Garden Gore

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The troublesome tail end of Stella has meant a week of enforced inactivity for yours truly. The local ban on ringing due to Avian Flu is now lifted but the wind and rain of recent days has given no opportunity for ringing or birding. In my own garden and those of close neighbours there’s been a Chiffchaff, a singing Mistle Thrush, a calling Tawny Owl, a steady stream of Goldfinches, plus a number of Dunnocks chasing around. ChiffchaffTawny OwlMore showers this morning, and as I typed away, Sue reported a killing taking place on the back lawn. From the bedroom window I saw that an adult female Sparrowhawk had just collared a Collared Dove and was in the process of finishing off the job by sinking its talons into the dove's flesh. A Collared Dove is a large bird and at the top end of the list of prey sizes a female Sparrowha...
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Here And There

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
At last a half decent morning without that nagging breeze, a chance to go ringing at Oakenclough where at 0630 I met up with Andy and Dave. Our catching was steady and on the slow side. It was dominated by finches and signs of early returning birds with the recaptures of a Lesser Redpoll and a Siskin. The Siskin was first ringed 11th February 2016 and the Lesser Redpoll first ringed 25th March 2015. So they were both early springtime birds but neither of them recaptured in the intervening periods. Total birds processed 23 of just four species, including the two recaptures: 9 Goldfinch, 5 Siskin, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Chaffinch and 3 Dunnock. SiskinSiskin SiskinGoldfinchLesser Redpolls can vary in colouration with some individuals showing greyish tones with whiter wing bars than a typically brown example. They are however not to...
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First The Fish

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Thursday morning – a fish day. So I called at Jamie’s shop at Knott End for supplies of brain food - haddock and salmon then spent a while birding around the shore and the jetty. Knott End and Fleetwood Oystercatcher numbers are in decline as many move north and inland to breed, but still 220+ on the incoming tide with a single Curlew and a few Redshank for company. Nine Turnstone fed below the jetty with 32 Shelduck and 15/20 Black-headed Gull on the shore. The wintering Black Redstart was in the usual spot, darting around the area of the residential flats where it seems to find plenty of food and not too much competition from aggressive Robins. Black RedstartTurnstone At Fluke Hall the local Tree Sparrows are getting a little noisy and very active around the nest boxes in the trees. I clocked the Grey Wagtail that has winte...
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Rant And Ring

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
There’s still no ringing allowed near home. DEFRA are taking no chances on the possibility that Avian Flu might still spread, but there’s no information about when the saga might end. Avian Flu Zones What a shame that DEFRA’s inspectors weren’t on the ball in the first place when they would have seen that in this part of Lancashire gamebird rearing operations are environmental disasters waiting to happen. It gets worse. Each autumn in the UK many millions of cage reared pheasant, partridge and duck are released into the wild for the purposes of then shooting them. Pre or post, there is little or no qualified assessment as to the impact of the releases upon wild bird populations or the environment.So called “game shooting” is big business in providing jobs and revenue for those involved whereby there is zero likelihood...
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Whuppity Scoorie

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Just in case you folks didn’t know. Today March 1st is known in parts of Scotland as “Whuppity Scoorie”- supposedly it reflects changes when lighter spring evenings replaced the dark winter nights and a time to celebrate; perhaps with a wee dram? For me the marginally lighter mornings mean a chance to go birding 30 minutes sooner and to catch up with a glass of wine once the day is over. The Barn Owl just didn’t want to co-operate this morning. The roads are still pretty busy until even lighter mornings arrive and this owl is sensible enough to avoid the passing vehicles. So I made do with a distant photo and then went on my way. Barn OwlI made it to Gulf Lane where the Linnets have made something of a comeback with 100+ in attendance and still preferring what’s left of the natural food rather than our millet/rapeseed mi...
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Review – Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
New field guides come thick and fast nowadays. No sooner have we invested in and digested a new one than yet another appears to tempt us. And rather like new cars that grow in size from the previous model and prove a tight fit in narrow lanes and car park spaces, so do the dimensions of field guides seem to outgrow their hoped for size. Fitting the latest ones into the average Barbour or multi-pocketed jacket requires a fair amount of ingenuity. Either that or the pristine volume lies forgotten in the glove compartment or sits at home waiting to be consulted upon our return home, thus defeating the object of a guide for use in the great outdoors. But now along comes a new field guide that promises not only 860 species and 2,200 photographs but undertakes to fit it all into a genuine pocket size of 190mm x 135mm and less than 30mm thi...

Catching Up

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Apologies first for yesterday posting again a duplicate post from last week. This was a bungled attempt to update the blog and Google wasn't very forgiving of my blunder. Doh!What with one thing and then another I’d not been out birding or ringing for a good few days. Finally today I attempted a few hours out in the less than ideal conditions of yet another cloudy, grey morning. A drive along Backsands Lane at Pilling revealed the grand total of three Pink-footed Geese and a far cry from the many thousands of recent weeks. There’s not been the same numbers of geese in fields close to home, towards the river at Stalmine or even flying to and from the direction of Pilling, their usual route overhead. I get the distinct feeling that the mild weather of late has sent many pinkies heading back to Iceland. And just this week I hav...
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Mist With Splits And Joins.

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Friday. I met Andy up at Oakenclough for a ringing session.  The scene that greeted us was not quite as promised by the weather forecast and nothing like the clear morning I'd left at sea level fifteen miles away. In place of a starry sky was low cloud, fog and far from ideal conditions for catching birds. Our experience is that birds don’t move around much during foggy and misty conditions. Misty Start Towards Bowland The sun never broke through and as we expected, birds didn’t arrive in high numbers. Nevertheless we left quite happy that we’d managed to catch 16 birds. Unusually for here and for the first time ever, Blue Tit proved to be the most numerous bird of the catch with 7 Blue Tit, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Coal Tit and 1 Lesser Redpoll. Adult Male Siskin  Adult Female Siskin Adult Female Sis...

Owls and Things

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
After a couple of pretty windy days there’s no ringing just yet but I made a couple of visit to our Linnet ringing site to put out a mix of millet and rape seed. The lifting of the exclusion zone and the ban on ringing within the area is due to be lifted on 28th February.There are still 170 + Linnet around plus a watching Kestrel and 10/12 Stock Dove taking advantage of the seed on offer. The local Carrion Crows have found a source of food in last season’s maize field. Avian FluKestrel Carrion Crow Linnets Looking at the forecast I’m hoping to get out birding on Wednesday and ringing in the hills on Friday when the wing drops off. Meanwhile here’s an interesting and recent item I found on the Internet. The story centres upon research being carried out near here at Lancaster University. The video features Barn Owls and res...
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A Snowy Storm

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Here in the UK there are two separate and quite distinct species - birder and bird photographer. And they don’t always co-exist in perfect harmony. Birders often use the disparaging epithet of “togger” to describe someone who simply takes bird photographs but has no real interest in birds as animals and their place in the Tree of Life.  In return I am sure that photographers use a similarly unflattering word to describe the many birders who simply want to look at birds but who have no desire to photograph them. I must admit I don’t know what the latter word is, but perhaps after today I might find out?  However, and as far as I am aware the two points of view haven’t come to physical violence just yet, unlike in Canada. The National Post of Canada of 9th February 2017 -  “In Ontario shouting matches an...
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