Tweedler

I have a few wintering bird surveys to complete over the coming months, and I completed my first visit to a site in northwest Lancashire yesterday. The weather was a bit 'hit and miss' at first, with a few blustery showers, but as the morning progressed the weather improved. 

At first light I was stood adjacent to a large hedge over-looking some rough grassland and scrub. A few Redwings exited the scrub at first light, heading out to forage for the day, and four Snipe dropped in, with their feeding rhythms at odds to the Redwings. The Snipe will have been dropping into the site to roost, after feeding somewhere suitable overnight. A Chiffchaff called from the hedge behind me; a late migrant or an over-wintering bird? 

I recorded little else of interest other than perhaps a couple of Song Thrushes and singles of Siskin and Mistle Thrush, all utilising the scrub.

The second part of my survey was in some more open landscape, so a Great Spotted Woodpecker 'bouncing' along was a surprise. But the best bird of the morning was the Tweedler. Tweedler is an old Lancashire name for Merlin, but none of the sources that referenced the name could explain why the Merlin was known as Tweedler in Lancashire. I picked up the female Merlin on the ground in a field, an odd place for a Merlin, but I can only assume that she had been on prey. She was busy preening away and was there for a good twenty minutes before being flushed by a Carrion Crow. Later when carrying out some observations from my car, I saw her head south, over some woodland and away out of sight. So, a quiet morning, but all the brighter for the Tweedler.
 
A young female Tweedler from a nest site in an upland area of Lancashire

Over on the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of October. Only one new species for the year was ringed in October and that was Fieldfare, and to be precise we ringed three of them. Below you will find the top four species ringed during October, and the top ten 'movers and shakers' for the year.

Top 4 Ringed During October

1. Redwing - 80
2. Greenfinch - 53
3. Long-tailed Tit - 14
4. Goldfinch - 11

Top 10 Movers and Shakers

1. Linnet - 128 (same position)
2. Meadow Pipit - 116 (same position)
3. Greenfinch - 107 (up from 9th)
4. Willow Warbler - 93 (down from 3rd)
5. Redwing - 88 (straight in)
6. Blue Tit - 87 (down from 4th)
7. Pied Flycatcher - 73 (down from 5th)
8. Great Tit - 70 (down from 6th)
9. Goldfinch - 65 (up from 10th)
10. Sand Martin - 63 (down from 7th)