Sunday, 7 March 2010

What A Difference a Day Makes

One of the beauties of working a coastal site with a restricted amount of cover, as at Rossall School, is that it makes it a lot easier to work out what is going on in terms of migration. There is little overlap and confusion with the activities of breeding birds that can often cloud the issue.

It was a very different day to yesterday when Ian and I arrived at 0615 to put the nets up. It was clear with a temperature on my car thermometer of minus 4.5 degrees Celsius and the wind was a 1-2 east-southeasterly. It was very obvious that it was different to yesterday in terms of the lack of calls from the stunted hedges and our ringing totals, or should I say lack of ringing totals bore this out.

We ringed three birds that were two Long-tailed Tits (new ringing record for the site) and a Dunnock. Interestingly we only retrapped a single bird that was a Dunnock from 2009. So where had all the birds gone that we ringed yesterday? It was fairly obvious that they had cleared out under the clear skies.

There also weren't as many birds going over on 'vis' and the only records of note were a handful of Meadow Pipits, four Siskins, five Goldfinches and a Grey Wagtail heading north. So a very different day, not as much about, but very much as interesting!

In the afternoon Ian, Phil, Craig, Will and I met at Moss House Farm on Rawcliffe Moss to identify and cut a new net ride in the plantation in preparation for some ringing this spring and summer. Before we carried out the work Ian and I put a bucket of seed out at the feeding station and thirty Tree Sparrows, ten Yellowhammers and two Grey Partridges were still hanging on. Waiting for Craig to arrive five soaring Buzzards kept us occupied as they 'rode' the thermals to dizzying heights and drifted off.

On the way home Ian and I counted thirteen Goosanders and five Goldeneyes on the River Wyre. No birding for me until Wednesday I'm afraid as I have a late night tomorrow as I am off to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in Manchester and I'm looking forward to a bit of 'Freebird' and 'Sweet Home Alabama'!