Good Morning

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The morning started in fine style. Not a cloud in the sky and a promise of sun all day. There was no ringing today so I set off birding camera at the ready as mist began to clear from the ditches and dykes. Pilling morning, LancashireAll was quiet at Conder Green save for the usual display flights of the Oystercatchers and the resident Shelducks still sorting out their pairs. I looked across at the far bank hoping to see the elusive Avocets but instead of the expected two I saw four. There seemed little aggression between the four as they all fed together until at one point two flew across to a nearer island. After a few minutes the pair flew back to join the others on the far side of the pool and I turned my attention to what else might be lurking unseen.  It was cold and just 3°C at 0730. Visible migration seemed nil apart fro...
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Tuesday Trundle

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Swallows were everywhere this morning. I saw them in each place I stopped or noted twos and threes heading north all morning and ended up with 80+ in my notebook. Despite or perhaps because of  the unexceptional overnight conditions new Wheatears and maybe a few Willow Warblers had also found their way north. I’d started off on the coastal circuit at Conder Green with just the usual species and a few new waders: 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Chiffchaff, 8 Teal, 14 Shelduck, 14 Oystercatcher, 3 Little Egret, 2 Pied Wagtail. Two pairs of Tufted Duck is looking quite promising, especially since there seems to be a lack of competition for nesting spots around the pool margins this year. Tufted DuckI didn’t catch up with any Avocets again and I’m wondering if the intermittent sightings in recent weeks involve a number of bi...
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Swallows At Last

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
More cold north-westerlies didn’t bode well for this morning’s circuit but I did get Swallows into double figures, picked up a few other summer migrants and ended up with a decent tally of birds. First stop was Gulf Lane where the winter set-aside crop now lies flat as a pancake awaiting this year’s plough. There must still be some food in there, probably the legacy of our feeding regime to catch Linnets. I found 9 Stock Dove searching the ground, 10 Linnet flying around and a single Wheatear. I rather like the Stock Dove, a bird which to most folk is just a bog-standard town pigeon that pecks around their feet while pooing a lot. Look closely. The Stock Dove is an attractive and rather subtly coloured bird by way of the overall bluey cast, the green ear patch, neat black wing bars and those ruby red legs. It’s a birder’...
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Timely Advice

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Migrants are trickling north in ones and two without any signs of a major arrival to enliven a morning’s birding. Ringing is on hold while cold north westerlies predominate and this week I’ve been busy with half-term duties. I’m hoping to go birding Friday and/or Saturday, but in the meantime this week came timely reminders on the reporting of rare breeding birds from Mark Holling of the UK’s Rare Breeding Birds Panel and Mark Thomas of RSPB Investigations,  here. They suggest a long list of species where news blackouts should apply in circumstances suggestive of breeding or potential breeding unless public viewing has been arranged:Capercaillie Black-throated Diver Little Bittern Cattle Egret Great White Egret Purple Heron Eurasian Spoonbill Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Bla...
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Birds of India – A Photographic Field Guide – A Review

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
After five visits to India and one to Sri Lanka I never tired of Indian subcontinent, the landscapes, its people or its birds. I did however become weary of the interminable flights of 22 hours door to door with unwanted stop overs in the Middle East. So even though flights to India are nowadays more direct I restrict holiday/birding trips to three or four hours on an aeroplane where I can bird the same day. A new field guide reminds me of what I am missing by not returning to India. With a great deal of time, money, luck plus a whole series of local guides with specialised knowledge, I might eventually see 13% of the world’s birds as portrayed in the book. Reviewed today is a book first published in 2016 in India by Om Books, “A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Banglades...

More Polls

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Overnight had been clear.There was a slight frost on the screen as the instrument panel lit up - “beware of possible ice”. I was travelling back to the hills today where I met up with Andy in the expectation of more finches and maybe a warbler or two; especially so since Andy’s ringing near his home on Friday produced 5 Meadow Pipits, a couple of Great-spotted Woodpeckers, a Tree Pipit, a Blackcap and a Willow Warbler. Tree PipitTry as we might we caught no Tree Pipits today nor did we catch a singing Blackcap, and one only of the 4 Willow Warblers around. So we made do with yet more Lesser Redpolls amongst the 19 birds of 5 species: 13 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Willow Warbler. Willow WarblerSiskin The very first Lesser Redpoll caught was already ringed but with ring number not of our own sequen...
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First Willys

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Preparation is everything for these early starts. I packed a bag with camera, outdoor breakfast and a vacuum flask primed with coffee & milk.  The alarm was set for 0500 allowing time for a rapid wake-me-up shower. A large mug of tea, a piece of toast and twenty minutes later I’m on the road heading for Oakenclough and a few spring migrants. As I arrived Andy was already on the move and keen for the off. According to the Beeb’s weather forecast, the morning would be dry but 100% cloudy. It was more of the BBC’s bogus information as we started off in bright sunshine but by 10am a belt of rain arrived and we took the nets down. We caught slowly but surely and ended up with another 20 birds in the field sheet including our first Willow Warblers of 2017. Once again, finches led the list at 6 Goldfinch, 4 Lesser Redpo...
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More Siskin News

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Details arrived of yet another Siskin recovery. Siskins are well worth catching, a species that gives good recovery data, often from ringer to ringer many miles apart, rather than examples of bird mortality. SiskinAndy and I have targeted this species at Oakenclough near Garstang and we now have a number of recoveries showing that Siskins moving through here in February, March and April are on their way to the Scottish highlands. The latest one is bang up to date as it concerned a Siskin we ringed in March 2016, later recaptured by a ringer in Scotland during March of 2017 just a few weeks ago. As often happens, most of the intervening period remains a mystery other than the fact that after breeding in Scotland the bird would migrate the south of England or across the English Channel to the near Continent.  Lancashire in March...
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A Sunday Surprise

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I did a circuit of a number of local spots this morning and then later on arrived home with a page full of notes. There was even a tick for my non-existent British List, Lancashire List and Fylde List. “It’s all in your head” as Sue is fond of reminding me. I drove through Pilling with nothing much to see until I arrived at Damside where the resident Kestrel looked for breakfast along the roadside. KestrelKestrelI’d only driven a few yards when a Great White Egret flew fairly high across the road but heading out towards Pilling Marsh. This wasn’t the same Great White that’s been knocking around Conder and Glasson for months now, from where it has hardly ventured and where I saw it a week ago. Almost certainly this morning’s bird would be a new one and part of the influx of both large and small white egrets in recent ...
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Britain’s Mammals – A Review

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On my desk for review today is a new Princeton field guide, a book which doesn’t feature birds but one that will be sought after by almost 100% of bird watchers. The book is the much awaited Britain's Mammals: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Britain and Ireland from Princeton Press. This is the latest in the series of best-selling WILDGuides. The authors of Britain’s Mammals are Dominic Couzens, Andy Swash, Robert Still, & Jon Dunn. Andy Swash and Robert Still were two of the authors of the hugely successful “Britain’s Birds”, first published in late 2016, a book which found its way into many a birders' library. This latest book is a companion to the bird guide and shares not only one of the authors, but also looks and feels the same as soon as the first page is turned. Britain's Mammals Skipping introductory pages t...