The morning ended on a high note following a rather disappointing ringing session. On the drive back home from Oakenclough via Garstang Town and Eagland Hill, I spotted a day-hunting Barn Owl.
On Wednesday evening a check online told me that our last visit to Oakenclough was 10 November 2019, almost three months ago. At 700 feet above sea level Oakenclough can be desolate in winter, even more so given the wet and wind that continually overwhelmed plans to return. Only now, part way through February 2020 did the weather relent enough to allow a return to this our most productive of ringing sites.
The ringing database DemOn showed that 2019 produced 867 captures at Oakenclough. Willow Warbler, Blue Tit and Redwing were the most ringed species at 85, 85 and 84 respectively, these three followed by 82 Goldcrest, 78 Meadow Pit and 70 Lesser Redpoll. Not many complaints there other than an unprecedented lack of Siskins (just 20) and far too many Blue Tits, a by-catch species that gives little return.
As an early year exploratory visit we rather hoped that Lesser Repoll, Siskin and Goldcrest might be on the cards this morning but apart from a single Goldcrest, there was little evidence of early spring migration. We caught just 12 birds - 4 Blue Tit, 2 Chaffinch and singles of Dunnock, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Wren , Blackbird and Great Tit.
Never mind. We’ll try again after Storm Ciara has passed.
“A Met Office yellow warning about Storm Ciara has been brought forward to midday on Saturday. It is set to bring a deep low pressure with strong and possibly damaging winds, with widespread travel disruption expected. Coastal areas may be affected by large waves and potential flooding.
The warning is in place until midnight on Sunday. The forecast is of gusts between 50-60 mph across inland areas that could reach speeds of 70 mph and possibly 80 mph in exposed hills and coasts.”