Friday, 21 June 2013

Late June 2013

June 30th: An immature male Golden Oriole sang briefly and was seen in the Plantation. Around was a Marsh Harrier. Flying south were 2 Whimbrels, 30 Curlews and 5 Swifts.
 New birds trapped in a morning ringing session in East Dunes were single juveniles each of Dunnock, Meadow Pipit, Whitethroat and Blue Tit. The retraps were 2 Whitethroats. This year in East Dunes 80 juveniles of various species have been trapped and ringed so far, showing that there has been a fair degree of successful breeding there.
 All nets have now been taken down in East Dunes, to allow grazing by our Dexter cattle for a few weeks.
 The 6th session of CES was done this morning, and was very productive. The 40 new birds were 2 Chiffchaffs, 6 Long-tailed Tits, a Willow Warbler, 10 Great Tits, a Blackcap, a Robin, 6 Whitethroats, 8 Blue Tits, a Sedge Warbler, 2 Dunnocks, a Swallow and a Goldfinch. Most of these were juveniles, which is encouraging. The 16 retraps were a Robin, a Dunnock, 2 Great Tits, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Wren, 4 Blue Tits, 4 Long-tailed Tits and a Whitethroat. The other nets at Aylmer Avenue provided a Yellowhammer, many Greenfinches and other finches, and a few others.

June 29th: A fairly quiet day. A Black Redstart was around the Field Station, a favourite haunt. Offshore were 60 Sandwich Terns. On Jackson's Marsh were 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Green Sandpiper, and on Tennyson Sands a Ruff, 2 Green Sandpipers, a Pintail, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls. South flew 50 Swifts, a Greenshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 120 Curlews and a Whimbrel.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was less productive than yesterday. The news were a juvenile Whitethroat and adult males each of Linnet and Blackcap, while there were 5 usual retraps.

June 28th: On the beach was a first-summer Yellow-legged Gull, and offshore were 60 Sandwich Terns. On Jackson's Marsh were 2 Green Sandpipers, and on Tennyson Sands a Ruff and a Glaucous Gull x Herring Gull-type hybrid. Heading south were 750 Swifts, 6 Sand Martins, a House Martin, 5 Whimbrels, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Grey Herons.
 More new juveniles were ringed in a morning ringing session in East Dunes, namely 3 Dunnocks, a Whitethroat, a Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting. An adult female Blackcap was also new, and there were 3 retrap Whitethroats.

Juvenile Reed Bunting ringed 28th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
June 27th: On Jackson's Marsh was a Green Sandpiper, and on Tennyson Sands a Ruff, a Sandwich Tern, a second-summer Mediterranean Gull and a Pintail. Offshore was a Little Gull. A Black-tailed Godwit and 12 Crossbills flew south.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was quite productive for June. The 15 new birds were an adult female Reed Bunting, and the following juveniles: a Long-tailed Tit, 4 Whitethroats, 3 Dunnocks, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, a Blue Tit and a Robin. The retraps were 4 Long-tailed Tits, a Blue Tit and a Dunnock.

Juvenile Long-tailed Tit ringed 27th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

June 26th: Cloudy start, then warm. On Tennyson Sands were a Ruff and a Pintail, and on Jackson's Marsh a Green Sandpiper and a Snipe. Around were 2 Brent Geese and a Turnstone.
 New juveniles trapped in a morning ringing session in East Dunes were a Reed Bunting, 3 Whitethroats, a Chaffinch, a Meadow Pipit and a Linnet, while new adults were a male Blackcap and a Whitethroat. There were 6 usual retraps.
 The recent high tides have covered most of New Saltmarsh and part of South Marsh Road.

High tide over New Saltmarsh, 26th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
High tide starting to cover part of South Marsh Road, 26th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

June 25th: A Great White Egret was briefly on Roadside Pond, then on Jackson's Marsh, before flying off. Also on Jackson's Marsh was a Green Sandpiper, and on Tennyson Sands were a Sandwich Tern and a Greenshank. Around were a Hobby, a Jay and a Crossbill.
 More emerging juveniles were caught in a morning ringing session in East Dunes, namely a Chiffchaff, 7 Whitethroats and a Dunnock. Also trapped was a new adult Meadow Pipit, and there were 7 usual retraps.
 The Southerm Marsh Orchids are in full flower now.



Southern Marsh Orchids, 25th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

June 24th: Less strong southwesterly wind. Hundreds of Swifts moved south. A Green Woodpecker was heard yaffling near Aylmer Avenue. On Jackson's Marsh were a Ruff and a Green Sandpiper, and on Tennyson Sands a Pintail and a Sandwich Tern. Around were a Hobby and a Redpoll.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced 5 new birds: single adult females of Blackcap and Whitethroat with brood patches, and single juveniles of Dunnock and Lesser Whitethroat; the 4 retraps were an adult male Blackcap, and single juveniles of Chaffinch, Whitethroat and Dunnock. The Blackcaps appear to be a breeding pair; perhaps some juveniles will emerge soon.
 The Pyramidal Orchids appear to be late this year, but are flowering well now.

Pyramidal Orchid, 24th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
June 23rd: Increasingly strong southwesterly wind, occasional rain from mid morning. Again, thousands of Swifts went south. On Tennyson Sands were a Mediterranean Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull.
  A weather-restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes yielded a new adult Whitethroat, a moulting adult male Sparrowhawk (primary moult score 8), and a retrap juvenile Lesser Whitethroat, which had just commenced post-juvenile moult.
  A longer ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was more productive, as usual recently, since the feeders attract in mostly juvenile finches and other species. There were 22 new birds including 2 Chiffchaffs, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Swift! (the first since 1981!), and 26 retraps - the usual finches, tits and others.

Adult Swift ringed on 23rd June 2013, the first for 32 years.
Photo - Dave Vincent


Adult male Sparrowhawk, ringed 23rd June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory



Second-summer Yellow-legged Gull, 23rd June 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound

June 22nd: Quite strong southwesterly wind, rainy start. About 4000 Swifts and a Hobby flew south. On Tennyson Sands was a Pintail.
  The weather prevented any ringing.

June 21st: The Summer Solstice, but not very summery. Damp start, cloudy, occasional spots of rain. A Green Sandpiper was on Jackson's Marsh. Around were 2 Jays. Heading south were 15 Swifts.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes provided a Jay (the 43rd of the year) and a Dunnock as new birds, and 3 usual retraps.
  A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue, from mid morning, was more productive. The new birds were a juvenile Siskin (dispersed from where?), 10 Greenfinches, 3 Goldfinches, 3 Chaffinches, a Blue Tit, a Dunnock and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The retraps were 3 Chaffinches, a Goldfinch and a Greenfinch. Almost all of these birds were juveniles, showing that finches in particular are producing fair numbers of young.


Jay ringed 21st June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Juvenile Siskin ringed 21st June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Mid June 2013

June 20th: Easterly wind, mild. Jackson's Marsh held a Green Sandpiper, and Tennyson Sands 14 Teals. Flying south were 2 Swifts.
 An adult Marsh Warbler was trapped and ringed in a morning ringing session in East Dunes. This is just the second Marsh Warbler ever ringed at the Observatory, with the first one on the 2nd June 2011. Thus a picture of their expected capture dates is already emerging - June! It was somewhat less well marked than the one trapped two years ago, but showed all the plumage and exposed part features compared to Reed Warbler: more olive upperparts, paler underparts, quite prominent eye-ring, pale crescentic tips to primaries, longer primary extension, more pale on lower mandible, paler legs, pale on claws. The biometrics confirmed the identification: notch on P2=9.5mm and =P7, wing=71mm, The notch length and notch/wing ratio easily exclude Reed Warbler.
 Otherwise, 2 Dunnocks and 3 Whitethroats were trapped.

Adult Marsh Warbler ringed 20th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
June 19th: Light winds, muggy, hay fever time. On Tennyson Sands were a Ruff, a Kittiwake and a Pintail.
  Two family groups were trapped in a morning ringing session in East Dunes. These were 2 retrap adult and 5 new juvenile Long-tailed Tits, and 1 retrap adult and 7 new juvenile Great Tits. Other new juveniles were singles each of Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin and Skylark. This is the first Skylark ringed since the 13th Sep 2008! A Chaffinch and 2 Dunnocks were the other retraps.

Juvenile Skylark ringed 19th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
June 18th: Moderate northeast wind. A Green Woodpecker was heard yaffling. A Montagu's Harrier and an unseasonal Whooper Swan flew east towards Norfolk. On Tennyson Sands were a Ruff and a Pintail, and on Jackson's Marsh 8 Black-tailed Godwits. Around were 2 Brent Geese and 10 Sandwich Terns.
  Again little was caught on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The only new bird was a juvenile Dunnock, and the retraps were a Blackcap, 2 Dunnocks, a Whitethroat and a Wren.

June 17th: A much calmer day after all the wind and rain. The male Ruff lingered on Tennyson Sands.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just a new juvenile Chaffinch, and 5 usual retraps. After many days' work, the paths and net rides around the Heligoland trap and on Storm Ridge are almost completely sheared.
  A singing male Grasshopper Warbler was caught late afternoon followed by the finding and ringing of a brood of very cute Reed Bunting chicks - four in total. The last brood of Blue Tits was ringed in the Sykes Farm area and whilst there, the Mistle Thrush nest was checked and the two chicks within it were ringed.
  Chris Robinson has kindly sent us his photographs of a singing male Common Rosefinch that was in East Dunes earlier this month. Apparently it takes at least two years for a male Common Rosefinch to develop the full red markings, so females and immature males have similar plumages.
Grasshopper Warbler No.7 for 2013 ringed on 17th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Singing not-full-adult-plumage male Common Rosefinch, June 2013.
Photo - Chris Robinson
Singing not-full-adult-plumage male Common Rosefinch, June 2013.
Photo - Chris Robinson
June 16th: On Tennyson Sands were a Little Gull, a Ruff, a Mediterranean Gull and a Spotted Redshank. There was a continued movement of Swifts, with about 300 south from early over the observatory, interspersed with about 40 House Martins and a Sand Martin. At Aylmer Avenue there was also an early tight-flying group of 72 Swifts south at 4.15am over the West Dunes, whilst later at 6.30am there were about 140 feeding around the sheltered north side of Aylmer Avenue before eventually moving off to the south. a Marsh Harrier was around.
  More juveniles emerged and were caught in a ringing session in East Dunes this morning: 3 Whitethroats and a Dunnock. The retraps were a Great Tit, 2 Dunnocks and a Whitethroat.
  A longer session at Aylmer Avenue from before 4am until late afternoon, and including C.E.S. session number 5, had mixed results. The C.E.S. was a misery and produced just 2 new Chiffchaffs, a retrap Dunnock originally ringed in 2007!, and a retrap Whitethroat. Perhaps the sun was too bright and the breeze too strong, so making the nets too visible to the birds?
  Other, more shaded, nets at Aylmer Avenue, though, were more successful, and provided 28 new birds and 20 retraps. The majority of these birds, especially the new ones, came from the feeding station and included 13 new Greenfinches, 8 Chaffinches and 2 Goldfinches - all fresh out of nests and very juvenile. Also caught at the feeding station was a very juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker with its Dad in the next net along. There was also a new juvenile Song Thrush, whilst the retraps included nearly a whole brood of Great Tits along with one of their parents ringed in a box at Sykes Farm some two weeks ago.
  Many hours were spent both yesterday and today brush-cutting and raking up the grass in the net rides, so keeping them in tip top shape condition ready for the inevitable increase in numbers of birds that will soon start. Autumn is just around the corner with the first migrants starting to move during July. The "Autumn Rush" is not far away!

Male Ruff on Tennyson Sands, 16th June 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound
Very juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker ringed on 16th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Juvenile Whitethroat, ringed on 16th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

June 15th: Increasing southerly wind, damp start. A Golden Oriole was seen flying over East Dunes. On Tennyson Sands were a Little Gull, 2 second-year Mediterranean Gulls, an adult Sandwich Tern, a Ruff and a second-year Kittiwake, and on Jackson's Marsh a Spotted Redshank and a Black-tailed Godwit. Around was a Marsh Harrier. About 200 Swifts went south.
 A number of newly-emerged juveniles were trapped on a restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes, namely 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Dunnock and a Stock Dove. The retraps were single adults each of Whitethroat, Dunnock and Blue Tit. A Privet Hawkmoth was found on the Observatory compound gate.

Juvenile Lesser Whitethroat, ringed on 15th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Juvenile Stock Dove, ringed on 15th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Privet Hawkmoth, 15th June 2015.
Photo - George Gregory

June 14th: Fairly strong southerly wind, damp start. About 100 Swifts flew south. Around were a Hobby, 2 Common Buzzards and a Jay. On Jackson's Marsh was a Green Sandpiper, and on Tennyson Sands the second-year Kittiwake remained.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just a new adult Reed Warbler, 2 new juvenile Dunnocks, and a retrap Whitethroat.

June 13th: Strong southerly wind, afternoon rain. Heading south were 2000 Swifts and a Hobby, and southwest a Red Kite. On Tennyson Sands were a second-year Mediterranean Gull and a second-year Kittiwake, and on Jackson's Marsh 15 Lapwings. Around were 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls.
 The weather again prevented any ringing.

June 12th: Fairly strong southerly wind, damp start, evening rain. Flying south were 1647 Swifts, 154 Swallows, 112 House Martins and a Hobby. Offshore were an Arctic Tern and 2 Common Terns. On Tennyson Sands were 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, and on Jackson's Marsh 2 Lapwings.
 No ringing was attempted.

June 11th: The wind shifted to the southeast and became light. South went 260 Swifts and 2 Lapwings. On Tennyson Sands were a second-year Little Gull, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Knot, a Kittiwake and 2 Barnacle Geese, and on Jackson's Marsh a Black-tailed Godwit.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced 2 new birds: a female Cuckoo and a juvenile Dunnock, and also a retrap Dunnock.
  The Cuckoo showed two generations of feathers in the secondaries, and had a small, wrinkled brood patch, about 2.5cm x 2cm. This must be a vestigial structure, since female Cuckoos do not brood, of course.
Female Cuckoo showing two generations of feathers in the secondaries, ringed on 11th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Early June 2013

June 10th: Lingering birds included a Kittiwake on Tennyson Sands and a Black-tailed Godwit on Jackson's Marsh. Around were a Marsh Harrier, a Hobby and a Corn Bunting.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced few birds. The news were an adult female Blackcap with a brood patch and an adult male Swallow, and the retraps a Whitethroat and 2 Dunnocks.
  An early evening session checking some more nest sites resulted in two broods of Jackdaws ringed - a brood of one and a brood of 3 which were very large and will probably be out of the nest in the next couple of days. Two very tall trees were climbed to check on suspected Sparrowhawk nests, just one of which was built this year and was empty! - perhaps they haven't laid yet or perhaps it is a decoy nest. More patient observations will be necessary as the male made a food pass to the female on Saturday, so she must be settled down somewhere close by and probably on eggs.
  A brood of 11 healthy Blue Tits pulli in a nest box were ringed, which is one of the largest broods recorded in recent years. Whilst walking around the cycle track near Sykes Farm, young Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, and Great Tits were seen very close by, being fed by their respective parents.
  One special treat was watching a newly fledged brood of Willow Warblers following their parents at very low level through the foliage along the cycle track near Jackson's Marsh. The youngsters numbered at least 7, with the parents making fast work of returning to them one after another, feeding them as fast as they could!
Female Mistle Thrush sitting tight on her nest on 10th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Young Jackdaw, 1 of 3 ringed in their nest-hole on 10th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
June 9th: On Jackson's Marsh was a Black-tailed Godwit, and on Tennyson Sands a Kittiwake.
 Just 4 common retraps were caught in a morning ringing session in East Dunes.

June 8th: A bright start quickly disappeared behind the clouds and a cool northeasterly breeze for the rest of the day. On Tennyson Sands was a Little Gull, and on Jackson's Marsh a Black-tailed Godwit. Around was a Hobby. Four Cuckoos were very vocal around the West Dunes.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes resulted in 2 new juvenile Dunnocks and a retrap adult Reed Bunting.
  A longer ringing session at Aylmer Avenue resulted in 22 new birds and 22 retraps. The new birds included a Woodpigeon, a Lesser Whitethroat and two Blackcaps. There was also a procession of juveniles fresh out of the nest, including Dunnocks, Robins, Greenfinches and Chaffinches. The retraps included our now resident breeding Sedge Warbler originally ringed in France, and the best bird of the day - a British control House Martin!

British control House Martin caught on 8th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Very juvenile Chaffinch ringed on 8th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Very juvenile Robin ringed on 8th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
June 7th: Mostly sunny and windy. A male Red-backed Shrike was in East Dunes. On Croftmarsh were 2 Little Gulls, and on Tennyson Sands 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Common Sandpiper. Around was a Black Redstart. Offshore were 2 Kittiwakes and 3 Sandwich Terns.
  A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes yielded only a retrap Swallow.

June 6th: A Common Rosefinch was discovered singing in East Dunes. Around were 2 Garganeys, 2 Curlew Sandpipers and 4 Jays. Offshore, 17 Kittiwakes and a Red-throated Diver flew north, and 300 Common Scoters south.
  Only 2 new birds, a Reed Bunting and a Whitethroat, were trapped in a morning ringing session in East Dunes, while there were 4 usual retraps.

June 5th: On Tennyson Sands were 3 Little Ringed Plovers, a White Wagtail and a Little Gull, and on the Mere a Common Sandpiper. Around was a Jay.
  More birds than yesterday were caught on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The news were the first juvenile Dunnock of the year, a Chiffchaff, a Reed Bunting, 2 Linnets and a Meadow Pipit. The retraps were a Dunnock, 2 Whitethroats, a Meadow Pipit and a Blackcap.
  The Barn Owls were checked again this afternoon, and they now have 4 chicks, all hatched one day apart. The male was out hunting but the female was caught and, surprisingly, was unringed. There were 19 prey items in the box ready for feeding to the very small chicks, the youngest of which probably hatched out today. The prey items all appeared to be mice of some description or other, 13 large ones and 6 much smaller ones. This is the most food recorded in a Barn Owl box at Gibraltar Point ever! The chicks appear to have a father who is a very good hunter and, fingers crossed, they will all be in good health when they are checked again in four weeks' time.

Male Linnet with orange, rather than red, markings. Ringed 5th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.

Female Barn Owl wing showing 3 generations of feathers. Ringed 5th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.

Female Barn Owl ringed 5th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.

A very scarce Harvest Mouse from the Barn Owl box - replaced after photo!
Photo - George Gregory.
June 4th: Sunny and windy. Around were 3 Jays, a Hobby, a Marsh Harrier and 6 Corn Buntings. On Tennyson Sands were 2 Mediterranean Gulls, a Greenshank and a Little Gull.
 Once again the morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just 2 new birds: an adult Whitethroat and the first juvenile Chaffinch of the year.
 Having heard of low site occupancy and brood size for Barn Owls elsewhere in the county this year, we checked the sites here today. Only one was occupied, by 2 adults and at least 2 small downy chicks.

June 3rd: Generally sunny. In East Dunes was a Common Rosefinch (possibly another was present). A Serin flew south over Mill Hill. Around were a Short-eared Owl, a Crossbill and 6 Jays. On Tennyson Sands were a Ruff and a Little Gull.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes yielded just 2 new birds: a Whitethroat and a Jay. Since the irruption began last October 60 Jays have been ringed at Gibraltar Point.
  A late afternoon trip around some of the nest boxes on the reserve resulted in 30 Blue Tit pulli being ringed in just four nestboxes, including two broods of nine, which is very good for Gibraltar Point. 2 Great Tits were ringed in one box, and four Jackdaws ringed on two nests.
  Whilst ringing these, the first young Chaffinches of the year were seen harassing their parents for food. Also ringed this afternoon was a brood of Willow Warblers, but just four chicks were in the nest which is not too bad but there were three infertile eggs amongst the young birds. Perhaps the hail stones we had a just over a week ago were not very good for some of our ground nesting species? Still, they were the first Willow Warbler young ringed on the reserve for a number of years; the nests are fairly difficult to find!
A late nest of Jackdaw eggs on 3rd June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Willow Warbler nest with four pulli ready for ringing on 3rd June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs

June 2nd: Flying high, arriving across the Wash from Norfolk then eventually back there again, were 2 Common Cranes. An Icterine Warbler was discovered singing in East Dunes in the afternoon. Around were a Hooded Crow, 22 Jays, 12 Corn Buntings, a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier. On Tennyson Sands were a Little Gull, a Mediterranean Gull and a Ruff.
  Not many birds were caught in a morning ringing session in East Dunes, but the news included 3 Spotted Flycatchers and a Willow Warbler, and there was a British-ringed control Reed Warbler.
  The 4th session of CES was disappointing, with just 10 captures. The new birds were a Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackbird, and the retraps a Great Tit, 2 Whitethroats, a Wren and a Chaffinch.
  Other nets at Aylmer Avenue produced 5 new birds (including 3 Sedge Warblers), 10 retraps (including a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff), and a control Sedge Warbler with a Paris Museum ring, probably the bird previously caught here.

Spotted Flycatcher ringed 2nd June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

June 1st: The Red-backed Shrike was still present near the Hump. Around were 10 Jays, a Peregrine, 15 Turtle Doves, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Crossbills and 16 Corn Buntings. On Tennyson Sands were a Little Ringed Plover and 2 Ruffs.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was moderately successful. The new birds were a Jay, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Whitethroats, a Meadow Pipit, a Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting, and the retraps 2 Whitethroats and a Blue Tit.