There was patchy rain around at early doors. When at 0630 the three of us arrived from our respective but different journeys, Andy said he drove through a few showers, Bryan experienced the same, but my journey had been rain free. At Oakenclough all was dry and bright with just a slight breeze for another ringing session.
It’s fair to say the morning was slow but steady with 23 birds caught. More Willow Warblers, another Tree Pipit and a good show of Goldfinches. Total - 8 Goldfinch, 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 House Sparrow, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Wren.
The House Sparrow was a real rarity, the first one ever caught here at 700ft above sea level.
We kicked off with 2 new Coal Tits, a species usually greatly outnumbered in birding and ringing references and reports by its more abundant cousin the Blue Tit. But up here at Oakenclough the Blue Tit doesn’t have it all to itself. Since 2014 we have 365 captures of Coal Tit compared to 489 captures of Blue Tit, a ratio that many ringers would prefer.
The Treecreeper capture was rather unusual. As we checked birds at the feeder of the nearby house we noticed a Treecreeper sat immobile on a window sill. Because it wasn’t moving we wondered if it had stunned itself against the window glass, a not unknown phenomenon for all sorts of birds. Andy went to investigate and the bird allowed itself to be picked up. We put the Treecreeper in a bird bag and hung the bag in a warm car for twenty minutes or so before taking a look inside. The bird was full of beans, seemingly none the worse for its attempt to fly through glass so we ringed and processed it as normal and then watched it fly off to the top of the nearest tree.
While we caught one Tree Pipit, at least 5 others escaped our attempts to catch them. The one caught was a juvenile/first summer.
Five more Willow Warblers gave us 70 captures of this species here from April to date.
Other birds seen - 15 Chaffinch, 8 Swallow, 5 Grey Wagtail, 2 Greenfinch, 4 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Kestrel.
We received news of a Lesser Redpoll ringed here on 28 October 2019, an adult male ring number AKE3853. This same bird was recaptured by other ringers at the RSPB Reserve Geltsdale, Cumbria on 3 August 2020.
This was possibly a Lakeland bird that by October was on its way south, only to return to Cumbria in 2020.
Lesser Redpoll - Oakenclough and Geltsdale, Cumbria