No Two Days Are The Same

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
The past few days have been rather chilly here in Lancashire, as it has been throughout the rest of the UK. My Canadian family and friends would say "you call that cold"? And I suppose they're right, our cold snaps thankfully don't last too long.Having said that it was still cold when I was out surveying on Monday, in fact I had clear skies and it was very frosty. There were a few birds on the short stretch of inter-tidal mud flats that I had to survey, and on the associated fields. Waders included 238 Curlews, 155 Lapwings, 28 Redshanks, three Snipe and eight Golden Plovers. There was less variety among the wildfowl and I recorded 118 Teal, nine Shelducks and five Mallards.Little Egrets were ever-present, but I only had two, the same as the number of Grey Herons that I recorded. A brief bit of pandemonium set  in amongst the waders an...

Cake, But No Hawfinch

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning I dropped Gail off at a cake decorating workshop at the National Trust property Sizergh Castle in south Cumbria. Gail went Christmas cake decorating and I took myself off for a walk for a few hours. By the way Gail's cake looked fantastic and you can see a picture of it below. I can't wait to get stuck in to it with a bit of tangy cheese! Gail's professionally decorated cake; very proud of her!It was a glorious crisp, frosty morning with clear skies. The views on my walk were superb with vistas out to the Howgills, Lakes and Morecambe Bay. Shortly after commencing my walk I walked through two large fields of unimproved grassland that were carpeted with ant hills, and sadly as you might expect they were an oasis in a Ryegrass desert! I made a note to myself to return in the summer and have a look at the profusion of wi...

Stormcock

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I was undertaking a winter bird survey on some moss land in west Lancs yesterday and even though it was a cold grey day, I did quite enjoy myself.As my blog title suggests Mistle Thrushes were a feature of the morning and I recorded 6 of these large, vocal thrushes. In fact one bird was singing, defending a winter feeding territory, and their singing during inclement weather in the winter months earned them their name of Stormcock! Mistle ThrushOther Thrushes that I encountered during my survey were 36 Redwings, five Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and 67 Fieldfares. The Fieldfares and Redwings were associating with some finches feeding in a large field, and the finches included eleven Linnets, a Corn Bunting, 60 Chaffinches and a Yellowhammer. There was probably more of each species, but it was difficult to see into the field properly.There...
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Another Week Gone!

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Last weekend the weather was horrendous; cold northerly winds both days with wind driven showers all day long! I didn't venture out as I couldn't motivate myself because of the weather. And then during the week Murphy's law kicks in and the weather is rather cold, but pleasant, and my birding is all to do with work.Five sites surveyed during the week and to give you an idea of the habitats I was in it was mossland/farmland 4, estuary 0! So a clear victory to mossland/farmland sites, so that will give you an idea of the species I recorded.My week kicked off with a fairly pleasant visit to some estuarine and associated habitats on a fairly overcast day, with the ever present north-northwesterly wind. This was my fourth visit to this site and my transect goes past a pond in some improved pasture, grazed within an inch of it's life and I haven'...
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The Working Week That Was

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Most of my birding of late has been in order to keep the wolf from the door and I am in the middle of a number of wintering bird surveys. I'm not going to complain, but when it comes to weekend the weather hasn't played ball and I have struggled to get out. I think it's called sod's law, but I suppose I shouldn't complain as I am doing some birding!About a week ago I was surveying inland at a farmland site, and it was fairly mundane, but as I am fond of saying there is always something to look at. On this particular morning there did seem to be good numbers of thrushes along the hedgerows and I counted 25 Blackbirds, 96 Fieldfares, two Redwings and two Song Thrushes.Raptors were represented by a male and female Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard being mobbed by two Carrion Crows. Grey Wagtail and Siskin put in a appearance, as did six Tree Sparrows,...

Waggies

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
This afternoon Ian and I headed to the reedbeds to try and ring some roosting Pied Wagtails. We had full cloud cover and 10 mph north-northwesterly wind. Whilst waiting for Ian to arrive I had a quick look on one of the pools and there was an impressive 59 Coots and the now ubiquitous calling Cetti's Warbler.A couple of Goldcrests called from some willows adjacent to the reedbed and a female Sparrowhawk coasted across the pool. Another raptor made an appearance in the form of a Buzzard mobbed by Corvids heading towards the river.Before the Pied Wags came in to roost we ringed a few Greenfinches that were on their way to roost in the water treatment works, and at least 30 or so showed some interest in the MP3 player. It was difficult to estimate the numbers of Wagtails roosting, but there must have been at least 180. GreenfinchWe ringed...
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October’s Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of October. To date we have ringed 2,378 birds of 54 species. New additions for the year in October were Sparrowhawk, Fieldfare, Redwing and Mistle Thrush.Below you will find the 'Top 5' ringed in October and the 'Top 10 Movers and Shakers' for the year.Top 5 Ringed in October1. Goldfinch - 622. Redwing - 543. Goldcrest - 504. Pied Wagtail - 455. Blue Tit - 32Top 10 Movers and Shakers1. Goldfinch - 264 (up from 2nd)2. Linnet - 241 (down from 1st)3. Blue Tit - 166 (up from 4th)4. Swallow - 145 (down from 3rd)5. Lesser Redpoll - 139 (up from 6th)6. Goldcrest - 128 (up from 8th)7. Meadow Pipit - 124 (down from 5th)8. Great Tit - 96 (up from 10th)9. Reed Warbler - 92 (down from 7th)10. Chaffinch - 80 (straight in)...

More Thrushes

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
This is just a quick post to report on yesterday's ringing activities at the Obs. Ian and me were back in the reedbeds at first light with full cloud cover and 5 - 10 mph northerly wind.Other than the ringing details I have recorded very little in my notebook. There was a good movement of Pink-footed Geese and several skeins were leaving their estuarine roost, and as a couple of days ago others were arriving from the north.There was probably 70 grounded Redwings and 15 - 20 Fieldfares, and they featured prominently in the ringing totals for the morning. We ringed 28 birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):Fieldfare - 2Wren - 1Redwing - 13Reed Bunting - 8Greenfinch - 4 Fieldfare RedwingIt's looking more of a seawatching kind of day tomorrow, with the possibility of some thrushes Sunday morning....
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Some Ringing At Last

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning at the Obs I headed to one of the reedbeds just before first light to do my first ringing since September! In fact it was the first morning that I had seen a frost this autumn, but it wasn't that heavy, just a light and brief dusting. Skies were clear and it was calm, something that it hasn't been for some time!Being a birder of a certain age I still have to pinch myself every time I hear a Cetti's Warbler, and I hear them an awful lot now, and this morning was a classic example, a Cetti's calling from a frosty reedbed in Lancashire!There was quite a few Pink-footed Geese moving around this morning in all directions, some obvious arrivals from the north and other birds moving from their roost site to feeding areas. The 5-600 logged in my notebook is probably a gross under estimate, but I was quite busy ringing this morning...
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Big Skies

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I was surveying on some deepest, darkest mossland this morning and it was the first morning that you could say that it was actually cold. When I arrived at my survey site there was a ground mist and lateral visibility wasn't brilliant to say the least, but vertically it was crystal clear which meant birds were still on the move. That orange ball soon cleared all the low lying mistThe mosslands aren't everybody's cup of tea as in Lancashire they are usually used for intensive agriculture, mainly field salad and veg, and where I was today was no exception. However, it is the big skies that lend these areas some wildness. I also like the habitat islands that you find. When I say habitat island it could be a group of Birch trees for example surviving along a track, and they are indeed islands in their position and richness within the surro...
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