Boomerangs

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
September means Skiathos where Sue and I join the Boomerang Club, people who return year after year to this very special Greek Island.  Don't forget - click the pics.Skiathos is the most popular of the Sporades, the group of islands east of Volos and north of Evia on mainland Greece. The island of Skiathos is actually an extension of wooded Mount Pelion 100 miles away on the mainland and the scenery reflects this. Skiathos is a green island with pine forests and abundant water with fig, olive, plum, and almond trees, as well as grapes.  SkiathosLeaving SkopelosSkiathos embraced tourism many years ago where on glistening beaches, wooded hillsides and in peaceful valleys are a number of the finest hotels in Greece. We stay in one such place that shall remain our secret.Skiathos has much to offer people of all ages and national...
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Scope Watch

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Birding situations often arise where we need greater magnification than binoculars can provide. I'm not one for humping a telescope and tripod around. I like to travel light, and very often my camera on a shoulder is second only to a pair of bins around my neck. But I always make sure there’s a telescope in the car for those occasions when birds are a long way off and maybe one or two require special attention and a more detailed appraisal. A telescope can be an expensive piece of kit but is probably essential for someone looking to expand their birding into new territory. Here’s a round-up of some of the best scopes on offer at the moment, so if you’re in the market for greater magnification, check them out. I have not included prices as these vary to some extent. I believe that the ones featured below are available on both...
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The Friday Feeling

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Thinking that Friday morning might be OK for birding wasn't a great decision. The broken rainbow that fell from black clouds above made a pretty good pointer to the never ending showers that followed. It was windy too, much more than the Granada forecast and the whole morning felt like September had well and truly arrived. A Cockerham rainbow It was two weeks since I last visited Conder Green (25th August) so I headed there first. I'm not sure where the wagtails had roosted overnight but the first stop for many of them was Conder Pool where I counted a remarkable 80+ Pied Wagtails and 2 Grey Wagtails along the far bank. The wagtails were so far away that I'm pretty sure more were hidden out of sight over the bank and behind the pool. This last week saw a push of Swallows headed south and it was noticeable today how few were ...
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Purple Patch

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I was unavailable for Tuesday’s ringing session when Andy ringed another 35 birds at Oakenclough. He caught the first Siskins and Lesser Redpolls of the autumn and another couple of Tree Pipits but then excelled by catching an adult Spotted Flycatcher, the first full-grown “spot-fly” for a number of years. Not to be outdone I met up with Andy for another 0630 start on Wednesday. Oakenclough’s recent purple patch continued with 42 more captures of 12 species. There was an exciting morning of birding too, topped off by an adult Hobby about 11 am. We caught steadily from the off as finches provided the numbers while “others” provided the “star” birds: 14 Goldfinch, 9 Chaffinch, 4 Great Tit, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Siskin, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Blue Tit, 1 ...
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No Two Days Alike

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Most bird ringers will agree that going to the same place on consecutive days may not be a good idea. That’s probably true for sites where the majority of birds are likely to be from a small local area but does not apply where a site attracts migratory birds, ones that are likely to be different individuals each day. And the theory definitely doesn't hold water in migrant hot-spots like coastal bird observatories where both ringing and observations on consecutive days is an absolute must to record day to day variations. I guess our site up at Oakenclough is a mixture of the above. For sure there are local birds but located as it is on the edge of the Pennines and with a clear view down to the coast just 12 miles away, there can be a large element of migration at certain times of the year. Andy and I had already been twice this w...
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No Two Days Alike

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Most bird ringers will agree that going to the same place on consecutive days may not be a good idea. That’s probably true for sites where the majority of birds are likely to be from a small local area but does not apply where a site attracts migratory birds, ones that are likely to be different individuals each day. And the theory definitely doesn't hold water in migrant hot-spots like coastal bird observatories where both ringing and observations on consecutive days is an absolute must to record day to day variations. I guess our site up at Oakenclough is a mixture of the above. For sure there are local birds but located as it is on the edge of the Pennines and with a clear view down to the coast just 12 miles away, there can be a large element of migration at certain times of the year. Andy and I had already been twice this w...
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Back For More

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The forecast of little cloud and a 4 mph wind for Thursday looked so stable that we actually confirmed our arrangement for Oakenclough on Wednesday afternoon. This is a most unusual occurrence that more often than not involves a detailed discussion around whether a ringing session is even possible in our normally unsettled weather. I met Andy and Bryan for the 0630 start to a perfect morning of zero wind with just a little cloud together with a hint of sun peeking around the corner. Birds were on the move from the off and the morning proved productive for both ringing and birding. Goldfinches dominated the catch but we also bagged a few warblers and more Tree Pipits to add to those of Tuesday. Today’s catch comprised 52 birds of 10 species; in numerical order - 20 Goldfinch, 8 Chaffinch, 6 Goldcrest, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Tre...
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Gamekeeper Shoots Short-eared Owls

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
There's nothing much to add to the video below. Watch and see if your blood boils.  For this outrageous and despicable crime the derisory “punishment” handed out by the court is equally outrageous. The perpetrator Tim Cowin was fined £400 for killing each owl and £200 for possessing a calling device, which was forfeited by the court. He was ordered to pay £170 costs and a £40 victim surcharge. A total of £1,210.This kind of cruelty and disregard for our wildlife will continue until proper sentences are imposed and landowners become liable for crimes committed on their land.   Read more at:http://ww2.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/investigations/archive/2018/08/28/short-eared-owl-shooting-a-tale-of-the-unexpected.aspxBack soon with more pleasing news....

Slowly Does It

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
This ringing lark gets more difficult to predict. After the rain and wind of Sunday and Monday we felt sure that a fine start to Tuesday might produce an influx of birds to our site at Oakenclough. I met up with Andy at 0630 and then we waited, and waited. It was a good thing that the feeders were well topped up because that is where we realised the majority of our 20 birds, mostly finches: 14 Goldfinch, 3 Chaffinch, 1 Blackcap, 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Goldrest. Of the 14 Goldfinch, 11 were birds of the year in varying stages of post-juvenile moult. An adult female had a clear and well-defined brood patch suggestive of current or very recent breeding this late in August. Such determined productivity and willingness to adopt the suburban garden defines the outstanding success of this now abundant species. Goldfinch In the ...
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Going Nowhere

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The breeze was just too strong for a ringing session. Even at 10 mph we are blown off course at Oakenclough.  I set off instead for a spot of birding in what would prove to be a quite productive and eventful morning. At Lane Ends Pilling I was early enough to see the Little Egrets depart their island roost. The site is now so overgrown that it’s impossible to see the egrets from any direction, the only option being to count them in at dusk or count them out at dawn.  In the morning they signal their imminent departure by their barking calls after which they fly in ones, twos and threes from the trees to the marsh below. I counted 28 heading out and landing on the marsh before they gradually scattered in all directions to later spend their day in Morecambe Bay. Little Egret There was a flight of Greylag Geese off ...
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