Sunday, 29 May 2011

Reported -13th May 2011

Reported on the 13th May 2011 were -

x2 Spoonbill
Mediterranean Gull
Avocets
Spotted Redshank
x2 Short Eared Owl
Black Kite (North)
Buzzard

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Reported -12th May 2011

Another cracking May day at Gib!

Reported on the 12th May 2011 were -

x1 Great White Egret (south)
x6 Marsh Harrier (south)
x8 Buzzard (south)
x1 Black Kite (south west)
possible Short Toed Lark calling flyover bird

and 13 species of Butterfly recorded today including Green Hairstreaks everywhere again!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Reported -11th May 2011

Another great day for migration with strong passage of hirundines, corvids, swifts, finches and yellow wagtails etc.

Also reported on the 11th May 2011 were -

x2 Spoonbill (moved south/south east)
x1 Osprey (west)
x1 Honey Buzzard (north west)
x1 Blue Headed Wagtail (foreshore)
x1 Golden Oriole (Singing in the plantation - per D.Matthews)
x75 Crossbill (in a single flock down the east dunes)
and of course the now historic
x1 CALANDRA LARK! (foreshore briefly - both on the deck and in flight - two observers and a first for the reserve!)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Ringing on10th May 2011

The weather took a turn for the worst today with medium strength winds building through the morning which resulted in George catching just two birds at the Obs - a Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat, both were New birds.

Reported on the reserve on the 10th May 2011 were -

x6 Marsh Harrier (south)
x1 Montagu's Harrier (south)
x1 Rough Legged Buzzard
x2 Honey Buzzard
x1 Osprey (south)
x1 Serin

A big day for raptors!

Ringing on 9th May 2011

George was ringing over at the Obs today and this resulted in just 12 birds processed including 8 New birds and 4 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (2/0) Lesser Whitethroat, (2/4) Whitethroat, (1/0) Chiffchaff, (1/0) Willow Warbler and (2/0) Reed Bunting.

Reported on the reserve on the 9th May 2011 were -

x1 Garganey (Tennyson Sands am)
x20 Whimbrel
x2 Hobby
x1000 Swallow (south)
x60 Crossbill (south in various size flocks through the day)
x2 Spoonbill (Tennyson Sands in the evening)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

C.E.S. No1 8th May 2011

Today was our first C.E.S. visit (Constant Effort Site) of 2011 at our West Dunes site at Aylmer Avenue. Meanwhile George was attempting a session over at the Observatory. The weather however was not aware of the plan and very early morning light rain meant a delayed start to both sites ringing efforts.
  The nets at Aylmer were not opened properly untill around 7am, somewhat later than I would of hoped for when conducting a C.E.S. visit. Dave Vincent was on hand to help open the nets quickly as soon as the rain had dispersed, it did still however affect the catch as the birds were clearly not moving in the dark threatening cloud with most of the females appearing to be sitting tight on nests.
  The result for the day was 27 birds processed including 9 New birds and 18 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (1/0) Wood Pigeon, (0/1) Robin, (0/1) Blackbird, (1/0) Sedge Warbler, (1/3) Lesser Whitethroat, (2/8) Whitethroat, (1/0) Blackcap, (1/0) Chiffchaff, (0/2) Willow Warbler, (0/2) Blue Tit, (0/1) Great Tit, (1/0) Chaffinch and (1/0) Goldfinch. - 13 species in total.

  The C.E.S. included just 9 birds of 7 species, this is very low compared to last years first visit which included 16 birds of 7 species as well. Willow Warbler were down by 75% on last years first visit but perhaps they haven't all arrived back yet. Whilst Whitethroat and Blackcap were on site in much increased numbers on last years first visit.
  Four species were missing from last years first visit - Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch and Blackbird whilst conversely four species were caught that were not caught on last years first visit - Robin, Lesser Whitethroat, Chaffinch and Blue Tit.

  Still early days, one visit down and 11 more to go. The next visit will hopefully be more productive with an earlier start, weather depending!

On other news today, Gib played host to another Mega bird today when John Shaughnessey found a Collared Pratincole! It flew over the Saltmarsh around Lill's Hut before folowing the River Steeping inland and eventually driving off inland over the farm fields before appearing to double back on itself  and dropping down somewhere near Croft Marsh. In all John watched the birds for around 5/10mins in total and unfortunately nobody on the reserve managed to get there in time to see the bird before it dropped out of site.

  Ironically John had been to see what was probably the same bird at Rosper Road Pools on his way to Gib a few days earlier and so had already seen the bird earlier in the week! Despite much waiting in Harveys Hide and checking of all water bodies on the reserve by various birders, the bird could not be refound and had presumably headed off inland out of site of the anxious binoculars!

  The Collared Pratincole was the 2nd for Gib following a bird on the 21st May 1973 on the Mere, not long after it had been created! The Mere also hosted a White Winged Black Tern the same year! - Is it time for a repeat performance?

Also reported on the reserve on the 8th May 2011 were -

x500 Swallow (south pm)
x300 Swift (south pm)
x200 House Martin (south pm)
x1 Spoonbill (on Tennyson Sands pm briefly before moving onto Jacksons pm)

Lesser Whitethroat ringed on the C.E.S. on 8th May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Whitethroat ringed on the C.E.S. on 8th May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Willow Warbler ringed on the C.E.S. on 8th May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Chiffchaff ringed on 8th May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Male Blackcap ringed on the C.E.S. on 8th May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Sedge Warbler ringed on the 8th May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Ringing on 7th May 2011

George ringed today over at the Observatory with better results than of late. He ended the morning on 13 birds processed including 9 New birds and just 4 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (3/0) Meadow Pipit, (0/1) Wren, (1/0) Dunnock, (2/3) Whitethroat, (1/0) Willow Warbler and (2/0) Reed Bunting.

A pretty good result, indeed the last time we ringed 3 Meadow Pipits in a single day in the Spring was decades ago. They must clearly be breeding in the Saltmarsh area in healthy numbers this years, just occasionally straying into the dunes and then the nets during territory disputes.
  The same is basically true of the Reed Buntings, with 12 Ringed this year already, this is certainly the most we have ringed during the Spring of any previous year for the Observatory.
  It is starting to look like it could be a record breeding year for many species on the reserve although it it is still early days and predictions can quickly unravel with inclement weather - fingers crossed then for a fine summer breeding season!

Also reported on the reserve on the 7th May 2011 -

x1 Short Eared Owl
x1 Barn Owl
x1 Marsh Harrier
x3 Whimbrel (north)

Ringing on 6th May 2011

George ringed over at the Observatory today and processed just 5 birds including 2 New birds and 3 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (1/0) Robin, (1/0) Blackbird, (0/1) Lesser Whitethroat and (0/2) Whitethroat.

George has caught several New Blackbirds at the Observatory in the last few days, where these birds are coming from are a mystery? By now we would expect all breeding Blackbirds on the reserve to be retraps only, so to be catching these New birds is somewhat of a mystery.
  Could it be that they are actually late migrants on their return journey to Scandinavia etc?

Another cracking day for the birders on th erserve today with the following reported on the 6th May 2011 -

x2 Red Kites (south am)
x3 Buzzards
x3 Sparrowhawks
x2 Kestrel
x1 Hobby (south)
x4 Ruff,
x4 Black Tailed Godwit
x50 Avocet
x6 Whimbrel
x1 Curlew Sandpiper (Tennysons Sands in the evening)
x1 Stone Curlew (Briefly on the North Saltings in the morning)
x15 Swift (south)
x1 Red Rumped Swallow (south at 10.18)
x8 Siskin
x8 Crossbill

Also 13 Species of Butterfly recorded today including Green Hairstreaks everywhere!

Ringing on 5th May 2011

Double effort day today with Mike Polling paying he near weekly visit to ring at Aylmer Avenue and George having a brief session at the Observatory. The result was 16 birds processed although with only 6 New birds and 10 Retraps, it would seem that we are now into the quietest time of the year (The period after the Spring migration ceases and before the youngsters from this year have left the nest).

  The days combined catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (1/0) Blackbird, (2/0) Lesser Whitethroat, (1/4) Whitethroat, (1/1) Willow Warbler, (0/1) Blue Tit, (0/1) Great Tit, (0/1) Chaffinch, (0/1) Greenfinch and (1/1) Goldfinch.

  The really disappointing thing about this years Spring is that the local populations of some species seemed to have taken an absolute hammering over the winter period, presumably in December 2010. Robins, Dunnocks and Wrens that we would expect to be now be catching daily are simply not on site in normal numbers.
  Subsequently we are not now going to be catching the youngsters, especially so of Robin that should be on the wing by now. (Having said that, last year we didn't get the first young Robins last year untill the first week in June although this was a couple of weeks later than normal).

Also Tim ringed 8 more Lapwing pullus today whilst nest monitoring the rest of the marsh area. That makes 12 for the year after the four yesterday, a record year for the Observatory, amply demonstrating the increasing attractiveness of the reserves habitat for waders.

Also reported on the reserve on the 5th May 2011 were -

x1 Buzzard
x1 Wood Sandpiper
x1 Spotted Redshank

Ringing on 4th May 2011

George ringed today over at the Observatory and processed 11 birds including 8 New birds and 3 Retraps.

  The mornings catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (0/1) Wren, (2/0) Blackbird, (1/0) Lesser Whitethroat, (1/2) Whitethroat, (2/0) Chaffinch, (1/0) Goldfinch and (1/0) Reed Bunting.

  A less than impressive morning then, though the Spring migration is more or less coming to a close now at Gib, the Reed Bunting will no doubt be breeding locally and the New warblers continue to add to the years warbler total which in also encouraging gathering pace.

On a positive note though Tim Bagworth ringed the first Wader Pullus of the year today with 4 Lapwings ringed whilst nest monitoring.

Also reported on the reserve on the 4th May 2011 were -

x1 Red Kite (South)
x1 Redstart
x1 Ring Ouzel
x1 Spotted Flycatcher
x1 Willow Tit! (this is a serious rarity at Gib!)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Reported - 3rd May 2011

Reported on the 3rd May 2011 -

  A cracking day for Gib today with - "A Black Kite appeared over the River Steeping Haven at about 08.55am and caused a mass panic for about 6000 waders and 200 large gulls on the estuary. It spent a minute or so circling and deciding whether to head for Norfolk or coast down the Wash banks - not surprisingly, it opted for the latter and was quickly at about 600ft up, still circling as it drifted south. It was lost after about 6 mins when it was maybe 5km south of Gib", - description of the mornings "rare event" from Kev Wilson - Gibraltar Point Warden.

  That's two Black Kites that Kev's found this year! (1st one was attacking a White Tailed Eagle at Ruckland!)

  In the afternoon a Red Kite was seen by John Shaughnessy and Richard Doan, circling Aylmer Avenue before heading off North West. A few minutes later a Common Buzzard circled the reserve causing panic to the waders etc on Croft Marsh.

  Also reported today was a single Redstart.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Ringing on 2nd May 2011

For Mick Briggs, Bank Holiday Monday was to be spent trying to catch Wheatears at the Field Station and Storm Ridge.
  Unfortunately there were no willing Wheatears but ten minutes after the Spring Traps were set, the resident female Stonechat decided that a meal worm for a ring was a fair deal and duly entered one of the traps.
  She was quickly ringed and processed and found to be a 2nd year bird with a good brood patch, confirming that the resident pair are indeed attempting to breed on the Old Saltmarsh.

  The traps were left in place and a long wait ensued, after a couple of hours it was finally realised that the male Stonechat had figured out how to take the meal worms out of the spring traps, without setting them off!
  A battle of wills then ensued with Mick Briggs repeatedly replacing meal worms and the male Stonechat reapeatedly taking the meal worms without setting them off, which the Stonechat seemed to think highly amusing! It must if been thinking "these free meal worms are great and that stupid human that keeps leaving them in such an obvious place must be a nutter!"
  The main problem was that the male Stonechat was only visiting the particular perch that the traps were under every hour or so but eventually though the Stonechat was caught on the 8th meal worm theft attempt, he triggered the trap and was again quickly ringed and processed. Again the male Stonechat was found to be a 2nd year bird with a good "cp" (Cloacal Protuberence). Both birds were of the resident British race.

  It had taken all morning for both birds to be caught and still no Wheatears visiting the correct perchs from which they would see the mealworms in the traps and so the day was called a day with 2 birds processed, both New birds and both Stonechats!

  It was interesting that both of the Stonechats were 2nd year birds, could these be youngsters that have originated from the Norfolk population that is currently doing so well? See the recent B.T.O. blog post on Stonechats in Norfolk to see how they are doing.

http://btoringing.blogspot.com/2011/04/stonechat-off-to-coast-again.html

  These 2 were the 58th and 59th Stonechat ever ringed by the Observatory and hopefully there will be some chicks to ring very soon - watch this space for more news.
2nd year female Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year female Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year female Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year female Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Note the 6 old greater coverts and 2 new tertials indicating that the bird is a 2nd year.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year male Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year male Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year male Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year male Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Note the two replaced tertials and extremly worn primary's but with a replaced tail.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year male Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Note contrast between new inner Greater Coverts and five old Outer Greater Coverts.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd year male Stonechat ringed on 2nd May 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Gib Blog becomes LWT Wildlife News!

The blog has recently been listed in the Lincs Wildlife Trust's - Wildlife News page.

Gibraltar Point Bird Observatory Blog
The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Observatory at Gibraltar Point was opened in April 1949, one of the earliest in Britain. Over 60 years of observation, ringing and examination of birds there has provided a wealth of information about their location and movements throughout the seasons, their physical condition and changes in their populations, all information essential for framing and implementing measures for their conservation.
Keep up to date with bird ringing news with the Gibraltar Point Bird Observatory Blog. 
Photo: marsh tit ringed on the 6 April 2011 (Tim Bagworth).

April 2011

Excellent stuff!

  You can keep up with the other Lincs Wildlife Trust's other wildlife news at -
  http://www.lincstrust.org.uk/wildlife/index.php

Reported - 1st May 2011

Reported on the reserve on the 1st May 2011 were -

x12 Whimbrel
x2 Wheatear
x2 Ring Ouzel
x1 Garden Warbler

Reported - 30th Apr 2011

Reported on the 30th April 2011 were -

Pink Footed Goose
x3 Brent Goose
x30 Whimbrel
x8 Black Tailed Godwit
x1 Garden Warbler

Ringing on 27th Apr 2011

An exact rerun of yesterday! Just a single Retrap Whitethroat again today but at least it was a different one to yesterdays!

  The Whitethroat today was originally ringed on the 21th April 2011 at the Obs so again it hasn't built up much of a history yet!

  Nevermind George, there's always tomorrow...

Also reported on the reserve on the 27th April 2011 were -

x2 Marsh Harrier
x50+ Avocet
x2 Little Ringed Plover
x30+ Golden Plover
x2 Grasshopper Warbler

Ringing on 26th Apr 2011

Well today things really took a turn for the worst! A fair wind and bright skys resulted in George's catch at the Observatory dwindling down to just a single Retrap Whitethroat!

  The Whitethroat today was originally ringed on the 20th April 2011 at the Obs so hasn't built up much of a history yet!

  Better luck next time George...

Ringing on 25th Apr 2011

George had another go over at the Observatory this morning but the migrants now seem to just about have dried up, the result was just 6 birds processed including 4 New birds and 2 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (1/0) Dunnock, (0/2) Whitethroat, (1/0) Chiffchaff and (2/0) Willow Warbler.

  Good effort anyway George, keep it up and you shall reap the reward - eventually! hopefully with a "Rare!"

Monday, 2 May 2011

Ringing on 24th Apr 2011

  George was over at the Observatory today this morning but results were as is nearly usual now - poor! George ended the day with just 5 birds processed including 4 New birds and 1 Retrap.

  With results from the nets being so poor recently, Mick Briggs and Dave Vincent used this Sunday's training session to try for something different. They ended the day with 5 New birds and 1 Retrap.
  It was decided that we should try to target a species that we don't ring often and yet turn up on the reserve every year in small numbers and usually attempt to breed - Grasshopper Warbler!

  In the afternoon Mick Briggs spent most of the afternoon and early evening waiting for Wheatears to go into Spring Traps around the Field Station area, unfortunately they were not aware of the rules of the game but luckily a Black Redstart that arrived that morning at the Field Station was.

  The combined catch for the day of 9 New birds and 2 Retraps was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (1/0) Black Redstart, (2/0) Grasshopper Warbler, (2/1) Sedge Warbler, (2/1) Whitethroat, (1/0) Chiffchaff and (1/0) Willow Warbler.

  After much discussion and several reccies around likely Gropper breeding areas on the reserve, it was decided that we should have enough birds present to try to catch this years male Groppers and then target them at the same time next year in the same areas and hopefully find out if we have the same birds coming back to the same areas to breed each year or not. Obviously we will have to try to catch the young birds later on in the season as well incase these are the birds that come back next year to breed in the same areas.
  It means some long term effort on a project that will not result in big numbers but hopefully the findings over the next few years will be fascinating!

  The result of our endeavours was 2 Male Grasshopper Warblers ringed out of two attempts.
  Whilst we were doing this we took the opportunity of to trap some Sedge Warblers whilst the Grasshopper Warblers were being ringed and this resulted in 2 New Sedge Warblers and a single Retrap Sedge Warbler, first ringed on the 25th July 2009 as a juvenile at Aylmer Avenue and not caught since. At least we know now that it has being busily (breeding) along Mill Pond Road for the last two years inbetween trips to Africa!

  The Grasshopper Warblers were just the 25th and 26th ever ringed by the Observatory ever! and were just the 3rd and 4th adults ever and the first two to be sexed ever! Amazingly, upon checking the records I found that seven of the previous 24 birds ringed were pullus from one nest in 1979, which means that todays birds were actually just the 18th and 19th full grown Groppers ever! To show just how scarce these are in the hand at Gib, after last years bird ringed in May, the last one was back in July 2003 and before that, the last one was 1996!

  The Black Redstart was just the 37th ever for the Observatory. After the three birds ringed at the Field Station in 2009, the last one was back in 2004. We have never had a recovery back of any of the Black Redstarts ringed at the Field Station and bearing in mind that they turn up at the Field Station every Spring for a few weeks on and off, and bearing in mind how easily they enter spring traps, maybe we should be colour ringing them from next year?
  There were a pair of Stonechats hanging around the Old Saltmarsh near the Field Station for most of the afternoon, these two birds have been hanging around for around three weeks now and would appear to attempting to breed. Hopefully they might end up in a Spring Trap before long, maybe the next time we are trying to catch Wheatears?

  All in all, a cracking day for the Observatory, with plenty to think of for the future. Dave Vincent was more than happy with the day with two ringing ticks! Grashopper Warbler in the morning and Black Redstart in the afternoon - can't be bad!

Also reported on the reserve on the 24th April 2011 were -

x2 Whimbrel
x1 Greenshank
x21 House Martin
x3 Sand Martin
x10 Swallow
x2 Stonechat
x9 Fieldfare (South)
x1 Brambling
x4 Lesser Whitethroat
x12 Whitethroat
x6 Willow Warbler
x4 Chiffchaff
x4 Blackcap
x1 Barn Owl

David Vincent holding the first Grasshopper Warbler of 2011, ringed on 24th April.
Photo - Mick Briggs

The second Grasshopper Warbler of 2011, ringed on 24th April.
Photo - Mick Briggs

The second Grasshopper Warbler of 2011, ringed on 24th April.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Sedge Warbler ringed on 24th April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Sedge Warbler ringed on 24th April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Black Redstart ringed on 24th April 2011 at the Field Station.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Black Redstart ringed on 24th April 2011 at the Field Station.
Photo - Mick Briggs