Three Finches

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Our targeting of finches at Oakenclough near Garstang paid off again with three very interesting recoveries via the BTO - a Siskin, a Goldfinch and a Lesser Redpoll. A Goldfinch we ringed with letter/number Z470813 on 18th February 2016 was later recaptured by members of Grampian Ringing Group at Newburgh, Aberdeenshire on 1st March 2017, just over one year later and 381kms north of Oakenclough. We tend to think of Goldfinches as a somewhat sedentary garden bird but the species is a partial migrant throughout its extensive range in Europe and Asia, with its northern limit approximately along the line of the 60° latitude. Aberdeen is situated at the latitude of 57 degrees. This first year female had probably moved south to winter in England for 2016/207 but was returning to Scotland as early as 1st March 2017. GoldfinchG...
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Living Dangerously

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
After yesterday I just knew that Oystercatcher nest was close to the road. But why would the silly birds make their nest just 12 inches from the verge where vehicles whizz by and where just yards away large wagons and other vehicles park while the occupants stretch their legs.  Feet away on the other side of the hedgerow is Conder Pool with tons of places they might set up home. The “oyks” picked a spot where a tiny area of gravel lies next to a roadside marker post. Good luck with that - they will need it. Oystercatcher Oystercatcher nestOystercatcher nest Maybe the other pairs of Oystercatchers, at least four others around the pool, chased them away, or possibly the two pairs of Avocets? I noted that the female Common Tern is now sat on her nest on the floating pontoon, the bird just visible behind the opaque screen whi...
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Conder And How Not to Bird

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Things have sure moved on since last I was at Conder Green. There are now two pairs of Avocets breeding plus a pair of Common Terns showing all the signs. I was there this morning and somewhat surprised to see two Avocets flying from the pool to feed in the creek and to then see two pairs on the far island – six Avocets in total. The ones on the island are very distant but the two in the creeks gave a half decent chance for a picture. Early on I’d counted 170 Black-tailed Godwits, split 100/70 in favour of the creek. AvocetAvocet and Black-tailed GodwitBlack-tailed Godwit Also on the pool, a pair of Common Terns spent time and energy around the metal pontoon and fishing out towards the River Lune. I watched the male bring in small fish with which to entice the female to stay around; it looked like she was impressed. Commo...

A Menorca Mishap

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
We had a great time in Menorca. Two weeks of unadulterated sunshine and not a drop of rain. We visited most of our favourite island places and saw lots of birds. Birding highlights proved to be thousands of Common Swift delayed from heading north by days of northerly winds. Mixed in with the common we saw a few Alpine Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins. We had a morning of migrating Red-footed Falcons together with superb views of a female Montague’s Harrier. There was a disaster when on day two I damaged my Canon 400mm lens to the extent that for the rest of the holiday I had to use a bog standard 35-135mm zoom – not good for taking bird pictures. Apologies then for the lack of bird pictures but please do enjoy the extra number of photographs of sunny Menorca. Don't forget to "click the pics" to enjoy the sunshine. We saw Scop’s...
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Mad For Menorca

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
We counted. This is our fourteenth time in Menorca. And yes, it is that special. There’s very little blogging while Sue and I are away so I posted a few pictures from Menorca, both birds and photos of special places.Don’t forget – “click the pics” for a trip to sunny Menorca. Mahon, MenorcaEs Migjorn, MenorcaCoffee Time, Menorca Fornells village, MenorcaCattle Egret Turtle DoveEgyptian Vulture Wood Sandpiper and Common SandpiperMenorcan PandaHoopoe Es Grau, Menorca Black-winged Stilt Cattle Egret Greater Short-toed LarkPunta Nati- MenorcaBee-eaterAudouin's GullRed-footed Falcon Ciutadella - Menorca Serrano Jamon Hoopoe Red KiteBee-eaterMenorcan Friends More Coffee Menorca Style  Back soon with more news, views and photographs home and away on Another Bird Blog. ...
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Birding Around The Block

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
I had just a couple of hours spare to whizz around the block this morning. It proved quite productive thanks to the usual spots of Conder Green and Cockersands with both Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats much in evidence. I also saw my first Whinchat of the spring. There was a lot to see and hear at Conder Green, both in the creeks and on the pool. April and May is the peak time for the brick-red "Icelandic" Black-tailed Godwits that pass through this region,  when many hundreds of them may appear at favoured locations. For example up to 1,000 this week at the RSPB reserve of Leighton Moss some 20 miles north of here. I made do with just three godwits today. They fed in the creek below the road and sharing the spoils with 3 Little Egret, 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Teal and 12 Redshank. Black-tailed Godwit  One K...

Willows In The Wind

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Finally. After a week or and more of strong and cold northerlies the wind dropped enough for a ringing session up at Oakenclough. I met Andy at the almost unearthly hour of 0600. That may not seem early but it did mean a 0500 alarm call followed by a 35 minute road journey in the half-light of morning.  The journey included a Barn Owl hunting the road ahead of my approaching car but the owl had disappeared across the fields by the time I reached the spot. The morning began with grey skies and a bitterly cold easterly that improved but slowly to give a little sunshine about 1030. Little wonder then that visible migration was limited to a couple of Swallows and a single Whimbrel. A quiet ringing session followed with a large handful of new Willow Warblers and the last of the spring finches. Birds caught: 8 Willow Warbler plus...
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Willows In The Wind

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Finally. After a week or and more of strong and cold northerlies the wind dropped enough for a ringing session up at Oakenclough. I met Andy at the almost unearthly hour of 0600. That may not seem early but it did mean a 0500 alarm call followed by a 35 minute road journey in the half-light of morning.  The journey included a Barn Owl hunting the road ahead of my approaching car but the owl had disappeared across the fields by the time I reached the spot. The morning began with grey skies and a bitterly cold easterly that improved but slowly to give a little sunshine about 1030. Little wonder then that visible migration was limited to a couple of Swallows and a single Whimbrel. A quiet ringing session followed with a large handful of new Willow Warblers and the last of the spring finches. Birds caught: 8 Willow Warbler plus...
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Hot-Spot Cold-Spot

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The still northerly breeze meant no ringing but the early morning sun dictated a birding trip to the customary hot-spots, starting at Conder Green. On Saturday four Avocets fed together but today it was back to perhaps an earlier pair, probably the two that arrived a couple of weeks ago. Following a good few days of sunnier if not necessarily warm weather the female is now sat on a nest. Meanwhile the two second year Avocets that spent a few hours here on Saturday morning seemed to have gone and were merely passing through on their way north and/or east. Avocets don’t normally breed until their third year whereby second year birds make up the numbers in the colonies that Avocets sometimes, but not always choose to breed. Conder Green is large enough for several pairs of Avocets but that is not necessarily a good thing as the s...
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Good Morning

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
The morning started in fine style. Not a cloud in the sky and a promise of sun all day. There was no ringing today so I set off birding camera at the ready as mist began to clear from the ditches and dykes. Pilling morning, LancashireAll was quiet at Conder Green save for the usual display flights of the Oystercatchers and the resident Shelducks still sorting out their pairs. I looked across at the far bank hoping to see the elusive Avocets but instead of the expected two I saw four. There seemed little aggression between the four with as they all fed together until at one point two flew across to a closer island. After a few minutes the pair flew back to join the others on the far side of the pool and I turned my attention to what else might be lurking unseen.  It was cold and just 3°C at 0730 and visible migration seemed nil a...
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