Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Late May 2013

31st May: Foggy start. A Greenish Warbler was discovered singing in the Plantation. A male Golden Oriole appeared in East Dunes, singing occasionally. The female Red-backed Shrike was refound near the Hump. Around were a Montagu's Harrier, a Tree Pipit, a Black Redstart and 6 Jays. A Grey Heron came in off the sea.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just 2 new birds: a Jay (the 40th of the year) and a Reed Bunting. The retraps were 3 Whitethroats, 3 Reed Buntings, a Lesser Whitethroat, and another Jay.

30th May: A female Red-backed Shrike was photographed in the Plantation. Also around were 3 Little Gulls.
 A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes involved new singles of Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting, while the retraps included a Willow Warbler and a Whitethroat.

29th May: A Greenish Warbler was trapped and ringed in East Dunes. It showed well in a tree next to the Observatory for a while after release. This is the fourth Greenish Warbler for the Observatory ever. The others were in 1958, 1981 and 1984, so that's 29 years since the last one was ringed! They were all September birds, so once again this spring has blown all the record books wide open, producing yet another species which we don't normally get until the autumn. Let's hope the autumn keeps up the incredible pace that the spring passage has set...
  Other birds caught on the morning ringing session in East Dunes were a Meadow Pipit, a Blue Tit, 2 Reed Buntings and 2 Whitethroats.


Greenish Warbler ringed at the Observatory on 29th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory




Greenish Warbler ringed at the Observatory on 29th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
28th May: Gulls were represented by a first-summer Iceland Gull, 2 Little Gulls and 2 Mediterranean Gulls. Also around were 20 Jays, 2 Marsh Harriers and 10 Corn Buntings. South went 2 Crossbills.
 The best birds on a rain-delayed morning ringing session in East Dunes were 3 Whitethroats and a retrap Long-tailed Tit.

27th May: A Red-breasted Flycatcher was reported near North Building. Around were a Short-eared Owl and 12 Jays.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes provided few birds, but they included the first juvenile Robin of the year, a new Firecrest, a Reed Warbler, a Whitethroat, and a control female Reed Bunting with a brood patch.
  In the afternoon the nestboxes were checked for the first time this year. The occupancy was quite low compared to recent years, although a lot of the boxes that are up on the reserve are not really in the correct positions from the point of view of birds. The really startling thing is the make up of species in the boxes this year. Over the last five years, Great Tits have increased to similar numbers to Blue Tits, but this year they are nearly not present at all! We have around a dozen boxes occupied by Blue Tits, whilst only two are occupied by Great Tits, both broods of which were ringed. The Blue Tits, though, are about a week behind the Great Tits, which is usual for Gibraltar Point, so none were ready for ringing.
  Other boxes were occupied by Jackdaws, and just one box had a pair of Stock Doves in it. The real surprise though was an owl box occupied by Tawny Owls with one very large chick! This was promptly ringed and returned to its day time slumbers.
Tawny Owl pullus ringed on 27th May 2013
Photo - Mick Briggs
Tawny Owl pullus ringed on 27th May 2013
Photo - Mick Briggs

Juvenile Robin ringed on 27th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory 


Female Firecrest ringed on 27th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
26th May: A Common Rosefinch remained in East Dunes. An Osprey flew in off the sea early afternoon. Around were 14 Corn Buntings (an unusual record for late spring), 50 Jays, a Tree Pipit, a Crossbill, a Short-eared Owl, a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced a Jay, a Redstart, 2 Garden Warblers, and the usual Whitethroats, Reed Buntings and Dunnocks.
  A simultaneous ringing session at Aylmer Avenue with a pre-4am start resulted in 15 new birds and 24 retraps, including a regular British control Robin and a new British control Chiffchaff - DXH931. As usual, if anybody knows where and when this bird was ringed, please feel free to let us know by either leaving us a comment on the blog or emailing mbriggs@gibobs.fsworld.co.uk. The new birds included a Jay (No. 39 for the year!), a Garden Warbler (making 3 for the day - probably a new spring day record for the Observatory), two Blackcaps, 2 Reed Warblers and the first Woodpigeon of the year. Of these birds 7 new and 14 retraps were caught in the CES nets on the 3rd CES session: a fairly good result.
British control Chiffchaff DXH931 caught at Aylmer Avenue on 26th May 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Greater coverts of a Jay ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 26th May 2013.
This outer greater covert clearly shows 12 black bars indicating that it is an adult-type greater covert showing that the bird is an adult and not a second-year bird - difficult to see in the field!
Photo - Mick Briggs
The first Woodpigeon caught and ringed in 2013 on the 26th May.
Photo - Mick Briggs
One of three Garden Warblers ringed on the reserve on 26th May 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Male Redstart ringed at the Observatory on 26th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

25th May: In the Mill Hill area were two Common Rosefinches, of which one was singing. On Golf Course Ridge was a Red-backed Shrike. A Short-eared Owl, a Spotted Redshank, a Siskin, 10 Corn Buntings and a Garden Warbler were around.
  A total of 10 birds were processed on a morning ringing session in East Dunes, including a Firecrest, a Willow Warbler, 3 Whitethroats and a Chaffinch.
One of two Common Rosefinches near Mill Hill on 25th May 2013.
Photo - Daniel Watson
One of two Common Rosefinches near Mill Hill on 25th May 2013.
Photo - Daniel Watson





 Red-backed Shrike on Golf Course Ridge on 25th May 2013.
Photo -  Gary Wright




Male Firecrest ringed on 25th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
24th May: Rainy and windy. The best bird on the reserve was a Long-eared Owl. A drake Red-breasted Merganser was on Tennyson Sands. Offshore a Fulmar and a Merlin flew north.
  No ringing was attempted.

23rd May: Increasing northwesterly wind, with intermittent rain in afternoon. Around were a Short-eared Owl and 40 Jays. Heading north at sea were 23 Gannets.
  The weather restricted the morning ringing catch in East Dunes to just 6 birds, including a Blackcap, a Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting.

22nd May: Around were 2 Buzzards, 2 Wheatears, 50 Jays and 9 Turtle Doves. Flying south were a Marsh Harrier during the day and a ringtail Montagu's Harrier over the beach in the evening.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was quite productive. The new birds were 10 Jays, a Willow Warbler, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Linnets, 3 Reed Buntings, a Sedge Warbler and 2 Swallows. The retraps were 4 Whitethroats, 3 Dunnocks, a Reed Bunting, 2 Wrens and a Song Thrush. Additionally a British-ringed Chaffinch was controlled.
  The year total of Jays ringed at Gibraltar Point is now 37. Since the irruption began last October 55 Jays have been ringed here, amazing when you consider that only 25 were ringed in the previous 63 years - from 1949 to 2011!
  A simultaneous ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was less productive, with 7 birds processed, including 2 Sedge Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Whitethroat and a Swallow.




Female Swallow with one retained old inner secondary on each wing. Ringed on 22nd May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.
Noisy Jay - the avian equivalent of a Dalek. Ringed 22nd May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
 
21st May: The Great White Egret was still on Jackson's Marsh. Around was a Tree Pipit. Sea-watching produced 3 Guillemots, 9 Arctic Terns, 17 Common Terns, 8 Commic Terns and 5 Gannets north, 2 Gannets south, and a Red-throated Diver and 2 Great Crested Grebes on the sea. A Temminck's Stint showed well on the Fenland Lagoon this evening.
  A wind-restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes resulted in just 2 Whitethroats being caught.


Great White Egret on Jackson's Marsh on 21st May 2013
Photo - Paul Neale

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