Saturday, 11 May 2013

Mid May 2013

20th May: An incredible day for the reserve! On Jackson's Marsh there appeared a Great White Egret, and on Tennyson Sands a drake Garganey. Raptors included a Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard. Around were 3 Wheatears.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced few birds, but new ones included a Red-breasted Flycatcher - this has to be the surprise of the year in ringing terms! This is the 12th ringed for the Observatory ever with the last one caught being way back on the 24th October 1993 - 20 years ago! All the previous records of ringed birds at the Observatory came from mid September to mid October, so to get a spring bird caught and ringed was totally off the charts! There were also 2 Tree Pipits, a Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting ringed whilst the retraps included a Whitethroat, a Song Thrush and a Reed Bunting.


Red-breasted Flycatcher ringed on 20th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory


Red-breasted Flycatcher ringed on 20th May 2013.
Just the 12th for the Observatory ever!
Photo - George Gregory


Tree Pipit ringed on 20th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
 
19th May: A Common Rosefinch was seen singing near Greenshanks Creek. Around were a Spoonbill, a Pied Flycatcher, a Whinchat, a Wheatear, 27 Jays, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Marsh Harrier. Flying south were 3 more Marsh Harriers.
  During a morning ringing session in East Dunes new birds were an acredula-type Willow Warbler, a Whinchat, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap and a Meadow Pipit, and the retraps 2 Whitethroats.
  The 2nd session of CES was done this morning, with a total of 19 birds processed, which was much better than the 1st session's total of 5 birds. The 9 new birds were 2 Chiffchaffs, a Wren, 3 Whitethroats, a Reed Warbler and 2 Lesser Whitethroats. The retraps were 3 Chaffinches, a Whitethroat, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Dunnocks, a Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler and a Blackbird.
  Other nets at Aylmer Avenue produced 9 other birds trapped, namely a Chiffchaff, a Whitethroat, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Reed Warbler, a Robin and a Lesser Whitethroat.

Acredula-type Willow Warbler ringed on 19th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Male Whinchat ringed on 19th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

18th May: An arrival of migrants featured a Ring Ouzel, a Pied Flycatcher, a Whinchat and 2 Redstarts. On Jackson's Marsh was a Red-breasted Merganser. At nightfall a female Nightjar hunted near the reserve.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonably productive. New birds were a Redstart, a Pied Flycatcher, 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Blackcaps, and retraps 3 Whitethroats, 3 Meadow Pipits and a Blue Tit. The Pied Flycatcher was a real turn up for the observatory with the last spring bird ringed being back on 10th May 2006, indeed there was only one spring bird in the whole of the 1990s and just three in the whole of the 1980s. Hopefully 2013 will turn out to be a great year for this jewel of the bird world!
  An afternoon ringing session at Aylmer Avenue provided higher numbers, the best birds being a new Swallow (1st of the year) and a Foreign Control Sedge Warbler with a Paris Museum ring.
Foreign control Sedge Warbler caught on the 18th May 2013 wearing a Paris Museum ring!
Photo - Mick Briggs
Foreign control Sedge Warbler caught on the 18th May 2013 wearing a Paris Museum ring!
Photo - Mick Briggs
The first Swallow ringed in 2013, an adult male on 18th May.
Photo - Mick Briggs


Male Redstart ringed on 18th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory


Female Pied Flycatcher ringed on 18th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

17th May: A Bluethroat was seen at the south end of East Dunes in the afternoon.  Flying north offshore were 205 Commic Terns, 51 Common Terns, 64 Arctic Terns, 26 Sandwich Terns, 21 Gannets, a Red-throated Diver, a Black-throated Diver, a Puffin, 4 Great Skuas and a Pomarine Skua. Other notables around were a Greenshank, 14 Little Terns and a Cuckoo.
 A wind-shortened ringing session in East Dunes this morning provided few birds, the new ones being a Willow Warbler, a Chaffinch, a Meadow Pipit and a Whitethroat, and the retraps 2 Whitethroats.

16th May: A Spoonbill appeared on Jackson's Marsh late afternoon. Grounded migrants included a Tree Pipit, 35 Jays, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and 6 Sedge Warblers. A light raptor passage from midday resulted in a Common Buzzard flying north and a ring-tail Hen Harrier south.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was moderately productive, new birds including a Jay (the 27th of the year), a Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers, a Song Thrush, a Reed Bunting and 2 Meadow Pipits. New birds on a simultaneous session at Aylmer Avenue included 2 Reed Warblers, a Willow Warbler and 4 Whitethroats, and retraps 3 Whitethroats, 2 Sedge Warblers and 2 Willow Warblers. The Spotted Flycatcher was a reminder of last year's two birds caught in May. Let us hope that 2013 doesn't turn out to be like 2012, when we only caught one through the whole autumn migration period!
  The first Brimstone and Orange-tip butterflies of the year were noted today.
                                                                                                      

Spotted Flycatcher ringed on 16th May 2013.
Photo - Nigel Judson
15th May: Very windy, with occasional rain. There was a steady passage of Swifts throughout the day, with at least 200 birds flying south. Also on the move were a Hobby, 100 Swallows and 50 House Martins.  The spring record of Arctic Terns was smashed today, with an incredible 450 birds flying south offshore in just 90 minutes! A Yellow-legged Gull flew over Tennyson Sands late afternoon.
  No ringing was possible, but the bushes have leafed up noticeably in the last day or so.

14th May: On Tennyson Sands was a Mediterranean Gull. Around were a Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtails. Flying south offshore were 60 Little Terns, 10 Sandwich Terns, 11 Common Terns, 128 Arctic Terns, 122 'Commic' Terns, and a single Arctic Skua.
  No ringing was attempted this morning. A lot of rain is forecast for the next 24 hours - not good for birding, but fine for helping the bushes leaf up.

13th May: On the reserve were 3 Marsh Harriers, a Cuckoo, a Jay and a Short-eared Owl. Offshore 79 Arctic Terns flew south.
  Still windy. A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just 1 new Chiffchaff and 2 retrap Whitethroats.

12th May: On the reserve were 35 Jays, a Peregrine, a Merlin, a Cuckoo and 2 Turtle Doves. Flying south were 130 Swallows, 30 Swifts and 2 Sand Martins. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling near Mill Hill early morning.
  Again few birds were trapped in a morning ringing session in East Dunes, but new birds included a Jay, a Whitethroat and a Chaffinch, and the retraps another Jay.

11th May: Around were a Hobby, a Tree Pipit, a Marsh Harrier, 30 Jays, 4 Cuckoos, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and 6 Whimbrels.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes provided 3 new Jays, plus a small number of Whitethroats and Blackcaps. The new Jay year total is 25 and counting.
  During this spring up to 100 Jays have been flying around the reserve here, possibly intending to fly (back?) across the North Sea. However, most days they seem to circle around, following the coast north or south, then heading inland for further circuits. Whether any actually attempt the crossing remains unknown.





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