Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Late August 2013

August 31st: Moderate westerly/north-westerly wind, sunny morning, clouded over later.
  The Short-toed Lark was still at North End. Around were a Wryneck, a Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, a Hobby, 150 Yellow Wagtails, 60 Alba Wagtails and 12 Whinchats. Offshore or over the shore were 2 Arctic Skuas, a Guillemot, 2 Whimbrels and a Greenshank. On the Mere were 8 Spotted Redshanks and a Garganey.
  On the second day of the Ringing Opportunity Weekend, attended by 7 participants, together with various trainers and helpers, prolonged ringing sessions were held in East Dunes and at Aylmer Avenue. More than 230 birds were processed, which was very good, considering the mostly sunny conditions.
  New birds in East Dunes were 7 Willow Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 34 Swallows, 2 Whitethroats, a Robin, 3 Blue Tits, 43 House Martins and a Woodpigeon, and the retraps were a Goldfinch, a Blue Tit, a Redstart and a Whitethroat.
  At Aylmer Avenue the new birds were 2 Wrens, a Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, 4 Robins, 6 Dunnock, 2 Blue Tits, a Great Tit, a Lesser Whitethroat and 29 Greenfinches. There were 84 retraps, mostly finches and tits.

August 30th: Increasing south-west wind. Mostly cloudy.
  The Short-toed Lark was re-found at North End. Offshore were 15 Arctic Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, a Little Tern, 500 Sandwich Terns, 21 Curlew Sandpipers, 1000 Ringed Plovers and 3000 Dunlins.   Around, including birds trapped, were 2 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts, a Spotted Flycatcher, a White wagtail.2 Common Buzzards, a Hobby and a Peregrine. Heading south were 181 Yellow Wagtails, 200 Linnets, 2549 Swallows, 109 Sand Martins, 230 House Martins, a Hobby, a Common Buzzard, 4 Great Skuas and 47 Arctic Skuas. To roost went 40 more Yellow Wagtails. On the water bodies notable birds were 5 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Little Stints and a Garganey.
  A prolonged ringing session in East Dunes on the first day of the Ringing Opportunity Weekend was productive. The new birds were 4 Willow Warblers, a Wren, 73 Swallows, 9 Yellow Wagtails, a House Martin, a Pied Flycatcher, a Redstart, a Whitethroat, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Goldfinch, a Sedge Warbler and a Sand Martin. The retraps were a Great Tit, 3 Whitethroats and 3 Dunnock. There was also a British-ringed control Swallow.

August 29th: Moderate south-west wind, cloudy then clearing. 
  Around were 2 Redstarts, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Wheatear, a Tree Pipit, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Peregrine, 2 Hobby's and 2 Turtle Doves. A Marsh Harrier went south. On the Mere was a Garganey. The best waders on the water bodies were 7 Spotted Redshanks, 5 Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Stint and a Little Ringed Plover.
  A morning ringing session on East Dunes was quite good. The new birds were 22 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Wren, 2 Reed Warblers, 3 Linnets, a Goldfinch, 33 Swallows, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 5 Blue Tits, 4 Whitethroats, 4 Dunnock, a Garden Warbler and a Reed Bunting, and the retraps a Great Tit, a Garden Warbler and a Blue Tit.

Peregrine, 29th August 2013.
Photo - Philip Millns
 
Peregrine hunting, 29th August 2013.
Photo - Philip Millns
August 28th: Light wind, wet foggy start, which was slow to clear.
 The Short-toed Lark was re-found at Greenshanks Creek in the afternoon. Other birds around, including those trapped, included 12 Redstarts, 4 Pied Flycatchers, 5 Whinchats and 2 Garden Warblers. On Jackson's Marsh was a first-winter Mediterranean Gull. Waders in various places were represented by 33 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Spotted Redshanks and 8 Greenshanks. Flying south were 4 Common Buzzards, 147 Arctic Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, a Great Skua, 3 Gannets and 2 Little Terns, and north 6 Common Scoters.
 The wet fog greatly reduced the catch on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The birds processed were 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers, 3 Swallows, a Blackcap, a Yellow Wagtail, 4 Whitethroats, 2 Redstarts, 2 Wrens and 5 Dunnock.

Adult Whitethroat showing a retained old secondary, retrapped on 28th August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Almost all Swallows trapped in autumn here are juvenile/first-year birds. This adult had a tail difference of 54mm and was therefore un-sexable.
Photo - George Gregory
August 27th: Continuing north-easterly wind, misty start then clearing.
 Migrants and dispersers around included 20 Yellow Wagtails, 20 Pied Wagtails, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Wheatear, a Redstart and 2 Whinchats. The best waders on Tennyson Sands were 4 Curlew Sandpipers and a Little Stint. On the Mere were a Greenshank, 6 Common Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers, a Garganey, a Whimbrel, 9 Shovelers and 5 Black-tailed Godwits.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonable. The new birds were 2 Willow Warblers, a Redstart, a Sedge Warbler, 18 Swallows, 13 Sand Martins, 2 House Martins, a Linnet and a Sparrowhawk, and the retraps were 2 Wrens, 2 Whitethroats, a Woodpigeon and a Greenfinch.

August 26th: Mostly sunny from the start of the day with a light north-easterly breeze, remaining dry throughout the day.
  The Short-toed Lark was again near Greenshanks Creek. Other birds around, including those trapped, were a Wryneck, a Tree Pipit, 8 Willow Warblers, 6 Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 8 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Redstarts, 4 Wheatears10 Whinchats, a Green Woodpecker, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Marsh Harrier, 22 Whimbrel, a Greenshank, a Ruff, 5 Wigeon and 4 Kestrels. Waders on or over the water bodies included 9 Curlew Sandpipers and 3 Spotted Redshanks.

Short-toed Lark near Greenshanks Creek photographed on 25th August 2013.
Photo - James Siddle (original finder of the bird)
  The sunny conditions reduced the catch on a morning ringing session in East Dunes to just 16 new birds and 3 retraps. The news were a Wren, a Willow Warbler, a Robin, 2 Redstarts, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Reed Bunting and 9 Swallows, and the retraps were 3 Whitethroats.
  At Aylmer Avenue, despite best efforts, only 17 new birds and 23 retraps were processed. The new birds were a Wren, 2 Dunnock, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Blue Tit, a Chaffinch, 5 Greenfinches and 1 Goldfinch. The retraps were mainly made up of finches and tits visiting the feeding station.
  This had to be one of the most disappointing August days ever!, with hardly any warblers present on the reserve or indeed hardly any small migrants showing up at all across all of the ringing area at Aylmer Avenue. The only bonus besides the 2 Pied Flycatchers ringed were 3 more un-ringed Pied Flycatchers that were feeding in pines around the ringing shed giving great views for most of the morning. The lack of migrants though, especially warblers (only 1 Willow Warbler caught today) was very puzzling, though. Have they all gone south already?
First-year Whitethroat ringed on 26th August 2013.
One of very few warblers present on the reserve today -  very puzzling
Photo - Mick Briggs
One of two first-year Pied Flycatchers ringed on 26th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
 August 25th: A light north-easterly breeze throughout the day, with thick cloud for most of the morning, giving way to sunny outbreaks through high level cirrus cloud later in the afternoon. Remaining dry throughout.
  There was a general clear out during the evening, which was somewhat unexpected considering the overnight rain. However, some of the more scarce migrants had made it onto the coast or possibly had come south down the coast from yesterday's landing sites. There was though, a worryingly considerable absence of any decent numbers of common migrants.
  A Short-toed Lark was found and photographed north of Greenshanks Creek early morning by James Siddle, and later on was seen by a host of other observers, showing very well from time to time. Offshore was a juvenile Long-tailed Skua.
  Birds around including those trapped, were 4 Wrynecks, (3 ringed plus one in the West Dunes near the Mere Hide mid morning, again found by James Siddle), 5 Redstart, 7 Whinchat, 7 Wheatear, 4 Tree Pipit, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 12 Common Sandpiper, a Marsh Harrier, 8 Kestrel (including 6 together in one group of pines at Aylmer Avenue at one point) and 3 Sparrowhawk.  Heading south were a Swift and 12 Yellow Wagtail. On Tennyson Sands the best birds were a Spoonbill, 2 Curlew Sandpipers and 5 Sandwich Terns.
Short-toed Lark near Greenshanks Creek on 25th August 2013.
Photo - Richard Doan
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes provided 39 new birds, which were 8 Willow Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Linnet, a Whinchat, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 21 Swallows, 2 Whitethroats, a Redstart and a Wryneck (the first of the year) The 6 retraps were 3 Whitethroats, a Dunnock, a Blue Tit and a Blackcap.
  Meanwhile a longer session at Aylmer Avenue, which included the last C.E.S. session of the year, resulted in 37 new birds and 42 retraps. The C.E.S. was dismal with just a Blackbird, a Wren and 2 Willow Warblers the new birds, whilst other nets at Aylmer Avenue were more productive. There were, amazingly, 2 Wrynecks caught and ringed, 2 Dunnocks, a Robin, 3 Reed Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, a Blackcap, 12 Willow Warblers, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Greenfinches and 3 Goldfinches.
  Both the Wrynecks were caught in the same net, nearly in the same spot, but just five hours apart. Both did their best to effect an escape from the hand by doing a ridiculous combination of "head spins" and "stretches" to put any potential predator off eating the bird for dinner.
  After checking the records I found that ridiculously, 3 Wrynecks ringed in one day is not a first for the Observatory. The last time it was done was the 31st August 1976 and the seventies were the really big years for Wrynecks at the Observatory, with the peak year being 1976, when 10 were ringed.
3rd Wryneck of the year ringed on 25th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
3rd Wryneck of the year ringed on 25th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd Wryneck of the year ringed on 25th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
2nd Wryneck of the year ringed on 25th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
1st Wryneck of the year ringed at the Observatory on 25th August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
August 24th: Rain overnight and through the morning until 11.30am. Then full cloud cover all day with light north-easterly breeze. Light rain fell again from 6pm.
  Migrants around, including birds trapped, were a Wryneck (West Dunes), 6 Pied Flycatchers, 7 Spotted Flycatchers, a Redstart, 68 Willow Warblers, 4 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 20 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Garden Warblers, 3 Sparrowhawks, 4 Kestrels and a Green Woodpecker. On Jackson's Marsh were a Spoonbill, 3 Spotted Redshanks, 5 Little Egrets and a Common Sandpiper, on Tennyson Sands 8 Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Stint, 80 Dunlins, 2 Ruffs, 38 Ringed Plovers, 32 Little Egrets and 2 Common Sandpipers, and on Fenland Lagoon 11 Green Sandpipers. Other waders around were 37 Ruffs (including 36 south), 2 Spotted Redshanks, 5 Little Ringed Plovers, 13 Curlew Sandpipers and 3 Common Sandpipers. A Black Tern was on the beach.
  A much delayed ringing session in East Dunes yielded 22 new birds, namely 12 Willow Warblers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Whitethroats, a Blackcap, a Great Tit, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Redstart, a Yellow Wagtail and a Reed Warbler. The 17 retraps were a Dunnock, a Blackcap, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits and a Lesser Whitethroat.
  Meanwhile nets were also eventually opened up over at Aylmer Avenue at 11.30am after the rain stopped. The session finished as the rain tried to start again at 6.30pm. The result was another 53 new birds ringed and 42 retraps. The new birds were a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel, 2 Wrens, a Dunnock, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Garden Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 12 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Blue Tits, 2 Chaffinches, 8 Greenfinches and 8 Goldfinches. The retraps included a Coal Tit, just a single Willow Warbler and the usual finches and tits.
  The Kestrel was the 6th for 2013, equalling the best year ever for the Observatory, which was 6 ringed in 1995.

First-year Spotted Flycatcher ringed on 24th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
The record-equalling 6th Kestrel ringed of 2013 on 24th August.
Photo - Mick Briggs
First-year Kestrel ringed on 24th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
First-yearear male Sparrowhawk ringed on 24th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
August 23rd: Overnight rain, southeasterly/easterly wind. Around were a Green Woodpecker, a Kingfisher, Hobby, a Marsh Harrier, a Mediterranean Gull, a Wheatear and 6 Whinchats. Flying south were 5 Wigeons, and east a Spoonbill. Offshore were 4 Yellow-legged Gulls. High tide wader counts included 60000 Knots, 4300 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2000 Oystercatchers, 3000 Sanderlings, 5000 Dunlins, 850 Ringed Plovers and 19 Whimbrels. On the water bodies were 6 Spotted Redshanks, a Little Stint, a Ruff, 7 Green Sandpipers, 160 Black-tailed Godwits, 23 Greenshanks and 3 Little Ringed Plovers. On the Mere 2 Garganeys remained, while 2 Water Rails were new.
 A morning ringing session on East Dunes was disappointing, considering the wind direction. New birds were 5 Willow Warblers, 10 Swallows, a Whinchat, a Sand Martin, 4 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler and a Song Thrush. The retraps were 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Dunnocks and a Wren.

August 22nd: Much the same weather as yesterday in the morning, but the wind shifted towards south-easterly in the afternoon. Around were 12 Whinchats, a Stonechat, 2 Wheatears, a Redstart, a Tree Pipit, 6 Whimbrels, 40000 Knots, a Common Sandpiper, 30 Yellow Wagtails, a Green Woodpecker and 2 Spotted Redshanks. Flying offshore was a Spoonbill. On Jackson's Marsh were a Little Stint, a Ruff, 4 Green Sandpipers and 2 Spotted Redshanks, and on the Mere 4 Garganeys, 5 Green Sandpipers and a Wood Sandpiper. Black-tailed Godwits totalled 139 and Greenshanks 17.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced 88 new birds, namely 17 Willow Warblers, 5 Whitethroats, a Blackcap, a Reed Warbler, a Dunnock, a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 44 Swallows, 10 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Sand Martins, a House Martin, a Woodpigeon and a Sparrowhawk. The 11 retraps were a Wren, a Blue Tit, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers, a Kestrel, 3 Dunnocks and a Chaffinch.

August 21st: Mostly cloudy with southwesterly wind, again.
 Flying south were 35 Yellow Wagtails, 250 Swallows and 20 Sand Martins. Around, additional to birds trapped, were 2 Wheatears, 14 Whinchats, a Redstart, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 30 Yellow Wagtails and 30 Willow Warblers. Offshore or flying about were 58000 Knots, 5000 Dunlins, a Little Gull, a male Scaup, 2 Peregrines, a Common Buzzard, a Marsh Harrier, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank. On Tennyson Sands were 2 Spoonbills (an adult and an immature), 3 Green Sandpipers, 17 Black-tailed Godwits, 13 Greenshanks and 200 Lapwings, on Jackson's Marsh 5 Greenshanks and 100 Black-tailed Godwits, and on the Mere 4 Garganeys and 5 Green Sandpipers.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was again interesting. The new birds were 28 Willow Warblers, a Dunnock, a Robin, a Pied Flycatcher (first of autumn), 5 Whitethroats, 2 Wheatears (first of year), 29 Swallows, a Garden Warbler, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Sand Martins, a Whinchat and a Sparrowhawk. Also there was a retrap Dunnock, and a British-ringed control Swallow.
  An afternoon ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent was reasonably productive, for an afternoon ringing session, resulting in 35 new birds and 36 retraps. The new birds were 14 Willow Warblers, 10 Greenfinches, 4 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches and singles of Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Swallow, Blue Tit, and Whitethroat. The retraps were a mix of finches, tits and warblers.

Pied Flycatcher, ringed 21st August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Wheatear, ringed 21st August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Mid August 2013

August 20th:  Mostly cloudy again.
 South went a Whimbrel, 95 Swallows, 15 House Martins and 10 Sand Martins. Around were a Hobby and a Grasshopper Warbler. The water bodies held a Spoonbill, 143 Black-tailed Godwits, 19 Greenshanks, 3 Green Sandpipers, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Spotted Redshanks and 3 Garganeys.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was notable for variety rather than quantity. The news were 13 Willow Warblers, a Blackcap, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 9 Whitethroats, 2 Dunnocks, a Garden Warbler, 26 Swallows, a Redstart (first of autumn), 3 Sand Martins, a Whinchat (first of autumn), a Reed Warbler and another Kestrel. The retraps were 2 Dunnocks and 2 Whitethroats.

Adult Spoonbill, Tennyson Sands.
Photo - Nigel Lound
Whinchat, ringed 20th August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
August 19th: Mostly cloudy.
  A fresh arrival of migrants included 4 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Whinchat, a Wheatear, a Stonechat, a Treecreeper, a Green Woodpecker and a Grasshopper Warbler. There were also a Cuckoo, 5 Whimbrels, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards and 2 Peregrines around. South flew 1500 Swallows, 400 House Martins and 2 Swifts. The best birds on the water bodies were a Spoonbill, 3 Garganeys, 57 Little Egrets, 3 Spotted Redshanks, 2 Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, 24 Greenshanks, a Ruff and 4 Little Ringed Plovers. Over Croftmarsh were 190 Golden Plovers. On the beach were 4 Mediterranean Gulls.
  A morning ringing session on East Dunes was productive. The 105 new birds were 10 Willow Warblers, 62 Swallows, 12 Yellow Wagtails, 14 House Martins, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Linnet, 3 Whitethroats, a House Sparrow and a Kestrel, and the retraps 6 Dunnock, a Great Tit and 2 Whitethroats. A male Peregrine was almost added to the total, but it escaped from a net as a ringer approached.
  The Yellow Wagtail total now stand at 43 birds ringed so far this year, quite simply incredible if you consider that the previous year record of just 21 ringed was set in 2010, and indeed since 1949 only 92 have been ringed to the start of this year. Before 2010, only 60 had been ringed, an average of just one a year!, and now 43 have been ringed in this autumn alone. Either they must have had a phenomenally successful breeding season, or perhaps we are simply experiencing a very large increase in the numbers migrating through East Dunes during this autumn?

August 18th: A calm start with cloud in the east made for a cracking start to the day. The wind soon picked up, with intermittent puffy cumulus cloud throughout the day being blown through on the 15mph southerly.
  Flying south were 42 Swifts, 400 Swallows, 235 House Martins and 18 Yellow Wagtails. Around were 2 Whinchats, a Stonechat, 4 Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, a Crossbill and a Tree Pipit. On the water bodies were  a Spoonbill, at least 3 Garganey, 4 Spotted Redshanks, 9 Dunlins, 95 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, a Little Ringed Plover, 18 Greenshanks, 20 Snipes and 38 Little Egrets. At Aylmer Avenue, 3 Turtle Doves and several Willow Warblers were in song early morning, making it feel more like June than August!
  A morning ringing session on East Dunes was reasonable. There were 38 new birds, which were 15 Willow Warblers, a Wren, a Linnet, 4 Whitethroats, 6 Yellow Wagtails, a Reed Bunting, 9 Swallows and a House Martin, and the retraps 8 Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat and a Wren.
  Things were marginally better over at Aylmer Avenue with 74 new birds ringed. They included a Swallow, 2 Robins, a Reed Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 14 Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 29 Willow Warblers, 4 Blue Tits, 9 Greenfinches and 7 Goldfinches. There were also 46 retraps including a British control Willow Warbler.

August 17th: A calm clear start quickly turned into a windy day with a force 3 south-westerly blowing patchy light rain in from mid morning. Heavier rain followed late afternoon.
  There had clearly been a significant arrival of migrants overnight and with these was a juvenile Woodchat Shrike found near the Weather Enclosure, just south of the Field Station early morning and was just the third record ever for reserve. South went a Red-necked Phalarope, 140 Swifts, 90 Swallows and a Tree Pipit. Around were a Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, 9 Turtle Doves (including 2 singing at Aylmer Avenue), 3 Crossbills and 18 Yellow Wagtails. In addition to those trapped, there were at least 45 other Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackcaps, 6 Lesser Whitethroats and 34 Whitethroats on the reserve. On Tennyson Sands were a Spoonbill, 5 Greenshanks, 4 Snipes, 91 Black-tailed Godwits, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 88 Lapwings, and on Jackson's Marsh 22 Greenshanks, 2 Dunlins, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Ruffs, 3 Green Sandpipers, 2 Spotted Redshanks and a Little Ringed Plover.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was productive. The 96 new birds were a Wren, a Chiffchaff, 63 Willow Warblers, a Dunnock, a Sedge Warbler, 8 Whitethroats, a Linnet, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Robin, 9 Swallows, 4 Yellow Wagtails, a Blackcap, a Goldfinch and a Song Thrush. The 6 retraps were a Blackcap, a Whitethroat, 3 Dunnock and a Willow Warbler.
  Whilst at Aylmer Avenue the 11th C.E.S. session was completed with some success. Other nets there helped push the total for the day at Aylmer Avenue up to 81 new birds ringed and 38 retraps. The highlights included a Garden Warbler and the first Treecreeper of the year from the C.E.S. nets, whilst the feeding station produced two new Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Other birds ringed included 3 Dunnock, 2 Robin, 1 Blackbird, 2 Reed Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 9 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blue Tit, 11 Greenfinch and 12 Goldfinch. There was also 29 New Willow Warbler which when added to the Observatory's total, makes 92 new Willow Warblers for the day! - probably a new day record for recent decades.
  Two Painted Ladies were the best butterflies.
Juvenile Woodchat Shrike, at the weather enclosure on the 17th August 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound
Garden Warbler ringed on the 11th C.E.S. session of 2013 on 17th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Juvenile Treecreeper ringed on the 11th C.E.S. session of 2013 on 17th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
August 16th: Windy, rain most of morning. Flying south were a Marsh Harrier, a Little Ringed Plover, 120 Swifts, 100 Swallows, 50 Sand Martins, 12 House Martins and 3 Yellow Wagtails. Jackson's Marsh held a Spotted Redshank, 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Snipes and 2 Dunlins, Tennyson Sands 69 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Curlews, 73 Lapwings and 7 Dunlins, and the Mere a Garganey.
 No ringing was possible.

August 15th: Windy, cloudy, intermittent light rain. South went 3 Spoonbills, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Swallows and a Greenshank. Around were a Green Woodpecker and a Marsh Harrier. Offshore were 1280 Sandwich Terns, 24 Common Terns, 2 Arctic Terns and 8 Kittiwakes. On Jackson's Marsh were an adult Spoonbill, a Whimbrel, 19 Greenshanks, 7 Green Sandpipers, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 3 Snipes, on Tennyson Sands a Spotted Redshank, 7 Snipes, 14 Dunlins, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 7 Greenshanks, 92 Black-tailed Godwits and 10 Redshanks, and on the Mere 4 Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Green Sandpipers.
 A restricted morning ringing session, with sheltered nets, in East Dunes yielded just 6 birds processed: a Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Warblers, a Dunnock and 2 Whitethroats.

August 14th: Light wind, mostly sunny. South went 200 Swallows, 25 Sand Martins and 12 House Martins. A Marsh Harrier came in off the sea. Around were a Common Buzzard, 7 Lesser Whitethroats and 33 Willow Warblers. Offshore, on the beach or going to roost were 2500 Herring Gulls, 10500 Black-headed Gulls, 9 adult Mediterranean Gulls (a record count), 2500 Sandwich Terns, 92 Common Terns and 31 Arctic Skuas. Tennyson Sands held 133 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Dunlins, 28 Redshanks, 4 Greenshanks, a Little Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper, and Jackson's Marsh 11 Greenshanks, 12 Redshanks, 5 Green Sandpipers and a Little Ringed Plover. On the Mere were up to 3 Garganeys.
 A morning ringing session on East Dunes produced 23 new birds, namely 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, a Linnet, 2 Whitethroats, a Reed Warbler, a Reed Bunting, 10 Swallows and 4 Sand Martins, and 4 retraps, namely 2 Whitethroats, a Wren and a Dunnock.

Garganey, 14th August 2013.
Photo - Philip Millns
August 13th: Increasing westerly wind, sunny morning, cloudy afternoon. Around were 7 Kestrels. Flying south were a Greenshank, a Whimbrel, a Curlew, 30 Yellow Wagtails, 500 Swallows and 75 House Martins, and north a Marsh Harrier. On Jackson's Marsh were 6 Greenshanks, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 7 Redshanks, and on Tennyson Sands 11 Greenshanks, 87 Black-tailed Godwits, a Little Ringed Plover, 51 Redshanks, 4 Snipes, 85 Lapwings and 2 Ruffs. Around were 5 Kestrels and 2 Sparrowhawks.
 The weather was not conducive to high productivity on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The new birds were 17 Willow Warblers, 2 Dunnocks, 4 Whitethroats, a Linnet, a Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Swallows, a House Martin and a Kestrel, and the retraps a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps and a Wren.
 Overnight moth trapping produced a Scallop Hook Tip and a Black Arches.


Scalloped Hook Tip.
Photo - Nigel Lound
Black Arches.
Photo - Nigel Lound
August 12th: Increasing westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 South went 250 Swallows, 50 House Martins, 10 Sand Martins and a Whimbrel. Tennyson Sands held 91 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Snipes, a Greenshank and 150 Lapwings, and Jackson's Marsh 18 Greenshanks, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Black-tailed Godwit and 80 Redshanks. Offshore were 150 Sandwich Terns.
 The wind reduced the catch on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The news were 13 Willow Warblers, a Wren, a Yellow Wagtail, a Linnet, 17 Swallows, 3 Whitethroats and a Reed Warbler, and the retraps a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Dunnocks and a Whitethroat. Migrant Willow Warblers, mostly juveniles, continue to reach here in moderate, but not yet high, numbers. It remains to be seen whether there has been enough breeding success to restore the recently diminished population size.

August 11th: A calm start to the day was soon replaced by a brisk 18mph westerly wind that hampered both visible migration and ringing efforts for most of the day. There were prolonged sunny spells throughout the day, and it remained dry.
  Swallows were the main feature of the day with at least 3500 passing south through the reserve, although this figure may well have been much bigger. They were not passing straight through but were feeding in ever bigger waves stretched out across most of the reserve, which made getting an accurate count through the day nearly impossible. At least 1000 Swallows were feeding on the Old Saltmarsh at 10.20am, whilst at midday there were 2000+ House Martins in a feeding frenzy at high altitude over the West Dunes. A further 500 House Martins and  200 Sand Martins went south through the day, along with 35 Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Heron. Hunting around the reserve was a Peregrine, at least 3 Sparrowhawks, a Barn Owl and at least 4 Kestrels. On Jackson's Marsh were 13 Greenshanks, a Ruff and 2 Snipes, and on Tennyson Sands 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 100 Black-tailed Godwits, a Dunlin, 2 Snipes, a Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruffs and a Common Sandpiper. Over Croftmarsh were 280 Golden Plovers.
  A length ringing session at the Observatory, first by George Gregory and then by Mick Briggs resulted in 76 new birds ringed, which were a Song Thrush, a Sand Martin, 53 Swallows, 7 House Martins, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Whitethroats, 7 Willow Warblers and 2 Wrens. There were just 3 retraps, which were 2 Wrens and a Dunnock.
  A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David and Liv Vincent was fairly quiet for this time of year, probably due to it being a bit too breezy and bright sunny spells. The morning's ringing resulted in 30 new birds and 16 retraps. The new birds were 12 Swallows, 6 Willow Warblers, 4 Greenfinches, 2 Whitethroats and singles of Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Blue Tit, House Martin, Chaffinch and Goldfinch. The retraps were 5 Chaffinches, 4 Greenfinches, 2 Goldfinches, 2 Chiffchaffs and singles of Whitethroat, Robin and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Swallows start to move south on a good day for visible migration of hirundines, 11th August 2013
Photo - Mick Briggs
Swallows hawking around the Storm Ridge - just above the nets!, 11th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
The 19th Yellow Wagtail of the autumn on 11th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
A House Martin showing the incredible feathery legs of the species - allowing them to sleep on the wing at high altitude at night in freezing temperatures at a reported 10,000 feet.
Photo - Mick Briggs
House Martin, one of 8 ringed on 11th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Early August 2013

August 10th: A calm start to the day with just ten minutes of sunshine before the clouds rolled over from the south. A gentle westerly breeze sprang up early morning gusting to 12mph. It still managed to become quite warm though in the breaks in the cloud, which became less frequent as the day went on, remaining dry throughout.
  Flying south were 450 Swallows, 20 Sand Martins and 4 Swifts. Around were a Marsh Harrier and 6 Yellow Wagtails. On the water bodies and Croftmarsh were a Spotted Redshank, 14 Greenshanks, 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 26 Dunlins, 3 Ruffs, 83 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 52 Curlews, 60 Lapwings, 280 Golden Plovers, 10 Snipes, 62 Redshanks and 74 Sandwich Terns.
  At Aylmer Avenue, flying south through the day were 90 Swallows, 400 House Martins and 70 Sandwich Terns, whilst around the dunes were 15 Chiffchaffs, 35 Willow Warblers and 30 Whitethroats.
  A morning ringing session on East Dunes by George Gregory was very productive with 128 new birds ringed and just 17 retraps. The new birds were 7 Willow Warblers, 4 Long-tailed Tits, a Chiffchaff, 82 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Buntings, 14 Whitethroats, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Dunnocks and 2 Sparrowhawks. The retraps were a Blackcap, a Song Thrush, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Great Tit and 2 Dunnock.
  Meanwhile over at Aylmer Avenue, a much longer session was carried out by Mick Briggs, including the tenth C.E.S. session of the year. Clearly there had been a good overnight arrival of migrants, mainly made up of warblers including Willow Warblers and Whitethroats and smaller numbers of Chiffchaffs and Lesser Whitethroats. After patrolling the nets for 13 hours, Mick Briggs finally managed to ring 128 new birds, as well as 45 retraps. The new birds were a Woodpigeon, 6 Swallows, 2 Wrens, 8 Dunnocks, 2 Sedge Warblers, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 13 Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 15 Willow Warblers, a Long-tailed Tit, 3 Blue Tits, 4 Great Tits, 18 Chaffinches, 21 Greenfinches, 18 Goldfinches and 7 Linnets.
Juvenile Lesser Whitethroat, one of eight ringed on 10th August 2013.
Despite being scarce around the reserve all summer, autumn migrants have now started to boost the local population.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Juvenile Lesser Whitethroat after finishing its post juvenile moult on 10th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Juvenile male Sparrowhawk, ringed 10th August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
August 9th: Windy, with intermittent light rain. Around were 400 Sandwich Terns, 2 Willow Warblers and 6 Yellow Wagtails. On Jackson's Marsh were 11 Greenshanks, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Whimbrel, a Green Sandpiper, 3 Ruffs and a Dunlin, on Tennyson Sands 78 Black-tailed Godwits, 22 Dunlins, a Green Sandpiper, 10 Snipes, 54 Redshanks, a Spotted Redshank, a Little Ringed Plover, 52 Curlews, 4 Greenshanks and 54 Sandwich Terns, and over Croftmarsh 280 Golden Plovers. Flying south offshore were 5 Gannets, 18 Common Scoters, 14 Teals, 4 Shovelers, 5 Arctic Terns, 121 Common Terns, 45 Oystercatchers, 18 Turnstones, 7 Arctic Skuas and 10 Whimbrels, and over land 570 Swallows and 150 Swifts. A very unseasonal Red-throated Diver was on the sea in full breeding plumage. High tide early morning produced 20,000 Knots, 3000 Sanderlings, 2500 Dunlins and 147 Ringed Plovers.
 A very restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just a single new Blackcap.

August 8th: Light wind, sunny then cloudy. Around were a Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier. South went a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrels, 6 Curlews, 450 Swallows, 25 House Martins and 20 Sand Martins. On the water bodies were a hoveler, 64 Sandwich Terns, 130 Black-tailed Godwits, a Spotted Redshank, 11 Dunlins, 2 Ruffs, 3 Snipes, 5 Greenshanks, a Green Sandpiper and 2 Common Sandpipers.
 The early sunny conditions reduced the catch on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The news were 6 Willow Warblers, a Blackcap, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Meadow Pipits, 53 Swallows, 6 Sand Martins, a House Martin and a Kestrel. The retraps were a Great Tit, a Swallow and a Dunnock.

Juvenile Kestrel, ringed 8th August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
August 7th: A cooler start, then quickly warmed up with just thin cirrus cloud overhead. A gentle breeze stopped it from getting too warm through the day.
  Flying south were 600 Swallows, 20 House Martins, 10 Sand Martins, 17 Curlews and 4 Whimbrels. Around were 30 Yellow Wagtails and a Willow Warbler. On Croftmarsh and the water bodies were 450 Lapwings, 200 Golden Plovers, 140 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Greenshanks, 3 Common Sandpipers, 6 Dunlins and 2 Snipes.
  At early evening, there were still around 60 Swallows, 5 Sand Martins, 20 House Martins, 30 Yellow Wagtails and 40 Meadow Pipits feeding around the Old Saltmarsh near South Car Park as the sun ebbed away.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was again successful. The new birds were a Wren, 10 Yellow Wagtails, 101 Swallows, a Blue Tit, a Goldfinch, 2 House Martins, a Sand Martin, a Whitethroat, a Linnet and 4 House Sparrows (the first ones of the year). The retraps were 4 Whitethroats, a Wren, a Swallow and 2 Dunnocks.

August 6th: Little wind, sunny then cloudy. South went 800 Swallows, 400 House Martins, 150 Sand Martins, 200 Swifts, 4 Whimbrels and 6 Yellow Wagtails. Around was a Common Buzzard. The water bodies held 15 Greenshanks, 40 Black-tailed Godwits, 160 Golden Plovers, 110 Redshanks, 260 Lapwings, a Ruff, 2 Common Sandpipers and 4 Dunlins. A Sooty Shearwater flew north offshore in the evening. Roosting on Greenshanks Creek were 2000 Sandwich Terns, 50 Common Terns, 3 Arctic Terns, 4 Little Terns and a Kittiwake.
 An extended ringing session in East Dunes was very productive. The new birds were 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Wrens, 5 Whitethroats, a Great Tit, 2 Linnets, 88 Swallows, 38 House Martins (the first new birds of the year), 9 Sand Martins (also the first new birds of the year), a Pied Wagtail (also the first of the year), a Garden Warbler, a Reed Bunting, a Meadow Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail, 2 Dunnocks and a Blackcap. The retraps were 3 Dunnocks, a Great Tit, 2 Whitethroats and a Chaffinch.

Juvenile Yellow Wagtail moulting to first-winter, ringed 6th August 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
August 5th: Light to moderate rain for most of day. Over Croftmarsh were 300 Golden Plovers and 180 Lapwings. On the water bodies were 134 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Greenshanks, 3 Common Sandpipers, 15 Dunlins, 14 Snipes, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 3 Ringed Plovers. The Green Woodpecker was still around. Visible migration continued, with 150 Swifts, 80 Swallows and 20 Sand Martins flying south.
 No ringing was attempted.

August 4th: Still a fair south-westerly wind with sporadic cumulus cloud.
  Heading south were 1200 Swifts, 400 Swallows, 81 Sand Martins, 80 House Martins, 2 Hobbys, 12 Yellow Wagtails, a Turtle Dove, a juvenile Cuckoo, 6 Crossbills, 24 Whimbrels, 35 Curlews, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Turnstones and a Yellow-legged Gull. Around was a Green Woodpecker. On the water bodies were 100 Golden Plovers, 97 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Greenshanks, a Little Ringed Plover and a Ruff. The Red Kite was refound by two observers. It was last seen circling skywards up to an extreme altitude over the West Dunes mid morning.
  Ringing at the Observatory, first by George Gregory and then by Mick Briggs resulted in 20 new birds and 7 retraps. The new birds included 9 Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail and 2 Linnets.
  A simultaneous and slightly longer session at Aylmer Avenue by David and Liv Vincent resulted in 33 new birds and a 21 retraps. The new birds included 8 Swallow, 5 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, a Blackcap and a Wood Pigeon. The retraps included 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Whitethroat, a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap.

Juvenile Swallow ringed at the Observatory on 4th August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Juvenile Swallow ringed at the Observatory on 4th August 2013.
One of many that will hopefully be ringed during the month of August.
Photo - Mick Briggs
August 3rd: A 15mph south-westerly for much of the day until mid afternoon, with sporadic cumulus cloud, leaving it feeling hot and humid.
  Arriving on site at 5.00am for a long ringing session certainly paid dividends for Mick Briggs, when early on, at around 6.30am, a Wood Warbler sang for five minutes or so in the West Dunes. The highlight of the day, though, was an Alpine Swift flying south over Aylmer Avenue at 8.40am, seen by the Ringer in Charge - Mick Briggs. Whilst extracting birds at the feeding station and counting the swifts heading south, he had the shock of his life when not twenty feet above his head was an Alpine Swift moving rapidly southwards. Despite a quick dash by a nearby birder to South Car Park, the group of swifts of which the Alpine Swift was at the front had nearly all gone through by the time he got there and the bird was not seen again.
  The Alpine Swift was part of a good southward movement also involving 730 Common Swifts (most of which went southwards along the West Dunes by 9.20am), along with 575 Swallows, 85 Sand Martins and 140 House Martins by 4pm. In the same direction went a Hobby, 4 Whimbrels, 7 Black-tailed Godwits and 14 Yellow Wagtails. On the water bodies were 76 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Common Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Dunlins, an Oystercatcher, 5 Snipes, 13 Greenshanks and 42 Sandwich Terns. A Red Kite flew low over Jackson's Marsh at 12:30pm.
 In East Dunes a morning ringing session by George Gregory provided 23 new birds, namely a Willow Warbler, 3 Wrens, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Dunnock, a Blackcap, a Meadow Pipit and 15 Swallows.
  Meanwhile at Aylmer Avenue, Mick Briggs' longer session resulted in 72 new birds and 46 retraps. The highlights included a daft Jackdaw that flew straight into a net five feet behind where Mick was stood, although a male Sparrowhawk that flew into a net at a similar distance away still managed to get out! There were also 22 Swallows, 8 Whitethroats, a single Sedge Warbler and 3 Linnets along with the usual other finches and warblers.
A very juvenile Robin ringed on 3rd August 2013. This bird was not long out of the nest, showing that at least some of the resident Robins have been successful in raising second broods this year.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Swallows resting up whilst on migration on the 3rd August 2013. Today was the first really good day for visible migration of hirundines in good numbers through the reserve.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Adult male Linnet ringed on 3rd August 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
August 2nd: Quite windy; sunny then cloudy with occasional rain, thunder and lightning. South went 9 Whimbrels, a Greenshank, 80 Swallows, 60 Sand Martins and 150 Swifts. On the water bodies were 66 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Greenshanks, a Ruff and a Common Sandpiper.
 A brief morning ringing session in East Dunes resulted in 2 Goldfinches, a Blackcap, a Dunnock, a Blue Tit, 2 Great Tits, a Swallow and 2 Whitethroats being processed.
 A longer session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent was more productive, with 64 new birds and 31 retraps. The new birds were 21 Greenfinches, 9 Chaffinches, 6 Goldfinches, 7 Whitethroats, 7 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblesr, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 2 Wrens, 3 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits and a Dunnock. The retraps were a mix of warblers, finches and tits.

August 1st: A bit windy, then hot and sunny. Around were 3 Arctic Skuas, a Marsh Harrier and a Stonechat. Heading south were 2 Greenshanks, 20 Whimbrels, 2 Little Terns, 20 Sand Martins, 250 Swallows, 15 House Martins and 80 Swifts. On the water bodies were 67 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Greenshanks, a Ruff, 3 Common Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlins and 4 Snipes.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes provided 13 new birds: 2 Wrens, 5 Dunnocks, 4 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Goldfinch; and 2 retraps: a Blackbird and a Wren.