Friday, 29 March 2013

Chiffchaffs Are Back

It is the start of the Easter holidays (for me), most people would be in bed but not me, no. I was up at four O'clock this morning and it was definitely worth it. It was another day out with Scouse Ringer and Moxey. We put a single net up by a small pine tree collection where we have heard probably the first Chiffchaff of the year; we were rather keen to catch it so we decided to keep the net up for a while, and we got success, my first Chiffchaff. It was great to be able to see it up close.

That Chiffchaff was also caught with a Chaffinch, put them together to make the ChiffChaff finch, quite a different, but nice combination. You can really see the blue and black on the crown of the Chaffinch, I think it looks stunning.

Another brand new bird for me (up close) were the three Meadow Pipit we caught. It was really interesting to find out how to tell if it was a adult or a juvenile bird. I don't know why, but these birds always make a spark inside me when I see them, far away or up close.

These birds take an A sized ring, and speaking of rings, I got to ring all three of them due to there being no re-traps. I would say they are rather difficult to age, but I got the hang of it in the end.

There were quite a few Blackbirds on the ringing menu this morning, a few new, a few re-traps, but either way they are are always lovely to catch. I am getting much more use to putting the bigger birds in pots for weighing, for instance- Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbirds and most of the big thrushes.

A brand new but terrible singing Great Spotted Woodpecker gave me a bit of pain today by digging into me. I am amazed about how strong their tail feathers are, they are much more firm than most birds because they need a strong tail to support itself when creeping up trees.

One of the brightest Goldfinches I have ever seen, the only thing not perfect on this bird is the hooked bill.

One of the first birds we got out of the net was a new (as in newly ringed) adult Jay that I got to ring. The circles in the ringing pliers go up in order (AA, A, B, C, CC, D, E). The Jay takes a D ring. Scouse Ringer is very good at letting me ring the birds, but he does watch very closely to make sure each ring is put on perfectly.  

They are really nice to look at, but very feisty birds. This one quite liked Peter's finger.

These birds will be migrating any time soon, so it was surprising, but excellent to catch a female Fieldfare. There seems to be a flock knocking about where I live but they are gradually getting higher in the sky every time they fly over.

The other really nice birds we caught to day were 2 Willow Tits.......

Willow Tit 1                                                                   Willow Tit 2
First ringed by me on 3rd January                           Caught for the first time today.

It was really good day again today, so a big thank you to Peter and my dad.

Happy Easter!!!!!!!!!!


  1. awesome bunch, again! laughed at your chiffchafffinch joke. :)

  2. So nice to have the Chiffchaffs back Findlay and great that you got such close views of one too as well as all the other birds of course. Some lovely photos too, taken by your Dad I assume.

  3. Fantastic set of photos..... grat blog.


  4. A great variety in the nets Findlay. The pipit (rock/tawny/meadow etc) holds a place in my heart, some sadly say "brown jobbie" in jest but I enjoy watching them, the fieldfares are quite odd, we still have some Redwing knocking around Summerleys, probably waiting for the wind to change direction before heading home.

  5. It would have made my day just to have seen most of these birds, Findlay, so it must be awesome to get 'up close and personal' with them! Super post - interesting and beautifully illustrated!