Thursday, 1 November 2012

Early November 2012

November 10th: Rain continuing on from over night didn't finish until around 1pm. Then there was thick cloud until dusk. Around were 28 Waxwings, 2 Woodcocks, a Merlin, a Short-eared Owl, 470 Pink-footed Geese, 5000 Golden Plovers, 5 Water Rails, a Bullfinch, 10 Goldcrests,  2 Crossbills and 8 Corn Buntings. Going south were 13 Whooper Swans and 150+ Siskins.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue from 2pm, after the rain had stopped, resulted in 64 new birds and 13 retraps (all of which were Blackbirds). Only four species were involved amongst the new birds, namely 25 Goldfinches, 21 Greenfinches, 12 Blackbirds and 6 Chaffinches.

November 9th: Windy. The Cetti's Warbler was still at Mill Hill. Freshwater Marsh held 3 Water Pipits. South went 3 Swallows, a Crossbill, 2 Snow Buntings, a Velvet Scoter and a Long-tailed Duck. Around were 379 Pink-footed Geese, a Merlin, a Short-eared Owl, 4 Goldcrests and a Corn Bunting.
A ringing session in the Plantation provided a new Goldcrest, but little else.

November 8th: The Cetti's Warbler relocated to Mill Hill. On Freshwater Marsh were 2 Water Pipits. Also around were 5 Goldcrests and a Blackcap. Flying south were a Woodlark, 4 Crossbills, a Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard.
Only 9 birds were processed during a morning ringing session on East Dunes, but they included a plump young female Blackcap weighing 25.7g and a British-ringed control Goldcrest.

                             1CY male British-ringed control Goldcrest (George Gregory)

November 7th: Milder, but soggy start. A Cetti's Warbler was found along Mill Pond Road. There was a moderate southward movement, mostly of finches, including 80 Siskins and a Crossbill, and also a Lapland Bunting, while 150 Pink-footed Geese went northwest and 4 Whooper Swans went south. Several hundred Blackbirds, fewer Redwings and Fieldfares, a Jay, a Woodcock, a Chiffchaff, a male Hen Harrier, a Marsh Harrier and 3 Short-eared Owls were around.
Ringing on East Dunes in the morning was reasonably successful, new birds including 33 Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest.

November 6th: Frozen overnight, rain most of day. Around were 4 to 7 Water Pipits, an adult Med Gull, 2 Bearded Tits, 3 Waxwings, a Chiffchaff, a male Hen Harrier, 2 Barn Owls and 2 Woodcocks. Heading south were 24 Whooper Swans, a Bullfinch, 100 Pink-footed Geese, 100 Siskins and 50 Bramblings. Also, large numbers of Blackbirds came in off the sea and then moved west towards the West Dunes, with a conservative count of 900.

November 5th: Around were 3 Waxwings near the Yacht Club, 30 Bramblings, a Black Redstart, a Jay, a Hen Harrier and 3 Corn Buntings. Going south were 9 more Waxwings, 5 House Sparrows and 30 Lesser Redpolls.
  Few birds were trapped on East Dunes this morning, but a longer session at Aylmer Avenue yielded 100 captures, including 2 Bramblings, 3 Tree Sparrows and a female Sparrowhawk.

November 4th: Around were a Short-eared Owl, a Ring Ouzel, a Yellowhammer, a Black Redstart, 30+ Goldcrests, 20 Robins and 100+ Blackbirds. Flying south were 7 Pink-footed Geese, 25 Fieldfares, 69 Bramblings, 71 Siskins, 132 Chaffinches, 3 Bullfinches, Lesser Redpolls, 11 Crossbills, 30 Goldfinches, 20 Greenfinches, 10 Tree Sparrows and 150 Wood Pigeons, and west 150 more Pink-footed Geese.
  A morning ringing session on East Dunes produced only a modest total of new birds, but they included a Great Grey Shrike and 3 Goldcrests. Ringing at Aylmer Avenue resulted in 84 new birds ringed, including a fair number of Blackbird and Greenfinches. There were also a good number of Goldcrests, Goldfinches and a group of nine new Long-tailed Tits. Highlights of the morning though were a new Chiffchaff and, amazingly, a second British-ringed control Tree Sparrow of the autumn after a gap of 28 years and 11 months - just like buses apparently.

Adult Great Grey Shrike ringed at the Observatory 4th November 2012
Photo - George Gregory

Adult Great Grey Shrike ringed at the Observatory 4th November 2012
Photo - George Gregory
British-ringed control Tree Sparrow at Aylmer Avenue on 4th Nov 2012 - ring number D069871 the 2nd control Tree Sparrow of the Autumn, after a nearly 29 year gap. If you happen to know where this was ringed - please contact the Observatory at or leave a comment on this post.
Photo - Mick Briggs

November 3rd: A Bluethroat was discovered near the Hump. South went 30 Whooper Swans, 1156 Woodpigeons, 11 Stock Dives, a Grey Wagtail, 17 Tree Sparrows, 60 Goldfinches, 30 Siskins, 56 Redpolls, 5 Crossbills and 38 Bramblings. On the Mere were 2 Water Rails. There were at least 150 Blackbirds at Aylmer Avenue alone. Around were a Hen Harrier and 310 Pink-footed Geese. Offshore were 2 Velvet Scoters.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue until the rain arrived at 10.30am resulted in 95 new birds ringed. The catch was mainly Blackbirds, Greenfinches and Goldfinches, but also included 3 Tree Sparrows, 2 Lesser Redpolls and a Coal Tit amongst others. As the rain had stopped, a small roost catch was attempted at Aylmer Avenue nets were probably opened too late as only 6 birds were caught, all Blackbirds, including one retrap and five new birds.
  We have to say  "Congratulations" to Spurn Bird Observatory, who today ringed their 400,000th bird since ringed started there. This is quite an achievment, and involves clearly a vast amount of data for the B.T.O. which will hopefully benefit nature conservation throughout the UK.
  Two recoveries of birds ringed by the Observatory were recently sent through to us from the B.T.O. The first concerned a Goldfinch ringed on the 11th December 2010 and controlled (recaught) at Berriedale, Highland on the 24th May 2012, 612km north-north-west over 530 days. This bird was probably on its way south or wintering at Gibraltar Point when it was originally caught, and then probably breeding when controlled in Scotland.
  The second recovery concerns a Reed Warbler ringed by the Observatory on 31st Aug 2010 and controlled (recaught) on the 24th Aug 2012 at Figueira da Foz, Coimbra, Portugal. Thgis is a movement of 1599km south-south-west over 724 days. Obviously this bird probably hatched on the reserve when originally caught as it was aged as a 3J (juvenile) and was a lot further south when controlled two years later, still migrating southwards towards Africa. It is amazing to think that when controlled in Portugal, it was on its way to Africa for the third time.
  It is recoveries like this that make all the early mornings, opening nets in the dark, worth while.

Reed Warbler recoveries abroad are a rare event for the Observatory and the one mentioned in the text above is only the third foreign control for Gibraltar Point ever and the second to Portugal, following on from one in October 1969.
Reed Warbler Libary Photo - Mick Briggs

November 2nd: Windy. The Jack Snipe and Water Rail were still on the Mere. Around were a Water Pipit, a Jay, 250 Pink-footed Geese, a Ring Ouzel, a Corn Bunting, 3 Crossbills and 2 Chiffchaffs. Southward movers included 5 Whooper Swans, 45 Bramblings, 11 Siskins, a Swallow and 400 Woodpigeons. Offshore were 100 Common Scoters.
A ringing session using sheltered nets in the Plantation yielded a reasonable number of common new birds ringed.

November 1st: Rain overnight, then from about mid-day. Around were 5 Ring Ouzels, 6 Corn Buntings, 3 Short-eared Owls, 50 Bramblings, a Woodcock, 2 Jays and 3 Goldcrests. Over Croftmarsh were 2700 Golden Plovers, on the Mere were a Water Rail and a Jack Snipe, and on Tennyson Sands another Water Rail. Flying south were 2 Whooper Swans and 25 Lesser Redpolls, and west 180 Pink-footed Geese.
Simultaneous ringing sessions at East Dunes and Aylmer Avenue resulted in 112 captures, including a new Goldcrest, 4 new Lesser Redpolls, a new Brambling and a retrap male Sparrowhawk. Best of all though was a British Control Greenfinch at Aylmer Avenue.

                                        3CY male Sparrowhawk (George Gregory)

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