Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Back On The Moss

I had to abandon my farmland bird feeding station on the Moss last year due to flooding, and also the track where I feed became heavily poached by farm machinery. As it has been drier so far this autumn I'm having another go at feeding and last week I made my first seed drop.

Yesterday I did the second feed visit and was pleased to note that four Tree Sparrows and a couple of Chaffinches had found the feed. Small beer at the moment, but fingers crossed the numbers will soon build up.

The best of the rest were a thousand Pink-footed Geese coming in to feed, plus a Siskin, a male Sparrowhawk, four Skylarks south and a Grey Wagtail.

This morning I gave myself an hour off to look for migrants at the Obs and just concentrated on the cemetery. It was obvious that there was a few birds around and I had eight Robins, nine Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff, a Song Thrush and a female Blackcap.

A flock of 210 Pink-footed Geese headed south and I also had an adult male Sparrowhawk and an obliging Grey Wagtail running along a wall.

I was looking forward to a bird survey in Merseyside tomorrow, but not the early start!, when I realised that I had some office type work that needed completing this week. So it's going to be a nice morning tomorrow and I will be stuck indoors chained to my desk. Roll on weekend!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A Little Better

It felt a little better this morning as I headed down the track at the Obs. I had full cloud cover, it was a tad murky and the wind was ESE 5 mph. It was obvious that there had been an arrival of Thrushes as I pushed three Song Thrushes, ten Redwings and four Blackbirds from the hedge alongside the track.

There was also some other grounded migrants around too in the form of eleven Robins, seven Wrens, five Dunnocks, three Stonechats, three Reed Buntings and three Goldcrests. No Siberian Accentors though!

Vis was virtually non-existent with the murky conditions with just two Skylarks, two Chaffinches, six Alba Wags, a Meadow Pipit and a Rock Pipit.

I was birding behind the dunes when a Short-eared Owl came 'in-off' high and proceeded to lose altitude and drop down. It was then chased by Gulls and it disappeared over the reedy bank. What threat a Shortie is to the Gulls, I don't know!

It wasn't a wonderful morning, but it was slightly better than yesterday. It's so depressing seeing what's about on the east coast, but you have to keep plugging away!

Friday, 14 October 2016

You Have To Try

With these easterly winds coming from along way east, even here on the west coast you have to try! I headed out this morning with full cloud cover and a 10 mph easterly wind. There had been bits of rain overnight and I was hopeful for a few grounded migrants. I only had a short amount of time so I headed to the cemetery first.

Sometimes you get a feeling straight away that it was quiet and that's the feeling I got this morning. Sometimes you are proved wrong, but not this morning! From a grounded perspective all I had at first were seven Robins and a Goldcrest. Further round on my walk I came across some Rowans heavily laden with berries and here were seven Blackbirds (some continental), two Redwings and a Song Thrush; so a few more grounded migrants, but only a few.

On the Thrush front I also had two Mistle Thrushes which was nice as they have become scarce here over the years from when they were once fairly common. It used to be a common site in the cemetery to see a family party of Mistle Thrushes, but not anymore.

Mistle Thrush

As I was driving past the marine lakes on my way to the coastal park I noticed some Turnstones feeding in the area that we catch them, so I decided to pull in and see if I could see any of our leg flagged birds. There were seven or eight leg-flagged birds, but every time I would get focused on one to read the leg-flag they would get flushed by a dog walker. In the end I just read two; AH and AY. AH was ringed on 23rd January 2012 and was last observed on 29th January 2014! AY was ringed on 16th December 2012 and was last observed on 8th March 2015. In total there was 167 Turnstones roosting here over the high tide period.

The coastal park was just as quiet as the cemetery with two Goldcrests and two Song Thrushes! It's going to remain easterly until early next week so I'll just have to keep on trying!  

Monday, 10 October 2016

Ten Again

Yesterday morning found me ringing at the Obs again under 7 oktas cloud with a 10 mph northeasterly wind. It was another quiet morning with just another ten birds ringed as follows:

Blackbird - 1
Wren - 2
Dunnock - 1
Greenfinch - 3
Meadow Pipit - 3


At first light there was ten Redwings grounded but nothing else. Vis was again slow with six Carrion Crows, six Alba Wags, two Bramblings, two Reed Buntings, 41 Meadow Ppits, ten Greenfinches, a Grey Wagtail, three Chaffinches, a Goldfinch and three Skylarks.

And that was your lot!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Not Today

At first light at the Obs this morning I had full cloud cover with a 5 mph northeasterly wind. I'm still restricted to one 60 foot net due to my ongoing wasp problem, but when I checked today there was a lot less so hopefully I should be able to use the other net ride soon!

The vis was a little lacking this morning, although I did have my first Jackdaws of the Autumn with a flock of sixty south. I noted the Jackdaw passage later in the morning back at home when I counted 51 heading south over my garden. Other vis totals were 29 Meadow Pipits, 28 Redwings, seven Alba Wagtails, two Chaffinches, twelve Greenfinches, 70 Pink-footed Geese, a Rock Pipit and five Skylarks.

 Pink-footed Geese

I watched a Dunnock take off from an Elder bush close to the ringing station, circle round gaining height and then it headed high to the south until it was out of sight! Vis and migration in action!

I only ringed ten birds this morning as follows:

Meadow Pipit - 2
Blue Tit - 1
Greenfinch - 7


It obviously wasn't on today, so fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow!

 A couple of sky pictures from this morning (above & below)

Friday, 7 October 2016

Wot No Yellow-browed's!

I gave myself an hour and a half off this morning to check the cemetery and coastal park for migrants. When I got up before first light I could see that it had been raining slightly and that combined with the easterly wind got me thinking that there could be a few grounded migrants about. There was and 'few' was the operative word!

I had a look in the cemetery first and the only birds that I would class as grounded migrants were a Goldcrest, two Redwings and eight Robins. The coastal park was the same with just two Goldcrests and a Song Thrush.

Although I wasn't particularly concentrating on vis there was some and included 19 Alba Wagtails, 33 Meadow Pipits, two Chaffinches and two Grey Wagtails.

I've got a weekend of ringing and recording at the Obs so fingers crossed for some birds!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A Yellow-browed At Last

I say at last, as I have seen numerous Yellow-browed Warblers at the Obs over the years, so perhaps I shouldn't get too excited about them. Perhaps it's because I am of a certain age and remember when this Siberian sprite used to be a mega! In fact over here in the northwest a Yellow-browed Warbler was the nearest you were going to get to finding your own 'Sibe'! Nowadays we usually expect 2 or 3 at least at the Obs and I don't think it will be long before we hit double figures in the autumn and perhaps that will be this year as we have had four today!

I called at the cemetery first thing this morning and it was fairly quiet with just four Redwings that I would consider as being grounded. The wind was a fairly stiff east-southeasterly and this made viewing conditions difficult as the trees were moving around quite a bit. However, as I was just putting my gear in the boot of my car before heading off to the coastal park I heard a Chiffchaff giving it's sub-song and two Goldcrests calling and I thought "hello"!

I had been in the park for just a few minutes when I caught sight of a small phyllosc moving through some Poplars. I lifted my bins and it was a Yellow-browed Warbler. I made a quick call to Ian and I was just about to try and get some shots of it when I heard somebody shout "is there anything about"? With that the YBW flew off and into some more distant cover! I turned round to see a visiting birder and thought about saying "there was until you shouted", but thought better of it!

This guy then followed me round everywhere chewing my ear off about everything he had seen over the past few days. What's happened to people's field craft today? He continued to name drop both birds and birders as I tried to escape! I heard the YBW calling and got some distant views, but none as good as the ones when this guy flushed it with his booming voice. Some council workers came into the park with mechanical kit and it was 'game over' for me and a sharp exit!

Oh, I nearly forgot besides the YBW there were a few other migrants in the park including ten Redwings, five Song Thrushes, four Goldcrests and a Blackcap. It's a couple of days of catching up on work for me now, but hopefully I'll get out on Friday.