Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Early May 2013

10th May: A Puffin flew north offshore early morning, and 7 Arctic Terns flew south. Singles of Common Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit were on Tennyson Sands this evening. Raptors included 3 Buzzards and a Red Kite.
There was no ringing again because of the wind. Instead, some time was spent doing maintenance work, ready for tomorrow.
 
9th May: The highlight of the day came in the form of Red-rumped Swallow, which flew south over the shorebird hut at 0900hrs in the company of 2 Swallows.
  It was too windy for ringing. There has been a little more leafing up of trees and bushes due to recent brief rain. More is forecast later today.
 Both Cowslips and Bluebells flowered later this year than last. The weather has been somewhat cold and dry in recent weeks.
 
Wind - blown Cowslips on the 9th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Wind - blown Bluebells on the 9th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
 
8th May: Despite cloudy conditions, a morning ringing session on East Dunes was not very productive, the only new birds being a Chiffchaff and a Sedge Warbler. The retraps, however, included a female Blackbird and a female Blue Tit with brood patches, indicating local nesting.
 
7th May: Around the reserve were 2 Cuckoos, a Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Turtle Doves, a Spotted Redshank, 2 Wheatears and a 2 Yellow Wagtails. A high tide estuary count produced an incredible 530 Ringed Plovers. Flying south were a Common Buzzard, a Wood Sandpiper and 130 Swallows. 
  The catch on a morning ringing session on East Dunes was again reduced due to sunny conditions. New birds were a Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff, a Long-tailed Tit and a Whitethroat, while retraps included another Long-tailed Tit and a Grasshopper Warbler.
  Some recent controls and recoveries received from the BTO:
(1) A Blackbird ringed at Castricum, Netherlands on 12/11/2012 and controlled at GPBO on 16/11/2012, just 4 days later.
(2) A Lesser Redpoll ringed at GPBO on 30/9/2012 and controlled at Culfordheath, Suffolk on 5/3/2013 and 14/3/2013.
(3) A Chiffchaff ringed at GPBO on 14/10/2011 and killed by a cat at The Lizard, Cornwall on 24/3/2013.
(4) A Blackbird ringed at GPBO on 17/11/2008 and died hitting a window at Terschelling, Netherlands on 10/2/2010.
(5) A Lesser Redpoll ringed at GPBO on 17/10/2009 and controlled at Heusden, Netherlands on 24/10/2010.
These provide useful information about bird movements, showing the value of ringing at this observatory.
 
6th May: The highlights of the morning were 2 Ospreys flying in off the sea, heading north, and a Hawfinch over the West Dunes. About the reserve were at least 40 Jays and 5 Grasshopper Warblers.
  A morning ringing session on East Dunes was quite successful, new birds including another Jay, a Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat, whilst retraps included a Grasshopper Warbler and a Whitethroat.
  Meanwhile, at Aylmer Avenue the first C.E.S. session of 2013 was done, with miserable results! Just one new bird was ringed, which was a Willow Warbler, along with five retraps: two Whitethroats, a Dunnock, a Blackbird and a Blue Tit. Hopefully this was just down to the sunny conditions, and not because there are very few birds on the C.E.S. site!
  Also ringed at Aylmer Avenue on other net rides were two Linnets, two Blackcaps and the first Garden Warbler of the year, amongst others. Garden Warblers are not always caught in spring here, with the Observatory having to wait until the autumn some years. So to get one caught so early in the year was a positive note.
  Also today the new bird total for the year passed through the thousand barrier, with it now standing at 1005.
The first Garden Warbler of 2013 ringed on 06.05.13
Photo - Mick Briggs
Male Linnet ringed on 06.05.13
Photo - Mick Briggs
 
Retrap Sedge Warbler on 06.05.13. At the moment there seems to be plenty of these about with males singing considerable distances from open water bodies right up into the West Dunes.
Photo - Mick Briggs
5th May: Sunny conditions again resulted in few birds being caught on East Dunes in the morning, but they included a Blackcap, a Whitethroat, a Reed Bunting and 3 Jays (2 new and a retrap from the Observatory). Similarly, few birds were processed at Aylmer Avenue, the best ones being the first new Reed Warbler of the year. The new Jay total for 2013 is now 21.
 
4th May: A single Crossbill was around North Car Park for much of the morning, whilst before first light a Barn Owl was hunting along the West Dunes.
  A brief, wind-shortened ringing session on East Dunes this morning produced very little, the highlights being 2 retrap Whitethroats. Also, a ringing session at Aylmer Avenue resulted in just five new birds, a Blackcap, a Goldfinch and a further three new Jays, bringing us to a new record year total of 19 so far this year.
  Speckled Woods and Red Admiral Butterflies were much in evidence around sheltered spots at Aylmer Avenue today.
Today's retrap Whitethroat was first ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 16th May 2010 as an adult bird, so it is now in at least its fifth calendar year. It was trapped twice more in 2010 (in June and August), and then again in 2011 (twice in May).
Photo - Mick Briggs
 
Jay number 17 of 2013, ringed on 4th May 2013
Photo - Mick Briggs
3rd May: A Crossbill flew around the Plantation early morning, while offshore 3 Garganeys, 2 drakes and a duck, flew south along the tide line.
  Sunny conditions greatly reduced the catch during a morning ringing session on East Dunes. However, new birds included the first Firecrest ringed this year, a Jay and 3 Whitethroats.
  A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue also yielded few birds, but among them were another new Jay, another new Sedge Warbler, and a retrapped Brambling.
 
Adult Female Firecrest ringed on 3rd May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Adult Jay ringed on 3rd May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
  
2nd May: Tennyson Sands held an Iceland Gull, a Caspian Gull and a Mediterranean Gull. Elsewhere on the reserve were 3 Grasshopper Warblers, 78 Jays, 3 Short-eared Owls, a Peregrine and 3 Cuckoos. Flying south were a Red Kite, 3 Marsh Harriers and 6 Common Buzzards.
  A ringing session in East Dunes this morning was moderately successful. New birds included 5 Jays (all on the same net round), a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff, and retraps a Grasshopper Warbler and a Whitethroat.
  A longer ringing session at Aylmer Avenue provided another new Jay, bringing the total for the year to 14 - the 2nd highest year catch ever after a record 18 just last year. It would seem likely that the record will go again pretty soon? Also caught were a good selection of warblers, including the first Lesser Whitethroat and Sedge Warblers of the year, and a retrapped Brambling, amongst others.
 
Iceland Gull on Tennyson Sands on 2nd May 2013.
Photo - Paul Neale
1st May: About were 5 Cuckoos, 2 Turtle Doves, and 23 Corn Buntings. Also on the reserve was a respectable total of 11 Grasshopper Warblers, a new site record! In the evening a Short Eared Owl and a Barn Owl were hunting over the Old Saltmarsh, both giving incredibly close views.
  The net rides in the East Dunes are ready for the restart of ringing there tomorrow. Leafing up of the bushes there seems significantly later this year than last.
  Late afternoon three more Grasshopper Warblers were ringed on the reserve, bringing us to five so far for the year.
Grasshopper Warbler No. 3 of 2013 ringed on 01.05.13
Photo - Mick Briggs
Grasshopper Warbler No. 4 of 2013 ringed on 01.05.13
Photo - Mick Briggs
Grasshopper Warbler No. 5 of 2013 ringed on 01.05.13
Note this bird's tail was very abraded and had obviously been into some "rough bush" on its way back from Africa, with three outer tail feathers on one side re-growing, having been presumably lost somewhere during its migration.
Photo - Mick Briggs

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