Friday, 31 December 2010

Last Ringing Session of 2010

Ian and I ventured onto Rawcliffe Moss this morning to have a ringing session at the feeding station. It was absolutely flat calm with only a slight mist, even though the Met Office and other assorted forecasters had forecast it to be foggy! We put the usual 120 feet of netting up and then caught and ringed very little! We processed 15 new birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):

Redwing - 1
Tree Sparrow - 2
Chaffinch - 6
Great Tit - 1 (2)
Blackbird - 3
Starling - 1
Blue Tit - (7)
Reed Bunting - (1)
Coal Tit - (1)


 Coal Tit



Reed Bunting

As this was the last ringing session on Rawcliffe Moss at Moss House Farm for 2010 I have included the totals below for you to look at. A good 90% of these were ringed by Phil and Will during the Summer and Autumn; well done chaps! I intend to do some ad hoc ringing on my own at Moss House Farm next Spring and Summer as the site is close to work and I can call and have a couple of hours without getting caught up in any traffic, as I would if I stayed closer to home. Just occasionally it is nice to go out ringing on your own without having to make any arrangements with anyone and just go out on spec. Just as I do when I go out birding! But don't worry, I won't be neglecting the 'obs'!

Moss House Farm Ringing Totals 2010

Species                     Adult              Pulli                Total 2010     Grand Total
                                                                                                            (2003 - 2010)

Sparrowhawk            3                                              3                      6
Kestrel                                                4                      4                      4
Oystercatcher                                                                                    2         
Lapwing                                             4                      4                      6
Little Owl                                                                                            1
Woodpigeon                                                                                      1
Great Spotted            1                                              1                      5
Skylark                       1                                              1                      6
Swallow                      6                      3                      9                      55
House Martin                                                                                     11
Tree Pipit                   9                                              9                      9
Meadow Pipit            80                                            80                    102
Pied Wagtail                                                                                      2
Wren                           13                                            13                    77
Dunnock                     22                                            22                    95
Robin                          15                                            15                    96
Stonechat                                                                                           2
Wheatear                                                                                           1
Blackbird                    25                                            25                    188
Fieldfare                     41                                            41                    69
Song Thrush              6                                              6                      31
Redwing                     46                                            46                    198
Mistle Thrush 2                                                          2                      2
Sedge Warbler          24                                            24                    44
Reed warbler             3                                              3                      6
Lesser Whitethroat   2                                              2                      11
Whitethroat                89                    10                    99                    230
Garden Warbler        2                                              2                      6
Blackcap                    7                                              7                      19
Chiffchaff                    14                                            14                    16
Willow Warbler          65                    2                      67                    155
Goldcrest                   4                                              4                      14
Long-tailed Tit           23                                            23                    84
Coal Tit                       9                                              9                      22
Blue Tit                       45                    4                      49                    205
Great Tit                     27                                            27                    95
Treecreeper               3                                              3                      8
Jay                              3                                              3                      6
Magpie                                                                                               1
Starling                       13                                            13                    44
Tree Sparrow            24                    11                    35                    584
Chaffinch                    395                                         395                 1056
Brambling                  1                                              1                      28
Greenfinch                 7                                              7                      135
Goldfinch                    86                    4                      90                    126
Siskin                         5                                              5                      5
Linnet                                                                                                  19
Lesser Redpoll          20                                            20                    33
Yellowhammer           13                                            13                    61
Reed Bunting            123                                         123                 369
Corn Bunting                                                                                      7

Totals                        1277               42                    1319               4359 

There were a number of 'Pinkies' moving around this morning and my notebook reads 615, although I think there were a lot more than this. Just to the west of where we were ringing a flock of Corvids numbering 5-600 were feeding in some stubble and were flushed when a Peregrine shot over towards them. 

As we were just in one area we only recorded 5 Corn Buntings, but interestingly there were 14 Yellowhammers which is the most so far this Winter. It was diificult estimating the number of Tree Sparrows as we were busy processing birds, but 150-200 wouldn't be far off the mark. 14 Fieldfares and 6 Skylark headed south, and on my way out I had the usual Little Owl in the usual spot. I see this bird regularly but as I am driving off the site I often forget to enter it in my notebook and consequently forget to mention it here. 

I would like to wish you all a healthy and happy New Year and I hope that 2011 is full of fantastic wildlife sightings for you. Mind you it's really been New Year since the Solstice, but we choose to go by this daft Gregorian Calendar!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

From Coast to Moss

After I had been to Rossall yesterday I didn't get chance to post as I went to see the new, or should I say not so new, Harry Potter film. Having said that I didn't have a great deal to post, although I did enjoy my walk round the 'obs'.

As I walked down the track I had 4 Redwings exit the hedge. There doesn't seem to be many berries left on the Hawthorns but there must have been something that they, the 6 Blackbirds and 4 Song Thrushes were feeding on. Pink-feet were arriving in groups of 'tens' and 'hundreds' and I could see them dropping in to the east onto Fleetwood Farm. At one point something flushed them as I could see over a thousand birds climbing into the air before dropping down again.

I headed along the north hedgerow and had a Brambling go over, closely followed by a lone Grey Wagtail. Four Skylarks headed north and I wondered if these were weather displaced birds heading 'back'. On the farm fields I had 14 Lapwings which was notable and these were obviously weather displaced birds.

I headed south towards the dunes and other than a Kestrel and 2 Reed Buntings it was very quiet. On my way back to my sea watch spot I had 3 Redshanks drop in to the flooded fields.

It was murky out at sea and consequently I didn't spend too long 'scoping' the murk! Cormorants were conspicuous by their comparatively low numbers of 12 and I also had 6 male Eiders and a single 'Red-throat' south doing it's best to look like a 'Black-throat'. Or was I trying to string it into a 'Black-throat' in desperation; probably!

It was off to Rawcliffe Moss to feed at my feeding station, today, followed by a walk round. Corn Buntings were obvious this morning with several singing birds and I had 20 in total. I love the way Corn Buntings sing in the Winter; it makes me think that Spring is just round the corner!

 The above blurry image is a Corn Bunting taling off. Honestly!

At the feeding station were 21 Chaffinch, 6 Yellowhammers, 12 Blackbirds, 5 Fieldfares and 192 Tree Sparrows. I headed along the '97' hedge and up to the wild bird seed plot. In a 'rough' field corner were 2 Brambling with 5 Linnets and 6 Chaffinch. In the wild bird seed plot were just 6 Skylarks and 6 Reed Buntings.

Pink-footed Geese were moving over this morning and I had 736 in various flocks. I headed north towards the plantation and had a quick 'dive' into the L Wood which was very quiet. The plantation was equally quiet other than a few Long-tailed Tits and a flock of 20+ Chaffinch.


There's been a thaw, but the pond in the plantation is stil frozen.

That was it for today, but hopefully I will back tomorrow morning to ring at the feeding station.

Monday, 27 December 2010


That's the only way to describe the weather conditions as I trudged down the track to my feeding station on Rawcliffe Moss this morning in the pouring sleet. There seemed to be an increase in the number of Thrushes as I had 40 Fieldfares, 10 Redwings and 10 Blackbirds in the hawthorn hedge.

Flying away with the Thrushes were 6 Yellowhammers and at the feeding station I had 150 Tree Sparrows, 20 Chaffinch and single Brambling, Reed Bunting and Buzzard. Interestingly a Buzzard flew away from the feeding station. I imagine it was interested in the avian activity there and fancied chancing upon a meal!

The weather was so appalling it wasn't worth having a walk to see what else was around. I am keen to get up to the plantation to see if the hard weather has brought any Redpolls in, as there are plenty of Alder and Birch catkins up there. A nice pale frosty white Redpoll of the 'Arctic' variety would be nice, but highly unlikely! But you never know!

The forecast for tomorrow is for rain, but as always I remain optimistic, and hope to be able to get out.

Below is a picture of a Swainson's Thrush from my good mate Nigel in Canada. I'd love to find one of them one autumn! That's just reminded me my 'Sibley' is still in the boot of my car from the autumn, so I must retrieve it.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Day

I managed to get out this morning for a couple of hours and headed to my office to fill up the feeders. It isn't good for your soul going into your office on Christmas Day, but the birds needed feeding. I then headed to Rawcliffe Moss to top up my feeding station. It was still very cold and my car thermometer read minus 11 Celsius. Ouch!

 There's still plenty of snow about!

As I walked down the track towards the feeding station 15 Fieldfares and 14 Blackbirds flew along the hedge in front of me. And when I got to the feeding station I could see that all the apples had gone. At the feeding station itself were 3 Yellowhammers, 156 Tree Sparrows and 17 Chaffinch.

I headed along the '97' hedge towards the wild bird seed plot and it was quiet other than a lone Buzzard and Curlew. As expected it was quiet in the wild bird seed mix as it was covered in snow. Just 20 Chaffinch, Skylark and Dunnock were trying to find food here.

 Not much food in here

It was then back to reality and join in with the festivities. Father Christmas had delivered some early Poysers that I had been after for a while including Population Ecology of Raptors, The Natural History of Cape Clear Island, The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland, Seventy Years of Birdwatching, Flight Identification of European Raptors, watching Birds, Scarce Migrants in Britain and Ireland, Birdwatchers' Year and Wild Geese. I have been trying to complete my collection of Poysers for years. Reprints are available for all the Poyser titles, but I have been trying to make sure I have the originals and first editions where I can.

It's going to warm up over the next few days, although the increase in temperature will be accompanied by drizzle and fairly strong winds. We'll just have to wait and see and if I can get out I will.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Seasons Greetings

At this time of peace and good will to all men during the pseudo Christian/Pagan festival that we all get 'sucked' into, I was once again incensed by some of the irresponsible dog walkers on my patch at Rossall Point. As I walked on to the front this morning, the picture below is what greeted me. I have said this before, but why can't these filthy people take their dogs shite home with them?! Some poor Council worker will have to clear this and why should they?!?

Anyway, I didn't intend to start my Christmas Eve posting with a rant! So, let's rewind and start again. I went to Rossall this morning to watch the incoming tide and when I arrived at 9.00 a.m. the tide was a long way out and the muscle beds to the east were exposed. On these a number of waders fed and I could see that there were about 530 Oystercatchers and 1,050 Knot.

As I was estimating the number of Oystercatchers and Knot 30 Woodpigeon flew east and so did 2 Redwings. I expected a few more cold weather displaced passerines this morning, but these were the only ones. In addition to the Oycs on the muscle beds I had a further 164 and other waders included 22 Dunlin, 27 Turnstones, 13 Redshanks, 39 Sanderlings and 4 Grey Plovers.

As of recent weeks Cormorants still poured into the bay and this morning I had 606, which is a record count for me. It was fairly quiet on the sea and all I had were 130 Eiders, 7 male Red-breasted Mergansers, Great Crested Grebe, 8 Common Scoters, 3 Mallards and a Red-throated Diver. Walking off the 'Point' I bumped into Ian and he put me onto a nice flock of 27 Whooper Swans on the sea drifting into the bay on the incoming tide.

On the way home I stopped in a layby on Amounderness Way to look at the Pink-footed Geese feeding in the pastures of Fleetwood Farm. I had a good look through the 2,000 'Pinkies' but couldn't see anything else amongst them.

I would like to wish all my fellow birders, ringers, bloggers and readers the Seasons Greetings and if you can get out birding on Christmas Day. I know I will!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Even Colder

As I drove to Myerscough this morning to put some food out at my office feeding station it was the coldest here that it has been all winter at minus 11.5 Celsius! On the way there I had two Buzzards perched on top of consecutive telegraph poles and cursed the fact that my camera was in my boot and not next to me like my bins! I'll know next time.

This is the second day since being off from work that my birding time has been limited. I had to try again to get some presents for 'her indoors' and get back home for lunchtime for the washing machine engineer to fit the part he didn't have yesterday to the washing machine! Enough of this domestic nonsense.

I called at Rawcliffe Moss to feed the Tree Sparrows and had a brief walk round. A few Pink-footed Geese were moving around this morning and were struggling to find anywhere to feed as everything is still under a blanket of snow. At the feeding station were 8 Yellowhammers, 20 Chaffinch and 176 Tree Sparrows.

In the hawthorn hedge leading to and from the feeding station were 7 Blackbirds, 5 Redwings and 5 Fieldfares with a further 20 flying over. I had a walk along the '97' hedge, but as you would expect away from the feeding station birds were few and far between.

I didn't have any opportunities to photograph anything this morning, or should I say nothing presented itself to me! So I have included two pictures once again from my old mate Nigel. The first one is cute, a young Porcupine, and the second is a Red-tailed Hawk that looks rather a handful. I'm still a wimp Nigel!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Accipiters and Gyrs!

Eagle eyed readers of this blog, or should I say Gyr Falcon eyed readers, will have noticed that I cocked up with one of the pictures I posted yesterday. I said it was a Gos, one too many Ciders and not looking at the pictures properly (that's my excuse anyway), when in fact it is a hatch year female Gyr Falcon! Thanks Gary for pointing out my mistake!

No birding for me today after proclaiming yesterday that I was going to get out every day over the holidays! Waiting for a guy to fix the washing machine this morning and then Christmas shopping (unsuccessfully) for her indoors this afternoon meant I didn't get out. So why the title?

I was having a chat by email over the past week with some colleagues from NE and RSPB about Sparrowhawks, and then it developed into tales of birds that can give you grief in the hand! Gary sent over a cracking picture of a male Sparrowhawk and it got me thinking about what a handful Sparrowhawks can be. Nigel then sent me a picture of his mate Mike holding a hatch year female Gyr Falcon and it made me feel relieved that we only handle Sparrowhawks. Okay, I know I'm a wimp Nigel! Pictures of said Sparrowhawk and Mike and the Gyr below.

In fact whilst we are on the subject of  Accipiters I have included a shot of Coopers and Sharp-shinned Hawk below. 

Oh, and how about a Gos?!

Thanks agin for these Nigel!

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Mere Minus 9.5 Celsius!

I made a quick dash, or should I say quick slide to Rawcliffe Moss this morning to feed. The temperature on my car thermometer was a balmy minus 9.5 Celsius! Now I know that's nowhere near as cold as it has been in some parts of the UK, but for round here that's bl**dy cold!

Tree Sparrows numbered only 88 and were accompanied by 6 Blackbirds, 2 Yellowhammers, 9 Chaffinch and 2 Redwings. I finish for the Christmas hols tomorrow and I am then off work until 4th January, so I am looking forward to nearly 2 weeks of daily birding, even it is a bit cold!

Here's a bright bird from Nigel in Canada; a Northern Cardinal. I wouldn't want to be extracting one of those with cold fingers. I have had my fingers nipped by many a Cardinal, but only when it was warm.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Frozen Beach

Even though it was fit for ringing this morning in terms of wind strength, it most certainly wasn't fir in terms of temperature, and to have a ringing session at the feeding station would cause too much disturbance to the birds and prevent them from feeding when they need to be feeding all day. It's a pity those tw*ts with the guns wouldn't show some constraint, as they were popping away all morning yesterday inland and out on the marshes. Imbeciles!

I headed up to Rossall Point this morning to have a look at the sea on the incoming tide. The first thing that struck me was the snow covered beach! I don't know why it surprised me but it did. On the snowy tide line a few waders fed including 146 Oystercatchers, 66 Sanderlings, Dunlin, 25 Turnstones, 7 Ringed Plovers and 4 Redshanks.

 Rossall Point in the snow

Snow on the beach

Oycs in the snow

There was some hard weather movement this morning but in what seemed to me to be in odd directions. A number of Pink-footed Geese, well 312 to be precise, headed northwest across Morecambe Bay and 75 flew east across the bay! Later in the morning I had 24 come in off the sea and head south, which is what I might have expected.

There were a few Skylarks moving out at sea as well and I had 24 head east. Again, I would have expected them to have been heading west. The wind direction was northeasterly and it might have simply been that the birds were heading into wind.

There were a few bits and pieces on or over the sea and first up were 9 Tufted Duck that motored east. There was also 60 Eiders, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Red-throated Divers and 14 Common Scoters.

Surprisingly the Cormorants provided the greatest spectacle with there ever continuous movement north and then east into the bay. In the 2 hours that I was at the Point I had an incredible 569 go past!

Three Song Thrushes were feeding in the bramble patch behind the dunes and also as I headed back to the car park three Redwings dropped into the privet bush, stayed a short while and then headed off towards the cemetery.

It's going to stay cold all week so it will be interesting to see if we get any further weather displaced birds.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The White Stuff

I thought it was too good to be true that we had escaped for so long without snow and last night we received about 10 cm. This meant that I had to go to my feeding station on Rawcliffe Moss and clear the snow and put some seed out. I had the assistance of 'her indoors' and in addition to putting more seed out we cleared the snow off the seed I had put out yesterday.

 The view from the barn

Equipment needed for a winter feeding station; seed and 'her indoors' to 
clear the snow!

The feeding station prior to clearing

After clearing

A number of Pink-feet flew over this morning

Winter wonderland

I didn't do a count at the feeding station but there was well over 200 Tree Sparrows. I then had to 'slip and slide' my way to the office at Myerscough College and top up my office window feeding station. The feeders at the office were constantly busy with Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. It is difficult to estimate the number of individual birds but I would guess that it was more in the hundreds than the tens!

The forecast looks okay for some ringing tomorrow, but with the countryside covered in snow I don't want to 'work' the feeding station and disturb the birds as there is nowhere else for them to feed other than at the feeding station. So I'll probably head to the coast and the 'obs' in the morning and have a look there.

Friday, 17 December 2010

In The Dark

I have been in the dark both literally and metaphorically speaking this week. In the middle of the week I was away on a few days training with work at Losehill Hall in the Peak District. Losehill Hall is the National Park Centre for the Peak District and England, and unfortunately it will close soon because of cuts. That's the problem when you have Conservative w*nkers in government! Incidentally we were the last residential group to stay there so it was quite sad.

On Monday before I headed to the High Peak I called at Rawcliffe Moss to feed. It was nice to see that the Tree Sparrows had increased to 210 accompanied by 25 Chaffinch and 6 Yellowhammers. On the way off the moss the resident Little Owl was in residence opposite the small barn.

I called again on Thursday morning in the dark after I had got back from Derbyshire and put some food out. I could hear Redwings going over and the Tree Sparrows called pre-dawn from their Hawthorn hedgerow roost.

This afternoon I had a couple of hours to spare so I decided to have a walk round the Moss and feed again. As I type this it is snowing so all the food will be covered so I will have to go first thing in the morning and clear the snow and put more food out.

I headed off down the track and I had 9 Fieldfares fly from Curlew Wood followed by 20 Starlings. Blackbirds flew down the hedge and there seemed to be about 9 and I had a further 5 on my walk round. I had a single Reed Bunting at the feeding station with a further 7 in the 'top field' wild bird seed mix.

Tree Sparrow numbers have remained constant over the past few days and there were 200 at the feeding station along with only a couple of Yellowhammers. Four Redwings were also in the hedge and a Great Spotted Woodpecker lifted off one of the peanut feeders. The pictures below of the Blue Tit were taken at the feeding station.

As I headed up the '97' hedge I had a group of 15 Corn Buntings and then I had a further 9 on the top fields. A few Song Thrush moved along the 97 hedge and in all I had 7. I was interested to see if there were still Chaffinch feeding in the wild bird seed crop and there were; I counted over 150 with 11 Linnets mixed in.

I then headed towards the plantation, calling first in the L Wood, but all I had in the L Wood were a further 6 Redwings. Before I got to the plantation a Peregrine headed north. It was fairly quiet in the plantation other than a few more Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch , 8 Long-tailed Tits and a Lesser Redpoll.

In the field to the north of the plantation I had 3 Roe Deer and walking back towards the car I had 2 in the 'potatoe fields'. Other than 5 Meadow Pipits I didn't record anything else of note for the remainder of my walk.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

First Yellow Bunt of the Winter Ringed

There was a frost, but no fog, when I arrived at Rawcliffe Moss to meet Ian just before 7.30 a.m. to carry out some ringing at the feeding station. We were only going to have a short session to allow the birds plenty of time to feed. As I drove towards the barn in the dark to collect two buckets of seed a/the Little owl flew up to the top of the hawthorn hedge. On my way home I would see the Little Owl again in its regular spot of the tree opposite the small barn. A number of Redwings called in the darkness as I walked to my car with the seed.

There were a number of 'Pink-feet' moving this morning and all were heading southeast. In total we had about 6,000 and interestingly we had 30 Greylag Geese high heading north. It's difficult to know what to make of Greylags, but I imagine with this cold weather there is a chance that these birds might have been genuine weather displaced birds.

As always when ringing at the feeding station it is difficult to estimate the numbers of birds using the feeding station and I made no attempt to estimate the Tree Sparrows, so all I can say is that there were 6 Yellowhammers and a at least one Brambling!

Whilst we were processing some of the birds we had a male Merlin 'shoot' east along the track and it was my first for the site for the winter. I could see that there were a number of Skylarks, approximately 150, in the 'Big' field, but I didn't have time to check the top fields this morning.

We processed 22 new birds as follows (numbers of recaptures in brackets):

Chaffinch - 8 (2)
Yellowhammer - 1
Reed Bunting - 2
Great Tit - 1 (2)
Blue Tit - 3 (12)
Tree Sparrow - 1 (1)
Starling - 4
Blackbird - 2


Tree Sparrow
We caught a number of recaptures at the feeding station as a result of the hard weather. We usually find this is the case and it is probably birds that have learned that there is food here and return when the weather is hard.

I will be maintaining 'radio silence' for the next couple of days as I am in the Peak District in Derbyshire for two days of meetings/training, so my next post will be later in the week.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Isn't it Brilliant Working a Local Patch?

I suppose this is a rhetorical question but I hope that you all agree that it is brilliant working a local patch. Better than dashing all over the country chasing rare birds and it adds a great deal to our knowledge of certain species and this information is valuable for conservation purposes. And it's great fun!

This morning was a case in point when I went to Rossall. I hadn't been to the 'obs' for a week or so and I was itching to get there. When I arrived there was a fairly strong northwesterly wind and after I had been walking for a few minutes it seemed particularly birdless. I crossed the small field surrounded by hedges where we put up our nets and a Grey Heron flew low right and flushed a Lapwing from the field. A Lapwing! Excellent! I was so pleased with this sighting and this is the kind of excitement that local patch birding can create. Don't get me wrong I see plenty of Lapwings flying over the obs in Spring and Autumn, but this bird was on the deck and it was the first I have seen on the deck here for a long time. I was happy with this and didn't really care if I saw anything else or not, but I did.

I headed south towards the dunes and reedbed and I flushed a Woodcock from this area. So this was the second weather displaced bird I had. I was really pleased again, a product of local patch birding. I then flushed a Song Thrush from the dunes and a second from a patch of rose hips just behind the sea wall. Brilliant.

 Pictures of Woodcocks in Northumberland sent to me by Gary W. 
Thanks Gary!

I then headed north along the sea wall to take up a position to have a quick look on the sea. As I walked along a flock of 8 Linnets lifted from the short turf behind the wall. I got in position and scanned the beach and low and behold 2 more Lapwings! Other waders included 2 Sanderling, 17 Oystercatchers, 7 Redshanks, 2 Turnstones and a Grey Plover.

There were a few Cormorants moving north like last week, but nowhere near as many, just 53 this morning. I had 15 Eiders on the sea and 61 Common Scoters flew back and forth in small groups. I had 5 Red-throated Divers moving and 2 male Scaup flew south. I then headed back to the car and it was fairly quiet other than a flock of 9 Chaffinch.

I called in at the Marine Lakes and had 2 male Goldeneyes, 7 Red-breatsed Mergansers and 12 Tufted Ducks.

Tufted Ducks

I am off to see my mates band 'Entangled' tonight so it will be an evening of 70s prog rock and real ale, followed hopefully by some ringing in the morning!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Late Afternoon

It was late afternoon when I called at my feeding station on Rawcliffe Moss to feed. Skies were overcast and there was a touch of drizzle in the air, but at least it was milder. As I pulled up at the feeding station I had two Kestrels; one that flew rapidly towards Curlew Wood and another hovering over the field next to the car.

 Two Kestrels, two species; American above and ours below

As always the first thing I do is scan towards the feeding station with my bins and I could see 40 Fieldfares and 20 Starlings feeding on the ground on the apples I put out and in the case of some of the Fieldfares feeding on Hawthorn berries in the hedge. I have noticed that over the past few days when I have been out and about that Fieldfares and Redwings have been more noticeable of late. Whether these are birds displaced from the east by the cold weather I am not sure, but it is likely.


Down at the feeding station were 112 Tree Sparrows, 16 Chaffinch and a single Brambling. As I said earlier it was late afternoon so I am guessing that earlier in the day there would have been more Tree Sparrows. Walking back to my car 130 Pink-footed Geese flew over and a Brown Hare 'shot' from my feet.

No ringing tomorrow, but I will get out birding locally and I need to have a look at the 'obs'. The weather is looking better for some ringing on Sunday, so as always I will keep you posted.

A couple more 'yanks' from Nigel to end today's posting are Chipping Sparrow and male Yellow-shafted Flicker. Nice!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Still Cold, But At Least It Ain't Foggy!

Driving to work this morning it was even colder than yesterday and a cool minus 8.5 was showing on my car thermometer. It is forecast for the temperature to pick up, but only until Sunday, and then it is going cold again all next week!

As I do every other day, I went to Rawcliffe Moss to feed the Tree Sparrows this morning, and it was quite pleasant in the sun. As can be seen from the two pictures below it was nice and clear.

At the feeding station were 7 Yellowhammers, 109 Tree Sparrows and 26 Chaffinch. I had a walk up to the top field to have a look at the wild bird seed crop and there were 180 Chaffinch and 7 Reed Buntings feeding in there. I couldn't pick up any Bramblings, but that's not to say there weren't any.

Surrounding the wild bird seed plot on three sides are stubble fields and in these I had a total of 345 Skylarks, which I think is the highest number I have recorded for the site. A few Pink-footed Geese were moving around this morning and a Great Spotted Woodpecker called from Curlew Wood.

I haven't shown any pictures from my good mate Nigel from Canada for a while so please see below pictures of Barred Owl, Black-capped Chickadee and Blue Jay.