from Africa...
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Early Pipit Late Owl

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
A 6 am start beckoned and I met Andy at Oakenclough in near perfect conditions - a light southerly, and compared to recent weeks, a temperature that felt quite agreeable. Once again newly in birds were rather limited so we struggled to reach double figures with just 10 birds ringed but the emphasis on quality rather than quantity: 5 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldfinch and 1 Tree Pipit. In most years April 1st is around the normal date for the arrival of the first Willow Warblers so the two males caught today are approximately ten days “late”. Maybe they picked a good time to arrive with predicted temperatures of up to 64°F and fine days for next week. In so many recent years Willow Warblers have arrived into cool and wet weather that continued throughout May and had a detrimental effect upon their breeding success.&...
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Out At Last

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
What with half-term, car service & MOT and pretty poor weather, I’d been out of birding action for a week. Thursday morning and as is often the case I wasn’t sure where to go on my local patch while allowing sufficient time to spend at each. There’s nothing more annoying than birding at one place and seeing not very much to then hear later of birds seen in the same spot soon after. It’s a form of Sod’s Law that applies to birders and probably other obsessives. Through Pilling village was the first Chiffchaff singing from an annual location but as I drove past I spotted a hunting Barn Owl ahead. The owl was on a fast, large circuit that took it over fields, behind tall hedgerows and through farmyards so I quickly lost sight. Barn Owl I drove up to Conder Pool, the first time for a couple of weeks. Very evid...
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Boring? Never.

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I’d met up with Andy for another ringing session at Oakenclough and where surely we would find a few fresh migrants on this the Fifth of April? The wind was in the North-West and at 0630 and 0.5° it wasn't especially warm. A glance at the weather map portrayed a stream of warm air partly headed our way from Iberia with maybe an outside chance of a few new birds although few migrants had yet reached the North West.  Thursday 5th April Our catch was on-par for recent weeks. In other words not so good with just 12 birds caught and still zero warblers - 3 Siskin, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Great Tit, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Dunnock. Siskin Lesser Redpoll We don’t catch many Dunnocks at Oakenclough but today’s bird proved to be a female in early breeding condition.DunnockThe name Dunnock comes from t...
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Trying

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I missed two ringing sessions. Tuesday was half-term duties and then on Wednesday I had to wait in for the heating engineer. Andy was out on both days when he caught the first Chiffchaff of spring, several Meadow Pipits, half a dozen each of both Siskin and Lesser Redpoll and the usual bits & bobs of Dunnocks, Robins and Blue Tits. Wednesday was a chance to catch up with spring and the example set by Andy. We met up at 0630 to a gentle south-easterly and hopeful vibes, but 2° with an ice warning on the dashboard said otherwise. And so it was, with just 7 birds caught in more than three hours - 3 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 Goldcrest. The latter was our first of the spring and now some two weeks later than normal.Meadow Pipit Goldcrest SiskinThe tiny and quite stunning Siskin is a species ...
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Mars And Venus

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Saturday morning and at 5am the alarm buzzed in my ear. Fifteen minutes later I was washed, dressed and had made a flask of coffee for the 40 minute journey to meet Andy at Oakenclough. By six there was zero wind and a few spots of rain. The rain was nothing to worry about as it quickly petered out and left perfect conditions for ringing. Once gain the ringing was very subdued with nothing in the way of migrants as the weather south of here continues to block migration. We ringed just 14 birds of 4 species - 8 Goldfinch, 3 Chaffinch, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Robin. For this time of year it is quite unusual that we caught zero Lesser Redpoll or Siskin today. Even the two Siskins we saw were probably fairly local wintering birds. The male symbol ♂ is the astrological symbol for Mars and the female symbol ♀ is the astrolo...
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Truncated Morning

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Tuesday and the wind had changed direction from the recent Siberian blast to an almost balmy north-easterly of 8 mph. Even the temperature picked up to 0.5° at 0630 but the wind chill made it feel more like minus 15°. I’d met up with Andy at Oakenclough for a ringing session. Andy still sported a tan from his week in Abu Dhabi but there was no tee shirt or shorts to be seen. On our last visit here on 7th March, Another Bird Blog, we caught the first handful of Siskins and Lesser Redpolls of 2018, so we hoped to improve on this. However it was not to be as the wind soon picked up to 15 mph to truncate the already quiet session. We ringed just 11 birds – 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Siskin, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Blackbird, 1 Great Tit, 1 Goldfinch. Siskin Lesser Redpoll Chaffinch Other than the finche...
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Something For The Weekend

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Spring has yet to arrive. In fact the weather at the moment here in Lancashire is still like winter with low temperatures, biting easterly winds and even snow predicted for the weekend. Something For the Weekend With little prospect of birding or ringing I dipped into the archive for the sunny days of Egypt in 2011. The post from February 2011 seems especially relevant now as we in the UK await Chiffchaffs fresh from the wintering grounds, one of the first spring migrants. Chiffchaff Ringers know that early Chiffchaffs often carry pollen residues on their bills. This pollen was deposited by the feeding strategy known as nectarivory, birds indulging in sipping nectar from flowering plants during which flowering pollen is left on the bird itself, mainly around the base of the bill, the part of the bird most closely in...