First Redwings

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Tuesday 10th October. There was a chance of Redwings this morning after a good number were seen in the UK in the last few days, mainly on the east coast. I’d seen a handful of Redwings over the house early on Monday so hoped that Tuesday might be suitable for ringing up at Oakenclough with an opportunity to catch our first Redwings of the autumn. The forecast of an early 15 mph wind, cloud and showers was rather marginal but after some deliberation we decided to go for it on the basis that on a westerly the nets are fairly sheltered, and also on the expectation this might be the only suitable day of the week. I met up with Andy at 0645 when it was still quite dark and very soon after dawn we caught the first couple of Redwings and then a few more as the morning continued. We finished at 11.30 with a good mix of 12 species and 51 bir...
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Out For The Count

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Sunday morning and there was time for a gentle run around the block before rain arrived about 10 o’clock. I was early enough to check Lane Ends where Little Egrets were beginning to leave their tree roost. Second one out was a Great White Egret, followed by 32 Little Egrets and then four or more Little Egrets still sat in the trees when I left 20 minutes later. Scattered across the marsh was a count of several thousand Pink-footed Goose, perhaps up to 9/10,000 and 29 Whooper Swans. Also, two male Sparrowhawks flew in and out of the trees in a rather strange way and I got the impression that they were not adversaries but perhaps siblings of the family that bred here this year. Just up the road at Gulf Lane I dropped seed at the Linnet project. There have been 100+ Linnets for a couple of weeks now but we’ve not been able to r...
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Into The Moonlight

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
At last, a morning without a howling wind and rain with a chance to do some ringing. I met Andy at Oakenclough at 0645, just before dawn in the light of a full moon. Full MoonNets were up in double quick time in readiness for whatever arrived on site. After more than a week of poor weather where little migration took place we hoped for an interesting and productive morning. As predicted there was a light wind and sun from the off. After 5 hours we were pleased enough with our steady but unspectaular catch of 35 new birds and five recaptures making up the total of 41 birds. Lesser Redpoll topped the score sheet for the first time ever here with finches outnumbered by tits, although our five recaptures were Blue, Great and Coal Tit from recent times. Totals caught: 9 Lesser Redpoll, 9 Great Tit, 6 Coal Tit, 5 Blue Tit, 5 Gol...
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This And That – Sunday October 1st

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
A run around the block on Saturday before the rains came didn’t produce too much in the way of birds. Sunday and it's still raining. I checked out the Linnet flock at Gulf Lane in the hope of a ringing session soon but a glance at the weather for the coming week doesn’t hold out much hope. While I was away in Greece Andy added another 25 Linnets and a handful of Goldfinch to the totals. Looking today most of the Goldfinch seemed to have moved on with the flock of 100+ birds almost exclusively Linnet. October is the peak migration time for Linnets so we expect the flock to increase again soon and also that those birds will include Linnets from further afield. Of course in Greece I’d missed the mid-September first arrivals of Pink-footed Geese to Lancashire but rather made up for it with many skeins flying off the marsh and o...

Home From Skiathos

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Sue and I are back from Greece and as usual, up to our ears in catch-up with friends and family. Until I get up and running with birding I put together a few pictures of the last two weeks in Skiathos. Please "click the pics" for better views. Two weeks of late September wall-to-wall sunshine, temperatures in the thirties and not a cloud in the deep blue Skiathos sky. I found myself feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the almost total lack of birdlife during what should be a period of peak migration. Yes, we saw House Sparrows, Collared Doves, swallows, and hundreds of the ubiquitous Hooded Crow and Yellow-legged Gull but had to search hard to find the limited number of migrants hiding from the burning midday sun. Nr Ligaries, SkiathosAgia Paraskevi, SkiathosThe Bourtzi, Skiathos TownThe Bourtzi, Skiathos TownSkiathos TownThe ferry...
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Home from Home

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Sorry there’s no recent news. Sue and I are in Skiathos, Greece for a few days. Back soon but in the meantime there are pictures from recent years in Skiathos. Enjoy, and don’t forget to “click the pics” of Skiathos and its birds.  Skiathos - centre rightRed-backed Shrike Hooded Crow Hoopoe Yellow WagtailSkiathos TownSkiathos TownSkiathos TownKechriaIsabelline Wheatear Whinchat Little EgretYellow Wagtail To The Beach Alonisos -Skiathos Skiathos - Kastro Skiathos Woodchat Shrike Eleonora's Falcon Red-backed Shrike European ShagKoziakis - Skiathos TownView towards Skiathos TownLet's finish with a video of Skiathos. It features the headland of Kastro where the Eleonora's Falcons spend the summer months . Enjoy.    Back soon. ...
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A Smelly Old Business

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
How do birds navigate over long distances? This complex question has been the subject of debate and controversy among scientists for decades, with Earth's magnetic field and the birds’ own sense of smell among the factors said to play a part.It’s a subject discussed previously on Another Bird Blog but here's an interesting update by way of scientific experiments on an island I know very well.In new investigations researchers closely followed the movements and behaviour of 32 Scopoli's Shearwaters Calonectris diomedea off the coast of Menorca. Scopoli's Shearwaters breed across the Mediterranean on Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera, Cabrera, Conillera and Dragonera. The majority of the population of Scopoli's Shearwater spend the non-breeding season in the Atlantic, including areas off the west coast of Africa and east coast of Brazil. Th...

Change Of Plan

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The forecast for Wednesday was decidedly “dodgy” but with it being the best for several days ahead, we decided to chance a ringing session up at Barnacre. The problem was when I got up at 0530 and looked out of the window the trees were wafting around so I sent Andy a text and said I’d go birding instead. I was early so stopped at Pilling Lane Ends to count the Little Egrets at the roost. Thirty-five was my total but I suspect many were hidden from view in this so called “amenity area” that is now just a neglected wilderness. At Braides Farm - 80+ Curlews and a roosting Buzzard. At Conder green Once again Lapwings proved the most numerous bird with at least 240 scattered around the site, on the island, the grassland and in the tidal creeks. Other waders were few and far between with just handfuls of Curlew, Redshan...
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Some You Win

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The weatherman kindly told us that Thursday 31st August was the Meteorological End of Summer. I tried to recall more than a handful of summery days during of May, June, July and August that resembled summer but I quickly gave up. Friday 1st September. I took a flying visit to Conder Green where a distant Kingfisher proved the only bird of note as it dived into the now shallow water from the top of the marker post. Otherwise there was the usual fare – An increase to 17 Teal, 9 Little Grebe, 80 Lapwing, 5 Snipe, 1 Goosander and 1 Common Sandpiper. The female Tufted Duck is reduced to just three youngsters now. A few pairs of Tufted Ducks have bred on the pool for the last three years but always struggle to get more than one or two youngsters up to full size. KingfisherTufted DuckI was on the way to Gulf Lane to unload a bucket o...
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Never The Same

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The alarm clock buzzed at 0520. I was due to meet Andy and Bryan at 0630 for another ringing session near Oakenclough. The weather forecast of a 2mph wind with no rain proved to be accurate and we enjoyed an eventful morning of both ringing and birding. Three pairs of eyes and ears proved extremely useful during the usual lulls in ringing. After an initial round of Great Tits, Coal Tits, a Blue Tit and just a single Willow Warbler it seemed as if the session might be below par for this always productive site. But within an hour the species changed when visible migration began, and after five hours we had caught 51 birds of 10 species. While no two ringing sessions are ever the same it was finches top of the leader board again with yet more Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll. We had handfuls of both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff togeth...
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