Friday, 11 October 2013

Mid October 2013

October 20th: Increasing southerly wind, mostly cloudy, occasional light rain.
 Around were 2 Richard's Pipit, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Peregrine and a Green Woodpecker. On the Mere were 56 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Spotted Redshank. Heading south were 8 Brambling, 5 Siskin, 18 Rock Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, 129 Woodpigeon, a Rook, 4 Swallow, a House Martin, 22 Skylark, a Crossbill and 278 Goldfinch.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was better than yesterday's one. The new birds were 4 Goldcrests, a Brambling, a Goldfinch and 4 Blackbirds; while the retraps were 2 Goldcrests, 2 Robins, a Dunnock and a Blue Tit.
  Meanwhile at Aylmer Avenue a longer ringing session by David and Liv Vincent resulted in 29 new birds and 26 retraps. The new birds were 9 Greenfinch, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Blackbird, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 2 Blue Tit and singles of Great Tit, Song Thrush, Blackcap and Lesser Redpoll. The retraps were 9 Greenfinch, 4 Robin, 3 Great Tit, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Blackbird and a Dunnock.

October 19th: Moderate SSE wind, cloudy, damp start, occasional rain.
  Birds around included the Great White Egret on New Saltmarsh, 2 Hen Harrier, a Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, a Merlin, an Arctic Skua, a Yellow-browed Warbler near North Car Park, a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Snow Bunting and a Lapland Bunting. On the Mere were a Kingfisher, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Bar-tailed Godwit. Flying south were a Richard's Pipit, 2 Swallow, 11 Crossbill, 100+ Goldfinch, a Yellowhammer and 70 Pink-footed Geese; and west 6 Barnacle Geese.

  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was disappointing. The news were 2 Goldcrests and a Song Thrush, and the retraps 2 Robins, 4 Goldcrests and a Great Tit.
  Meanwhile at Aylmer Avenue there was an all day ringing session carried out by Mick Briggs, helped for the late morning and afternoon part of the day by Molly Heal (George Gregory's new trainee). The result was 69 new birds and 31 retraps. The new birds were 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Wren, 2 Dunnock, 3 Robin, 4 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 4 Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, 3 Great Tit, 4 Chaffinch, 22 Greenfinch and 13 Goldfinch. The retraps were made up of the usual suspects of tits and finches from the feeding station.
 
  There has clearly been a huge clear out of birds since last weekend including 95% of the Robins and thrushes. Finch passage seems to have practically stopped with just Goldfinches on the move in a modest number. Hopefully we will have another block of easterlies before long which will hopefully bring with it more migrants.

October 18th: Light south-east wind, cloudy.
  A Great White Egret flew south over Old Saltmarsh, landed briefly on New Saltmarsh, then flew off south-west down the Wash. It reappeared later. Visible migration south continued, with a Hawfinch, 25 Tree Sparrow and 9 Swallow being notable. Birds around included 2 Great Grey Shrike, a Richard's Pipit, a Firecrest and a Buzzard Spp. A Merlin tried to attack one of the Great Grey Shrikes, which flew off west.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced moderate results. The new birds were 3 Goldcrest, 3 Dunnock, 4 Robin, a Reed Bunting, 4 Great Tit, a Blue Tit, 2 Song Thrush and 3 Blackbird. The retraps were a Wren, a Dunnock, a Robin, a Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest and 2 Great Tit.
  Meanwhile at Aylmer Avenue, Gibraltar Point Bird Observatory Team Member Mike Polling tried a long ringing session. The results were pretty good with 68 new birds and 30 retraps. The new birds were 3 Wren, 5 Dunnock, 6 Robin, 9 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Redwing, 4 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Great Tit, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 18 Greenfinch and 6 Goldfinch. The retraps were made up of the usual suspects, mainly from the feeding station.

October 17th: Moderate south-westerly wind, generally clear.
  After a clear night even more of the landed migrants had moved on. Around were a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Great Grey Shrike, a Long-eared Owl, a Hen Harrier, a Pied Flycatcher, a Woodcock, a late Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff.
  Visible migration was again good, birds flying south including a Great Grey Shrike, a Woodlark, a Hawfinch, a Common Buzzard, 119 Swallow, 36 Rock Pipit, 85 Goldfinch, 36 Brambling, 52 Siskin, 36 Tree Sparrow, a Lapland Bunting, 3 Yellowhammer, 2 Grey Wagtail, 86 Skylark, 6 Rook, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 Mistle Thrush and 80 Redpoll. Heading to Norfolk were 168 Pink-footed Geese.
  The catch on a morning ringing session in East Dunes was small, but probably reflected what was present. The news were 2 Goldcrest, a Robin, a Song Thrush and 3 Blackbird. The retraps were 9 Goldcrest, a Wren, a Blackbird and a Robin.
  An evening roost catch at Aylmer Avenue, in near perfect conditions, apart from a nearly full moon, resulted in 12 new birds and 4 retraps. The new birds were 7 Blackbird, 2 Robin, 1 Blackcap, a Swallow (possibly the latest ever ringed at Gibraltar Point) and a Tawny Owl (the first full-grown bird of the year).
First-year Tawny Owl ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 17th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
October 16th: Moderate south-east wind, cloudy, rain early afternoon.
 Almost all of yesterday's landed thrushes, Robins, Goldcrests and other migrants had moved on, following an often clear night. The best birds around were a Richard's Pipit, a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Great Grey Shrike and a Hawfinch. Also around were a Merlin, a Kingfisher, a Green Woodpecker, 18 Goldcrests and 6 Chiffchaffs. A Long-eared Owl was found dead under an Elder in East Dunes. It weighed 162g, and its pectoral muscle and fat scores were both 0. This possibly indicated exhaustion after flying a long way across the North Sea. The body will be sent off for post-mortem analysis.
 Visible migration was prominent, with many birds flying south, including another Hawfinch, 420 Goldfinches, 67 Siskins, 52 Bramblings, 140 Greenfinches, 34 Skylarks, 8 Swallows, 242 Woodpigeons, 118 Starlings, 32 Rock Pipits, 6 Barnacle Geese and 7 Rooks. Heading west were 44 Pink-footed Geese, and east 14 Fieldfares.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced modest results. The new birds were 2 Goldcrest, a Dunnock, 2 Robin, 4 Reed Bunting, 4 Blackcap, a Goldfinch, 6 Redwing, a Song Thrush, 4 Blackbird and 3 Jay. The retraps were 3 Goldcrest, 5 Robin, a Redwing, a Dunnock, a Blackcap and a Blue Tit. It remains to be seen whether the 3 Jay represent the beginning of another irruption.
  Very kindly, Graham Catley sent us some pictures of the Richard's Pipit, that he took yesterday. Please scroll down to October 15th to view the images.
  If you scroll down to the pictures of Sunday, October 13th, you will see a picture of the Spotted Crake on the Mere from Russell Hayes, and also a picture of one of the Jack Snipes on the Mere from Gerry Stud of the East Berkshire RSPB Group.
  Thanks very much to all who have contributed the excellent pictures of some of the stars of the last week at Gibraltar Point.

Jay, ringed 16th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Long-eared Owl, found dead 16th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Long-eared Owl, found dead 16th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
October 15th: Moderate variable wind, mostly cloudy.
 Around, including birds trapped, were a Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Richard's Pipit, 2 Great Grey Shrike, a Pied Flycatcher, a Hen Harrier, a Marsh Harrier, 6 Ring Ouzel, 50 Brambling, a Green Woodpecker and a Woodcock.
 A prolonged ringing session in East Dunes was productive. The 122 new birds ringed were 21 Goldcrest, 4 Wren, 3 Chiffchaff, 10 Long-tailed Tit, 24 Robin, 9 Dunnock, 6 Blackcap, 3 Goldfinch, 6 Reed Bunting, a Swallow, 3 Greenfinch, 12 Redwing, 8 Song Thrush, 7 Blackbird, 2 Fieldfare, a Great Grey Shrike (just the 12th for the Observatory), a Woodcock and a Sparrowhawk. The retraps were 9 Robin, a Wren, 6 Goldcrest, a Blackbird, a Dunnock and a Redwing.
  An all day ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by visiting ringers Mick Pearson and Kev Hemsley was also productive, using half the nets, although including the feeding station, and finishing just before roost time, resulted in 116 new birds ringed and around 60 retraps. The new birds were - 5 Dunnock, 16 Robin, 2 Ring Ouzel, 17 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 3 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 18 Goldcrest, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, 8 Chaffinch, 6 Brambling, 26 Greenfinch and 8 Goldfinch.


 
Richard's Pipit - 15th October 2013 © Graham Catley



Richard's Pipit - 15th October 2013 © Graham Catley 

Woodcock, ringed 15th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Great Grey Shrike, ringed 15th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Sparrowhawk, ringed 15th October 2013.
Photo - Jenni Godber
October 14th: Decreasing easterly wind, mostly cloudy, wet start then rain cleared.
  The best birds around were 2 Richard's Pipit, 2 Great Grey Shrike, a Grey Phalarope, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler, a Woodlark, a Black Redstart, 30 Ring Ouzel, 3 Barnacle Geese, a Kingfisher, a Green Woodpecker and 2 Jack Snipe.  On the Mere were a White-rumped Sandpiper, 9 Black-tailed Godwit, a Jack Snipe, a Greenshank and a Whimbrel over. Other birds around or south were 2500 Redwing, 250 Fieldfare, 3 Crossbill, 14 Mistle Thrush, 90 Brambling and 50 Siskin.  Flying south were 9 Swallow and 8 Reed Bunting. At sea 2 Leach's Petrel and 3 Little Gull flew north.

  A delayed and restricted ringing session in East Dunes was successful. The 71 new birds were a Wren, 4 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 9 Blackcap, 30 Robin, a Dunnock, 5 Reed Bunting, 5 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush and 6 Blackbird, while the retraps were 3 Goldcrest and 2 Robin.
  With the wind calming to almost a dead still, an evening roost catch at Aylmer Avenue by Mick Briggs resulted in the best roost catch total at Aylmer Avenue in some years, despite there seeming to be very few birds about half an hour before sunset whilst the nets were opened. There were 81 birds caught - 77 new birds and 4 retraps. The new birds were 5 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 6 Blackcap, 2 Dunnock, 27 Robin, 1 Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, 23 Blackbird and 1 Ring Ouzel. The retraps were 2 Goldcrest, 1 Robin and 1 Great Tit.

October 13th: A horrible start to the day with a strong north-easterly wind and driving rain. However, birds were clearly present in good numbers, obviously grounded by the rough conditions.
  The road through the reserve was covered at first light with birds hunkering down out of the wind. The weather moderated late morning.
  Around, including birds trapped, were a flyover Hawfinch, a Pallas's Warbler (East Dunes), 3 Firecrest, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler (1 ringed in East Dunes and 1 at Sykes Farm), a Bluethroat (East Dunes), 1 Snow Bunting, 3 Redstart, 1 Marsh Harrier, at least 4 Great Grey Shrikes  (2 between Storm Ridge and Wash Viewpoint, 1 East Dunes Central and 1 on the Freshwater Marsh), a Spotted Crake (on the Mere early afternoon and well watched by an appreciative crowd!) along with 3 Jack Snipe. There were many Goldcrests, Robins and thrushes arriving all day with many moving off inland (numbers to be tallied up).
  South went 260 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Swallow and 4 House Martin.
  Sea watching produced 380 Gannet north, 8 Great Skua north & 13 south, 4 Leach's Petrel north, a remarkable 3 Storm Petrels north (a new Gibraltar Point record), 2 Velvet Scoter north, 1 Scaup south, 1 Manx Shearwater north, 1 Artic Skua north, 2 juvenile Pomarine Skuas north and 1 juvenile south, 9 Skua spp (Mostly Pomarine/Arctic but 1 probably a juvenile Long-tailed Skua).

 A much-delayed and restricted ringing session in East Dunes was productive with 79 new birds ringed. The new birds were 2 Chiffchaff, 41 Goldcrest, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 18 Robin, 6 Song Thrush, 3 Redwing and 6 Blackbird; and the retraps were a Robin, 2 Goldcrest and 2 Blue Tit.

  Birds recorded flying south or west at Aylmer Avenue were - 500 Redwing, 200 Song Thrush, 90 Fieldfare, 200 Blackbird, 24 Ring Ouzel, 2 Swallow, 100 Goldfinch, 20 Chaffinch, 110 Brambling and 90 Redpoll spp. Landed birds around Aylmer Avenue included 200 Redwing, 90 Song Thrush, 20 Fieldfare, 220 Blackbird, 12 Ring Ouzel, 30 Blackcap, 20 Chiffchaff, 200 Goldcrest, 170 Robin and 40 Brambling,
  Meanwhile at Aylmer Avenue, ringers were waiting to go from first light but had to wait until 11am to get nets open. The total for the day was 314 new birds ringed! The new birds were - 1 Kestrel, 13 Dunnock, 56 Robin, 1 Redstart, 7 Ring Ouzel (Believed to be a new day record for the Observatory), 63 Blackbird, 1 Fieldfare, 18 Song Thrush, 20 Redwing, 6 Blackcap, 20 Chiffchaff, 58 Goldcrest, 2 Great Tit, 7 Chaffinch, 10 Brambling, 17 Greenfinch, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin and 6 Common Redpoll!
  Possible the best bird of the day though in ringing terms was a Chiffchaff - wearing a "Riks Museum - Stockholm" ring from Sweden (what a cracking bird!)

  The weather forecast for the whole of next week is practically identical to this weekend - Easterlies and associated showers with heavier rain, often after dark. This looks like it could be an incredible week to follow an incredible weekend, probably the best weekend of the last decade at least!
Jack Snipe on the Mere on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Gerry Studd

A distant Spotted Crake on the Mere on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Russell Hayes



Ring Ouzels No.3, 4, 5 & 6 ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 13th October 2013.
(Two females on the left and two males on the right)
Photo - Mick Briggs
Common Redpoll ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Another Common Redpoll ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs 
Ring Ouzels No.1 & 2 (both first-year males) ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
First-year male Fieldfare ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
First-year female Kestrel ringed on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Liv Vincent
First-year female Redstart ringed on 13th October 2013.
Photo - Liv Vincent
Yellow-browed Warbler, ringed 13th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

October 12th: The day started of with a good breeze from the north-east, accompanied by some light drizzle, then the north-easterly wind unexpectedly moderated and the drizzle mostly held off until 2pm, at which point the precipitation started to get heavier and heavier.  As predicted yesterday afternoon an amazing day on the reserve with thousands of migrants, including large numbers of thrushes arriving throughout the day with smaller birds such as Goldcrests and Robins arriving in large numbers from midday onwards.

  Birds around, excluding Aylmer Avenue, including those trapped, included a Pallas's Warbler, a Yellow-browed Warbler, 59 Chiffchaff, 3 Jack Snipe, a Richards Pipit, 2 Black Redstart, a Great Grey Shrike (and possibly a second bird), 55 Ring Ouzel (including a flock of 7 and a flock of 12 in off the sea), 2 Common Redpoll, a Lesser Whitethroat, 50 Blackcap, 2 Lapland Bunting, 2 Snow Bunting (Including one on Mill Pond Road), 2 Woodcock, 2 Firecrest (Beach Car Park and East Dunes). There were large numbers of Redwing (3000+ James Siddle), Song Thrush (400+ James S.), Fieldfare (40+ James S.), Goldcrest, Robin and Blackbird with final numbers to be tallied up.
  Flying south-east was a Red-throated Pipit (at 12.29 calling four times, heard by at least four experienced observers whilst waiting for views of the Pallas's Warbler); and south 4 Swallows, 8 Mistle Thrush, and 170 Brambling.
  At sea, 114 Gannet, 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 48 Little Gull, 2 Arctic Tern, 21 Great Skua, 2 Arctic Skua, 8 Pomarine Skua and 2 Long-tailed Skua went north. Southwards went 3 Gannet, a juvenile Pomarine Skua at 1pm and 26 Pink-footed Geese.

  A delayed ringing session in East Dunes was unexpectedly productive, with 145 new birds ringed. The new birds were 31 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff, a Pallas's Warbler (just the 5th for the Observatory, and the first since 2008), 56 Robin, 3 Reed Bunting, 9 Blackcap, a Dunnock, 12 Song Thrush, 17 Redwing, 9 Blackbird and a Great Grey Shrike (just the 11th for the Observatory); while a Wren was retrapped; and a there was a control Blackcap with a Stavanger Museum, Norway ring.

 At Aylmer Avenue, the morning was very busy, but from midday onwards the feeding station was closed due to an increasingly obvious arrival of small migrants, in particular Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests, accompanied by large numbers of Robins. The rest of the nets were then used until just before the rain started again around 2pm. The result was 250 new birds ringed and just 3 retraps.
  Exact totals of the new birds were - a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Wren, 4 Dunnock, 66 Robin, a Ring Ouzel, 35 Blackbird, 19 Song Thrush, 25 Redwing, 10 Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaff, 21 Goldcrest, 2 Blue Tit, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Brambling, 33 Greenfinch, 5 Goldfinch and 10 Lesser Redpoll (the first ones of the year). The retraps were a Dunnock, a Kingfisher and a Coal Tit.

  Birds on the move at Aylmer Avenue, heading mainly south or west, included 800 Redwing, 30 Fieldfare, 27 Ring Ouzel, 200 Song Thrush, 10 Mistle Thrush, 200 Blackbird, 40 Brambling, 20 Chaffinch, 20 Greenfinch, 120 Goldfinch, 10 Siskin and 30 Redpoll sp. Whilst birds grounded by the conditions, including a large arrival after lunchtime, involved 300+ Goldcrest, 30+ Chiffchaff, 350+ Robin, 2 Woodcock (flushed whilst on net rounds) and 5 Ring Ouzel.
Pallas's Warbler ringed at the Observatory on 12th October 2013.
Photo - James Siddle
Great Grey Shrike at the Observatory on 12th October 2013.
Photo - James Siddle
Bramblings on the path near the Mere Hide on 12th October 2013.
Photo - James Siddle
First-year male Ring Ouzel ringed on 12th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
First-year male Ring Ouzel ringed on 12th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Great Grey Shrike, ringed 12th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
October 11th: Strong north-easterly wind, cloudy, occasional spells of light rain.
  A great day on the reserve today with the wind switching to an easterly direction. Birds started to pour onto the coast from early morning with more arriving throughout the day.
  Around, including birds trapped, were a Richard's Pipit on New Saltmarsh east of Sleeper Track along with 4 Jack Snipe, a Firecrest, 6 Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff, 37 Ring Ouzel (there were 15 in a single flock including adult males), 20 Brambling and 25 Robin. Heading south or inland were 3500 Redwing, 30 Fieldfare and 140 Song Thrush. On the Mere were 2 Spotted Redshank. At sea were 8 Pomarine Skua (including 2 adults), while other birds north were a Long-tailed Skua, 2 Storm Petrel, 38 Great Skua, 9 Arctic Skua and 13 Little Gull; and south 6 Great Skua and 2 Scaup.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes, with just the sheltered nets, was productive. The 83 new birds were a Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 4 Blackcap, 9 Robin, a Brambling, 41 Redwing, 9 Song Thrush, 11 Blackbird and a Ring Ouzel; and the retraps were a Great Tit and a Wren.

 With north-easterly winds and accompanied rain, tomorrow looks like it could be great day on the reserve with the possibility of a fall highly likely. If you are undecided about coming to the reserve tomorrow, GET DOWN HERE BIRDING! It could be an amazing day!

Brambling, ringed 11th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Ring Ouzel, ringed 11th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

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