Saturday, 30 April 2011

Ringing on 23rd Apr 2011

Double effort day today with George ringing over at the Observatory in the morning whilst Mick Briggs was over at Aylmer Avenue. The result was just a miserable 21 birds processed including 11 New birds and 10 Retraps. It was bright and sunny with a gentle breeze but clearly migrant birds were a bit on the short side with several birders I (Mick Briggs) spoke to saying that they had never seen the reserve so quiet!

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (0/1) Blackbird, (1/0) Sedge Warbler, (5/5) Whitethroat, (1/0) Blackcap, (2/0) Willow Warbler, (0/1) Great Tit, (0/1) Greenfinch and (2/2) Goldfinch.

  Not a great result for having both sites open but the steady catch of warblers keeps there annual total creeping up at a time when we don't get that many usually.

Also reported on the reserve on the 23rd April were -

x1 Short Eared Owl
x1 Barn Owl
x1 Buzzard
x2 Marsh Harrier
x4 Spotted Redshank
Little Ringed Plover
x2 Grasshopper Warbler
x1 Fieldfare (North - am)
x1 Cuckoo

x7 Muntjac (4 Males and 3 Females)

Broad Bodied Chaser
Record numbers of Green Hairstreak - 500+ in one spot! 1000's over the whole reserve! Many butterflies were on the wing today in the near tropical conditions by midday.

N.B. - Please read on after the photo's below for info on the "Best Twitch in the World Ever!"
Speckled Wood photographed on the 23rd April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Green Hairstreak photographed on the 23rd April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Holly Blue photographed on the 23rd April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Holly Blue photographed on the 23rd April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

The second Sedge Warbler ringed of 2011 on the 23rd April.
Photo - Mick Briggs

The second Sedge Warbler ringed of 2011 on the 23rd April.
Photo - Mick Briggs
  In the afternoon Lynda Briggs, Kev Wilson and myself (Mick Briggs) travelled over to Ruckland near Louth to get to grips at long last with the White Tailed Eagle that has been travelling up and down the East Coast although it has seemed to be spending most of its time in the area just South of Louth.
  We had a strong feeling that today was going to be jackpot day as we had Dave Sat' watching the bird in a tree when we set off from Skegness. On route the bird flew and he lost it! Our hearts sank but before we arrived there, he had refound it close by, again sat in a tree.
  Upon arrival we quickly saw the bird and then phoned Nigel Lound (Gib regular) who then set off from Skegness. The bird remained in the tree and Nige and his partner Kath connected in timely fashion, which then allowed us to move to a better position to view the "monster in the tree".
  Shortly after moving, Nige spotted a Kite flying into the valley. Upon seeing the Kite, Kev started shouting "Black Kite!" and seconds later it became apparent that we had just discovered a stunning Black Kite circling the tree that the Eagle was in!
  Whilst watching the Black Kite moving through the valley, Lynda (who was the only one still watching the Eagle) then started shouting "The eagle's flying!".
  We all switched our attention to the "Monster" that was now lazily flapping it's way through the valley before being totally dumfounded to see that the Eagle was now being attacked in flight by the Black Kite!!!!!

  What an incredible experience! I thought to myself "Carlsberg don't do twitches but if they did, they would probably be the best twitches in the world!"

Kev managed to video both birds that afternoon. The Eagle was a splendid wonder and yet amazingly hard to catch up with, I had spent literally days looking for this bird and had now finally got it off my "Lincs List". The Black Kite was a "find first" for Kev Wilson who was absolutely ecstatic!
  Luckily the birds stayed in the area that evening and the next morning, a large ammount of birders and twitches from both Lincolnshire and farther afield connected with both birds through out the day. What a result!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Ringing on 22nd Apr 2011

Bank Holiday Friday and George was ringing again today at the Observatory and later, at Aylmer Avenue. He was joined today by a visiting ringer - Chris Hansell.  They ended the day with 23 birds processed including 15 New birds and 8 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (0/1) Wren, (0/1) Robin, (1/0) Lesser Whitethroat, (4/1) Whitethroat, (1/0) Garden Warbler, (1/0) Blue Tit, (1/0) Great Tit, (1/0) Chaffinch and (6/5) Goldfinch.

  The Lesser Whitethroat was just the second of the year whilst the Garden Warbler was the first of the year! The Garden Warbler was the joint second earliest ever, matching a bird ringed on the 22nd April 1968. Indeed there have only ever been three April Garden Warblers ringed at Gib ever, besides today's and the 1968 bird there was also one on the 24th April 1983 and then the earliest ever on the 21st April 1996.

  So today's Garden Warbler misses out on the earliest ever record by just three days, this is seriously early though when you consider that there have only been 24 years when Garden Warblers were caught in May, let alone April out of the 62 years that ringing has been going on at Gib. Generally we don't get Garden Warbler off the year list for the Observatory untill at least June/July and often as late as August.

  A pretty good day then, what will tomorrow bring?
The 1st Garden Warbler of the 2011 - joint second earliest ever, ringed on the 22nd of April.
Photo - George Gregory 
Mick Briggs meantime was frantically trying to get Purple Heron in Lincolnshire by positioning himself in the hide at "Huttoft Pit" at 5.30am in the morning. By 8am there was no sign of the bird mainly due to the hopeless fog and mist that kept visibilty down to less than a hundred feet all morning.
  Upon arriving at Gib at 9.30am he recieved a text saying that the Heron was on show! A few expletives were heard in the Gib carpark before he jumped back in the car and shot off back to Huttoft!
  The bird remained on show for Mick Briggs to get cracking views in the now increasing sun. Amazing though that such a big bird can disappear into the reeds for lengthy periods before showing again. Just shows how big and thick the reeds can get in a healthy reed bed.

  Below is the best of a bad bunch of digiscoped shots that i managed to get.

By the time I got back in the car, I was mentally exhausted and decided to go home to bed!

Purple Heron at Huttoft Pit on the 22nd April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Purple Heron at Huttoft Pit on the 22nd April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ringing on 21st Apr 2011

George again ringed today, firstly at the Observatory and then later on, over at Aylmer Avenue with the result that 23 birds were processed with 13 New birds and 10 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retraps) - (0/1) Great Spotted Woodpecker, (1/1) Whitethroat, (2/0) Willow Warbler, (1/1) Great Tit, (0/2) Greenfinch, (8/5) Goldfinch and (1/0) Linnet.

  Not the most stunning result of the year so far but three more Warblers keep the total creeping up and Spring Warblers at Gib in some years are often in very short supply.

  The Great Spotted Woodpecker was originally ringed on the 18th Dec 2010 and has now been caught four more times including today. It had a well defined Brood Patch today and so must be breeding some where either close to the reserve or on it? Hopefully it will bring it young for some peanuts when they fledge.
  The Retrap Whitethroat was originally ringed at The Observatory on the 21st June 2010 as a juvenile and has it would seems returned to breed exactly where it was born having now been trapped twice since its return on the 20th April.

  Well done George, more of the same tomorrow hopefully.

2nd year female Great Spotted Woodpecker retrapped on the 21st Apr 2011 and sporting a well defined brood patch.
Photo - George Gregory

Ringing on 20th Apr 2011

  George was back in action today ringing at the the Observatory first thing before switching to Aylmer Avenue at dinner time for a few hours. There were 21 birds processed with 15 New birds and just 6 Retraps.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retraps) - (0/1) Meadow Pipit, (1/0) Sedge Warbler, (1/0) Lesser Whitethroat, (2/1) Whitethroat, (1/0) Blackcap, (3/0) Chiffchaff, (1/0) Willow Warbler, (0/1) Great Tit, (2/3) Greenfinch, (3/0) Goldfinch and (1/0) Siskin.

  The Sedge Warbler was the first one of the year and this is surprisingly not actually early historically. Although consider that as recently as 2008 we had no Spring Sedge Warblers caught at all and in 1994 we caught none at all during the entire year!, it is actually quite a good result. Mostly the Gib Sedge Warbelrs turn up during tyhe second week in May although there have been around 10 years since 1949 when they have been caught during April. The earliest catches ever were on the 20th April 1983, 19th April 1968 and an amazingily, the earliest record ever was the 9th April 1989! Overall, in recent years, the 20th is a fairly early date for the first Sedge Warbler.

  The Meadow Pipit retrap is the 3rd one caught this year and was actually ringed on the 23rd June 2010 as a nestling on the reserve, the first retrap of a Gib nestling in recent years.

  The Lesser Whitethroat was also the first of the year and is four days earlier than last year and six days earlier than 2009. Indeed todays bird was actually the earliest ever beating the previous earliest ever Lesser Whitethroat ringed on 24th Apr 2010. This species seems to be arriving earlier and earlier with virtually no April records before the start of the new millenium.

  The Siskin was the 40th New Sikin ringed this year which is a very respectable Spring total for Gib. The Goldfinch pictured below showed some interesting colour tones amongst it head feathering today when caught at Aylmer Avenue today.

  All good stuff!, good effort George, wonder if there will be any possible firsts for the year, left for me (Mick Briggs) to catch by next weekend?

Also Reported on the reserve on the 20th Apr -

Hoopoe! (Report recieved by email on the 24th Apr!)

Goldfinch ringed on the 20th Apr 2011 at Aylmer Avenue showing some unusual colour tones amongst the head feathering.
Photo - George Gregory

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Ringing on 19th Apr 2011

Double Sessions were the order of the day with George ringing at the Observatory during the morning with Mike Polling ringing at Aylmer Avenue for a very long session from early morning onwards. The result was 46 birds processed which included 18 New birds and 28 Retraps!

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (0/1) Robin, (1/0) Blackbird, (2/2) Whitethroat, (2/0) Willow Warbler, (0/1) Coal Tit, (0/1) Blue Tit, (1/6) Great Tit, (0/2) Chaffinch, (1/3) Greenfinch, (10/12) Goldfinch and (1/0) Reed Bunting.

  A fair day, but with two sites being ringed at the same time, we would of hoped for better, it would seem that the spring migrants are really only trickling through whilst the out going finches and the likes have all but gone, although 10 New Goldfinch are alwasy a bonus and 22 Goldfinch handled in one day can't be all bad!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Ringing on 18th Apr 2011

George was ringing at the Observatory again today with a little help from Tim during a flying visit mid morning. Nets were open for most of the morning with the result that 10 birds were processed including 9 New birds and just 1 Retrap.

  The catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (1/0) Meadow Pipit, (1/1) Wren, (1/0) Robin, (1/0) Wheatear, (2/0) Blackcap, (2/0) Willow Warbler and (1/0) Reed Bunting.

  The Meadow Pipit was the second of the year ringed whilst the Wheatear was the third of the year ringed, not bad when you consider that normally we wouldn't really expect to get either of these species untill at least August, Spring catches of these two species are highly unusual.

  Not a bad day then, despite the low numbers, the quality of the catch was well above average.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Ringing on 17th Apr 2011

A truly dismal day today although George tried his best over at the Observatory during the morning, there were only two birds processed. They were a single New Robin and a single Retrap Wren.

  On a much more positive side, George's Robin was the 1,000th bird ringed this year so far, so Well done George! just a few more thousand to go! However at the present rate of increase in the ringing totals, we shall be a long time doing the next thousand! Roll on the Autumn! Although there are still plenty of breeding birds on the reserve to mop up yet!, and to be honest there should still be plenty of Spring migrants to push through yet.

  In the afternoon we held our first Meeting for 2011 of the Observatory Team which went very well. Lots was discussed and many decisions agreed upon, news of which I will post on here at the appropriate time.

Reported on the reserve on the 17th April were -

x1 Hen Harrier
Grasshopper Warbler
Common Whitethroat

Esteemed Observatory Team Members Tim Bagworth and Mark Grantham after our Obs Team meeting.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Ringing on 16th Apr 2011

Following the arrival of a nice new set of six spring traps for the Observatory, Mick Briggs decided to field test them at the Field Station today. Results were not great with only one Wheatear present which quickly cleared off and no sign of the Black Redstart that had been present all week untill Thursday Night! There was the Stonechat present since Tuesday but it was unfortunately in the middle of the Old Saltmarsh all morning. Luckily though after a couple of hours hoping that the 2 Field Station Pied Wagtails would drop down into a Spring Trap, a couple of "super fine" male Wheatears dropped onto the Field Station Wall, overlooking the Spring Traps and within a minute one of the Wheatears dropped off the wall straight onto the trap and was bagged thirty seconds later!
  George mean while was over at the Observatory for a couple of hours and was rewarded with just 7 birds processed including 3 New birds and 4 Retraps including 1 Foreign Control.

  The days combined catch was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (0/2) Wren, (0/1) Dunnock, (1/0) Wheatear, (1/0) Whitethroat, (0/1) Willow Warbler and (2/0) Linnet.

  The Whitethroat was the first one of the year, six days earlier than the first one ringed last year (22nd Apr) and a full ten days earlier than 2009 (26th Apr). Indeed having just spent half an hour trawling through all available records of Whitethroat on IPMR for GPBO, of which there are 9366 on the database although we have actually ringed 10,158 (Most Records pre 1960 still not in due to technical issues).
  I have found that todays Whitethroat was actually the second earliest on record for the Obs with the earliest ever being a bird ringed on the 15th April 1979 although during that year, another Whitethroat wasn't caught untill the 9th May! Indeed upon checking the data I found that in the majority of years we don't actually catch a Whitethroat usually untill the first week of May and it is only in the last ten years or so that we can reasonably "Expect" to catch the first Whitethroat during the last two weeks of April.

  Todays bird is only 1 day later than the earliest on record for the Obs, so well done George!

  However todays best bird was a real star! our second Foreign Control of 2011. George extracted on his first net round, a Spanish Ringed Willow Warbler!!!! - ESI. KX2194. This is actually our first Willow Warbler from Spain although we have had one of our birds found dead in Spain back in 1982. Indeed the only other foreign ringed Willow Warbler we have had is a bird back in 1984 from Belgium.
  Now I know that plenty of people read this Blog but I wouldn't think that many people in Spain are reading the blog, but as usual, if you are responsible for this bird and know of it's origins in Spain, please let us know by emailing me (Mick Briggs) at preferably in English please!
  All in all, a jolly good day for the Observatory, not too many birds but stacks of quality!

  Hopefully more of the same real soon.

Also reported on the reserve today were -

x1 Spoonbill (North at 19.20)
x1 Hen Harrier (Ringtail)
x1 Marsh Harrier (East)
x1 Buzzard (East)
x1 Short Eared Owl
x1 Barn Owl
x1 Common Sandpiper (Harveys Hide)
x52 Avocet
x2 Little Ringed Plover
x9 Black Tailed Godwit (Harveys Hide)
x30 Snipe (south)
x2 Mediteranean Gull
x3 Wheatear (Field Station)
x2 Yellow Wagtail (Croft Marsh)
x1 Stonechat (Male)
x11 Swallow
x2 Sand Martin (South)
x1 Ring Ouzel
x4 Redwing (South)
x13 Crossbill (10 South and 3 in beach car park pines)
x2 Grasshopper Warbler
x2 Sedge Warbler
x5 Whitethroat
x1 Reed Warbler
x3 Blackcap
x5 Willow Warbler
x5 Chiffchaff
x1 Brambling
x26 Shorelark (On saltings North of North Building per Kev Wilson)

Spanish ringed Willow Warbler caught on 16th Apr 2011 - the Obs first Spanish Willow Warbler ever!
Photo - Mick Briggs

Spanish ringed Willow Warbler caught on 16th Apr 2011 - the Obs first Spanish Willow Warbler ever!
Note - here you can see the Spanish ring.
Photo - Mick Briggs

2nd year Whitethroat, the first ringed of 2011 on the 16th Apr.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Female Linnet ringed on the 16th Apr 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

2nd year male Wheatear ringed on 16th Apr 2011 at the Field Station.
Photo - Mick Briggs

2nd year male Wheatear ringed on 16th Apr 2011 at the Field Station.
Photo - Mick Briggs

2nd year male Wheatear showing replaced tertials, new scapulars and 6ogc ringed on the 16th Apr 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Friday, 22 April 2011

Ringing on 15th Apr 2011

Today Tim Bagworth was ringing at Aylmer Avenue during the morning whilst George opened up a few nets at the Observatory at the same time.
  The results were just a single New Blackcap at the Obs whilst Tim managed just 19 birds processed at Aylmer Avnue, with 11 New birds and 7 Retraps. However 2 of these Retraps were infact British Controls!

  The catch for the day was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (0/1) Dunnock, (1/0) Song Thrush, (2/0) Blackcap, (1/0) Chiffchaff, (0/2) Blue Tit, (1/1) Great Tit, (0/1) Chaffinch, (0/1) Greenfinch and (7/1) Goldfinch.

  The 2 Controls were a British Control Goldfinch - L744538 at 7.45am whilst then at 9.55am there was a British Control Greenfinch - TS00275. Two Controls in one day can't be bad! but this really does go to show just how important the feeding station is for catching quality birds, even in the last half of April!

  As usual, if anybody knows the origins of these birds, please let us know by Emailing me (Mick Briggs) at mbriggs@gibobs,fsworld, and I shall report back on their origins on this blog.

 Now the ringers at Gib really are starting to get very clever at catching more than one Control in one day but Tim is still one Control behind catching the 3 Controls that Mike Polling got in one day, a month ago or so! Better luck next time Tim, but Well Done anyway, very good effort!

Also reported on the reserve today were -

x1 Blackcap
x1 Sparrowhawk
x1 Buzzard
x1 Swallow