Thursday 23 March 2023


At weekend Gail and I had a look at the reedbed and scrub at the Nature Park to see if we could get into our net rides. Sometimes in spring the site is flooded, and we can't get to our ringing area, but this time it was okay. There was some water at the pool end of our net rides, but nothing that would prevent us from carrying out our ringing studies. We just need the weather now, and at the moment it isn't playing ball. 

We were hoping for a Chiffchaff, or perhaps a Wheatear or Sand Martin, but we had to make do with a male Stonechat that was probably a migrant. Cetti's Warblers were in fine voice, and we had at least five singing males. Reed Buntings and Skylarks added to the chorus, but that was about it for early spring songsters. 
Eleven Tufted Ducks were on one of the pools, as were a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes with accompanying bird photographer. I wonder how many shots of Great Crested Grebe they need? 

A couple of days ago we had a walk along the quay by the estuary, but I had forgotten that we were in a series of big morning tides, and the quay was completely full of water, so no foraging areas for any waders. We did have our first Wheatears of the spring in the form of two males and a female. They were feeding along a section of the quay, and then flying out to some of the wrecked boats that are half submerged. 
Wheatear on one of the semi-submerged wrecks
Yesterday, we went to our good friend's farm near Garstang to take the feeders down at the feeding station. It was a glorious spring morning, and as soon as we got out of the car, we could hear Chiffchaffs singing, three in fact.
The feeding station is on the edge of some woodland, adjacent to a hedge and ditch, and as we crossed the field towards the gate into the woodland, we were stopped in our tracks by the 'yaffle' of a Green Woodpecker! We were absolutely stunned by this, as Green Woodpeckers are extremely scarce/non-existent in this area. However, it is spring, and I suspect it was a wandering individual that was trying its luck in this nice piece of woodland. 
Sadly, we didn't see it. The Green Woodpecker obviously heard us and melted away into the woodland. It will be interesting however, to see if we record it again later in the spring. I suspect not. 
We had a look on the wetland and there was at least 120 Teal, 15 Wigeon, eight Shovelers and two Redshanks. Walking back to the car we had three Buzzards, thermalling in the warm, clear conditions.  

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the weather isn't looking too great over the next few days, but as always, I remain hopeful!

Monday 6 March 2023

All Quiet On The Ringing Front

Mid-week last week, Gail and I topped the feeders up at the feeding station on our friend's farm, and as per normal, the two large feeders that can hold 18 kg of seed in each when full, were nearly empty. I don't put the full 18 kg in, probably somewhere in the region of about 12 kg, but nevertheless, about 24 kg of seed had gone in a handful of days, so the feeding station is busy. It was a surprise then to have a quiet ringing session on Saturday. 
When we were topping the feeders up, we didn't really see very much as it was a quick 'splash and dash', but a flock of 92 Fieldfares was noteworthy. At this time of year, they spend more time feeding in pastures on invertebrates, taking on lots of protein prior to their migration east and north. 

On Saturday morning Gail and I were expecting to have a good ringing session, but were surprised when we only ringed twelve birds as follows (recaptures in brackets):

Great Tit - 6 (4)
Robin - 1 (1)
Blue Tit - 2 (1)
Tree Sparrow - 1 (1)
Chaffinch - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Tree Sparrow
The birding was equally quiet, although the number of early morning songsters is increasing as we move towards spring. The only highlights were the 12 - 15 Tree Sparrows that we had, and I am always pleased to hear a Goldcrest singing.

The weather is turning colder this week with a blast of arctic air, that will certainly hold some early migrants up. It's hard to believe that Wheatears could be here in just a few days!

Over on the right you will see that I have updated the totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of February. Six new species were ringed during Februray for the year, and these were Siskin, Dunnock, Treecreeper, House Sparrow, Long-tailed Tit and Wren.

Only one species reached double figures during the month, and these were the 21 Goldfinches that were ringed. Below you will find the top 3 'movers and shakers' for the year so far.

Top 3 Movers and Shakers

1. Goldfinch - 56 (same position)
2. Chaffinch - 22 (same position)
3. Blue Tit - 10 (up from 4th)