You Couldn’t Make It Up

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I was out yesterday looking for more eastern sprites, but it wasn't to be, in fact it was very quiet both in terms of vis and grounded migrants. I had seven oktas cloud cover with a 10 mph northwesterly wind. I'm blaming the northwesterly wind.I visited the cemetery first as it is closest to home and I didn't have a single grounded migrant and just the odd Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch over was the only vis.The coastal park was a little better as there was some grounded migrants in the form of five Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff, four Coal Tits and a Song Thrush that dropped in. Vis was similar to the cemetery with a handful of Chaffinches and three Grey Wagtails west.Last night the forecast for this morning looked good for some ringing locally, and it was forecast for some rain at my Cheshire wintering bird survey site, so I decided to go ...

You Couldn’t Make It Up

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I was out yesterday looking for more eastern sprites, but it wasn't to be, in fact it was very quiet both in terms of vis and grounded migrants. I had seven oktas cloud cover with a 10 mph northwesterly wind. I'm blaming the northwesterly wind.I visited the cemetery first as it is closest to home and I didn't have a single grounded migrant and just the odd Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch over was the only vis.The coastal park was a little better as there was some grounded migrants in the form of five Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff, four Coal Tits and a Song Thrush that dropped in. Vis was similar to the cemetery with a handful of Chaffinches and three Grey Wagtails west.Last night the forecast for this morning looked good for some ringing locally, and it was forecast for some rain at my Cheshire wintering bird survey site, so I decided to go ...

Rare As Hen’s Teeth

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
As predicted, a weekend of Storm Callum made for several grey, wet and windy days and left no chance of a ringing session. During this time it seemed unlikely that many of our target birds had made it south to Lancashire through such unfavourable weather systems, despite good numbers of Redwings, Bramblings and Fieldfares in the Northern Isles of Scotland, some 6/700 miles away.  Sunday afternoon was bright and sunny to further heighten expectations for Monday morning, already pencilled in as the first “probable” day for a rush of birds from the North. At 0630 I met Andy at our regular ringing site near Oakenclough, a hamlet that lies on the very edge of the Pennine Hills. Before today at this site we’d handled over 620 birds for the year but with luck September and October see a major arrival of many birds into the UK – ...

X marks the spot

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Another 4 hour stint from dawn at Hesketh Golf Course this morning. Again, really enjoyable despite not really seeing much quality. Highlight was easily a party of 4 Crossbill that flew over reasonably low giving their distinctive call. They were heading east and came through at about 11.15am and provided a welcome reward for the effort. Other scarcer birds for the site included Blackcap, 6 Siskin, 8 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Coal Tit including 1 doing a very good Yellow-browed call impression, 2 Swallow, Redwing and 8 Cattle Egret on Rimmers. I drove past the queue for the Bearded Tits and had a look over Crossens Outer. The 2 Barnacles were still feeding at the back of the short stuff – Barnacles seem to like that area as I’ve seen them there previously. Also plenty of Lapwing, Ruff, Golden Plover and a few GBB Gulls slowly d...
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I’D SOONER BE BIRDING!

Posted on - In Birds2blog
I spotted a moth to photograph in the garden in the week, which at least gave me a little material to give the breath of life to Birds2blog until I get the green flag for birding again. It was The Vapourer, a caterpillar of which I had photographed in the garden a couple of years ago. Only the male has functional wings, the female rarely moves from her cocoon, and usually lays her eggs on the cocoon itself.The caterpillar is easy to recognise with red spots on it's hairy body, four cream 'shaving brushes' and assorted hairy 'horns'.--------------------------------------------------The Great Escape.Thanks to Lynn Woodruff I was released from my housebound prison for the first time since the incident of 2 September, and was escorted along with KT on a walk along the Stone Jetty at Morecambe where I was rewarded with an Oct...

Eastern Sprite

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Ian's garden is an important component of the Obs recording area, as it is directly on the coast, and the habitat in his and neighbouring gardens are very attractive to migrants. The garden is one of the sites where we trap migrants for ringing and good numbers of Lesser Redpoll, for example, are ringed every Spring in the garden.I didn't set my alarm this morning as the forecast was poor and I'm ashamed to say that a phone call from Ian got me out of bed. He phoned me to say that even though it was wet, even very wet at times, there were migrants around as he had just had six Blackbirds and a Song Thrush 'drop in' to his garden!I got up and dressed, and decided I would go out if and when the rain eased. I then received another phone call from Ian saying that he had just caught a Yellow-browed Warbler in his garden, and did I want to come u...
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Beardie birdies

Posted on - In Wading through Wigeon
Despite the forecast torrential rain, I headed out at dawn and spent about 3 hours on a deserted Hesketh Golf Course looking for migrants. The only other person I saw was the Greenkeeper and he was wisely in a golf buggy. Still the bushes had plenty of birds in them with some nice tit flocks to go through. Highlight was a latish Spotted Flycatcher and I manged a poor record shot of it as it loop the looped in search of flies. Other birds included a pair of Coal Tit (patch year tick), 20+ Goldcrest, 30+ Long-tailed Tit, a late Swallow through, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Chiffchaff and plenty of Great and Blue Tits. No hoped for Yellow-browed, but felt like there should be one. After 3 trips round the course, I gave up and headed to the Sandplant where a Bearded Tit had been seen yesterday morning. As I pulled on my sodden waterproofs and ...
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Landlocked

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
As I write, it is blowing a southerly gale outside, and it is forecast to start raining soon and carry on for most of the night and tomorrow! Earlier in the week in sunnier and warmer times I had two site visits to undertake; one in southwest Lancs and the other in Cheshire. Without a doubt, both of them well and truly landlocked!My southwest Lancs site visit was on Tuesday and it was a gloriously sunny morning as I wandered around some intensive agricultural fields. I wasn't completing a bird survey, but I was outdoors and that was all that mattered. Skylarks were a feature of the morning and these 'blithe Spirits' would make another appearance later in the week. I had eighteen head south during my short walk, and three Tree Sparrows calling noisily as they went by were good to see.It seemed odd in these beautifully warm conditions to have...
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Reed Bed Ringing Update

Posted on - In North Lancs Ringing Group
In a spell of  windy days it was great to have a calm morning on Wednesday this week allowing a visit to the best site for catching Bearded Tits. We were not disappointed, for we caught this years record catch  of 14 of which 11 were new birds all probably this years young. One of the retraps was an adult which we had not recorded this year, bringing our totals to 16 adult males and 10 adult females and 26 young birds. We normally add more adults to the totals this time of year from grit tray sightings of our colour ringed birds.The other major catch was 18 Reed Buntings all new birds. It appears to have been a good year for this species for we have ringed 154 this year so far, compared to just 58  last year. We caught surprisingly few tits just one Blue Tit, one Great Tit and three  Coal Tits. Flocks normally move into ...