Pied Surprise

It’s a week since my last posting. In between has seen rain, rain, then more rain, and no chance of birding, ringing or lifting a camera. Given all the foul weather I was not surprised by news from Chris at Cockerham where after two days of relentless wind and rain he found a dead Avocet youngster, one of the chicks ringed on 24th June

Avocet chick 

It appears that during the bad weather the adults moved the chicks from open water to a more sheltered part of the farm but at least one succumbed. Let’s hope there are no more fatalities. Fingers crossed too that the Avocets return here in 2021. 


On the strength of different forecasts Wednesday morning was pencilled in as a “maybe”, and Oakenclough as the venue. The previous visit of July 1st saw the first real hints of autumn migration. 

This morning I met up with Andy and Bryan at 0630 to a 15-20 mph easterly wind, far stronger than several forecasts that all suggested 6-8 mph. After each of us had driven 40 minutes or more we decided to continue in the less than ideal conditions in the hope the wind would drop. 

As the morning wore on the wind dropped slightly and allowed us a reasonable catch of 24 birds – 21 birds of the year and three adults: 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Great Tit, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Wren, 1 Dunnock, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Pied Flycatcher. 

Oakenclough springs a few surprises on most days. Our surprise today was the juvenile Pied Flycatcher. It’s a species we never catch in mist nets despite the fact that Andy rings many nestlings from boxes a quarter of a mile away. 

Pied Flycatchers are notorious for arriving unseen on their breeding sites and then leaving in autumn equally undetected. This one, AKE3941 was ringed at the nest box along with three siblings on 28 May 2020. 

Pied Flycatcher 

 Pied Flycatcher - juvenile/first summer

Greenfinch - juvenile/first summer

Chiffchaff - juvenile/first summer 

Willow Warbler - juvenile/first summer 

Strong early winds didn’t help our birding, a highlight being a passing Peregrine Falcon as it dive bombed a local Buzzard. Otherwise a few Swallows, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail and the arrival of autumnal Goldfinches around the feeders. 

Back soon. Don’t go away.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday Blog and Anni's Blog.