Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Barn Owls

Yesterday evening Huw and I headed to a local farm to ring a late brood of Barn Owls. The nest site was in the bottom of a large grain bin/store, which was a first for me! The two chicks were quite well grown with just a little down remaining and not far from flying. These were in fact the first Barn Owls ringed this year for the group, so that was good. Below are a few pics of one of the chicks.



Monday, 15 September 2014

Not A Mega Mipit Morning

Another morning at the Obs and this time without mist nets. I had full cloud cover with a 5 - 10 mph northeasterly wind. The vis was completely different to Saturday morning both in terms of numbers and direction of movement.

There were far less birds on the move and the direction of movement varied. On Saturday everything was moving south but this morning some birds were moving north in to the wind and others were coming in off the sea and heading east! My vis totals (without directions of movement) were 51 Meadow Pipits, one Reed Bunting, seven Grey Wagtails, 17 Alba Wagtails, one Goldfinch, one Greenfinch, one Skylark, one Snipe, and 13 Golden Plovers.

Grounded migrants were thin on the ground with just 14 Robins, five Wheatears and a Willow Warbler. I had a brief look on the sea and just recorded six Black-tailed Godwits north, six Sandwich Terns south and two Cormorants.

 Wheatear

I've got some Barn Owls to check this evening, and hopefully to ring, and I'll let you know how I get on later.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Mega Mipit Morning

After a couple of evenings drinking in probably the best Pub in Britain and drinking probably the best beer in Britain (check out the Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket, home of Hesket Newmarket brewery) it was quite refreshing to get up at 5.00 a.m. to go ringing! I headed to the Obs and was greeted with full cloud cover and a 5 - 10 mph ESE wind.

It seemed quiet at first, but eventually birds got on the move and the vis was quite interesting. I had twelve Grey Wagtails, 609 Meadow Pipits, three Alba Wags, four Reed Buntings, 13 Goldfinches, five Greenfinches, three Skylarks and a Tree Pipit all heading south.

With such a good passage of Meadow Pipits I did manage to ring a few and in total I ringed 31 birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):

Blackcap - 1
Robin - 1
Meadow Pipit - 22
Reed Bunting - 2
Dunnock - 1
Great Tit - 2 (1)
Willow Warbler - 1
Woodpigeon - 1
Blackbird - (1)

 Robin

 Reed Bunting

In addition to the Blackcap (female) and Willow Warbler ringed the only other obvious grounded migrant was a male Blackcap, unless the male Great Spotted Woodpecker with a ring on was a migrant. I think probably it was a local bird that we have ringed at the Obs in the past, though I do have to say that there is very little 'Great Spot' habitat in the Obs recording area. Raptors were thin on the ground except for two Kestrels

The wind is forecast to be northeasterly in the morning and possibly into double figures in terms of wind speed, so it will be a morning birding rather than ringing and birding for me tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

First Pinkies

Under full cloud cover with a stronger than forecast southeasterly I had a ringing session at the Obs this morning. As my blog title suggests I had my first Pink-footed Geese of the autumn when 110 arrived from the north, attempted unsuccessfully to land on the farm fields and headed off northeast.

 The first Pinkies heading northeast.

This would be the highlight of a relatively short and quiet morning. A quick call to Ian who was further up the peninsula and looking on the sea confirmed my suspicions; blocking murk in the bay! On 'vis' I just had three Alba Wags, nine Meadow Pipits, a Chaffinch, 24 Goldfinches and four Grey Wagtails.

Grounded migrants were represented by six Robins and the only raptor I had was an immature male Sparrowhawk. I ringed eight birds as follows:

Robin - 4
Meadow Pipit - 2
Goldfinch - 1
Greenfinch - 1

 Robin

 Greenfinch

There will be a few days of radio silence from me as I head north to celebrate my first half century (I can't believe I'm that old!) at one of my favourite pubs with attached brewery, brewing some of my favourite beer!

End of August Ringing Totals

Over on the right I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of August. Even though we ringed a respectable 641 birds during the month we are still 982 down on where we were last year! Two new species for the year were ringed this month in the form of a single Magpie and Collared Dove, and below are the top five for the month and the top ten 'movers and shakers' for the year.

Top Five Ringed August

1. Swallow - 441
2. Reed Warbler - 52
3. Sedge Warbler - 29
4. Wren - 15
    Blue Tit - 15

Top Ten 'Movers and Shakers' for the Year

1. Swallow - 607 (same position)
2. Reed Warbler - 142 (same position)
3. Blue Tit - 961 (same position)
4. Sedge Warbler - 82 (up from 5th)
5. Great Tit - 76 (down from 4th)
6. Whitethroat - 59 (same position)
7. Goldfinch - 47 (same position)
8. Wren - 45 (up from 10th)
9. Blackcap - 44 (down from 8th)
10. Chiffchaff - 40 (down from 9th)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Cool Northwesterly

I had a stagger round the Obs yesterday morning not expecting much due to the wind direction and my expectations were realised! I had virtual clear skies with a 10-15 mph NW wind and it was cool.

There was a little 'vis' in the form of two Golden Plovers, a Collared Dove, three Alba Wags, a Reed Bunting, three Grey Wagtails, ten Meadow Pipits and a Tree Pipit.

 Meadow Pipit

Apart from a single Goldcrest the only grounded birds I had were seven Wheatears. Raptors were similarly thin on the ground and the only raptor flag was flown by two Sparrowhawks, that could well have been migrants based on their behaviour.

 Wheatear

The forecast is looking okay for ringing tomorrow at the Obs so I'll give it a whirl.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The End?

Last night Huw, Ian and I might have had the final session at the Swallow roost for the year, although I think it will depend on what happens over the next few days. We went to the reedbed and put the nets up and unfortunately only about ten Swallows came in to roost! As we get into September the number of Swallows moving through decreases and this of course is reflected in the numbers of birds roosting.

Poor weather reduces the number of birds roosting as it impacts negatively on the number of birds migrating and yesterday morning was wet with next to no passage of Swallows. As there has only been about a thousand birds roosting of late it only takes one day of poor weather to reduce the roost to virtually nil. If a good n umber of Swallows are on the move over the next few days it will be worth going again as the roost will build up, but if there isn't that will be it until next year.

We didn't draw a complete blank from a ringing perspective as we managed to ring a Sedge Warbler and two Swallows. Just two Teal were on the pool and two Snipes on the mud, and I imagine the Sparrowhawk that came for a hirundine supper was just as surprised as us!