Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mid November 2012

November 20th: Windy and rainy. Around were 4 Waxwings, 2 Bearded Tits, a Corn Bunting, a male Hen Harrier, a female Marsh Harrier, a Woodcock and 5 Bramblings. On the Mere were a Water Rail and a Jack Snipe. Offshore was an Eider. South went a Water Pipit.

November 19th: Windy, with light rain in afternoon. At least 14 Waxwings were present. Other notables included 2 Bearded Tits, a Water Pipit, a Treecreeper and a Woodcock.
Ringing was not possible.

November 18th: Frosty start, then sunny. Moving south were 36 Waxwings. On Tennyson Sands were 3 Bearded Tits and a Water Rail, on the Mere a male Goosander, and on the river 5 Whooper Swans. Flying south were 2 Lapland Buntings, a Bullfinch and 5 Bramblings. Around were 11 Corn Buntings, 18 Snow Buntings, a Merlin, a Peregrine, a Kingfisher and a Treecreeper.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue provided the usual species in moderate numbers but nothing of real note.

Sunset on the 17th promised a cracking day on the 18th but it just didn't really seem to live up to recent days at Aylmer?
Photo - Mick Briggs

November 17th: Drizzly morning, then mild. Around were a Rough-legged Buzzard, a Hen Harrier, a Peregrine, a Merlin, 3 Woodcocks, a Purple Sandpiper, 4 Water Rails and 1300 Pink-footed Geese. At sea were a Long-tailed Duck, 2 Great Northern Divers and 20 Little Gulls. Flying south were 40 Waxwings, 41 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Crossbills, 2 Snow Buntings, a Water Pipit and 42 Siskins, and northwest a Bean Goose and 17 Pink-footed Geese. A Waxwing hung around near Aylmer Avenue for much of the day.
  A ringing session from just after the rain stopped at 11am until late afternoon at Aylmer resulted in a reasonable catch, including a Woodcock.

                                                2+CY Woodcock (George Gregory)

November 16th: Colder. Southward movers over land included 41 Waxwings, 150 Siskins, 10 Bramblings, 2 Crossbills and 2 Snow Buntings, and over sea 5 Bewick's Swans, a Great Northern Diver, 69 Eiders, 50 Common Scoters and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers. An influx of Pink-footed Geese resulted in 2600 present or moving through. High tide wader counts featured 5000 Knots, 2400 Bar-tailed Godwits, 750 Sanderlings and 1950 Grey Plovers. Around were a male Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Woodcock and 3 more Snow Buntings.
A final morning ringing session for this year on East Dunes provided a Blackbird with an Arnhem VT Holland ring. A session at Aylmer Avenue resulted in a new Brambling and a few others of the usual species processed.

                             2+CY male Dutch-ringed control Blackbird (George Gregory)

November 15th: Persistent fog. The Cetti's Warbler was refound near Prince's Pond. On Tennyson Sands were 4 Bearded Tits. The best other birds present were 2+ Waxwings, a Long-eared Owl, a Snow Bunting, 5 Redwings, 10 Fieldfares, 6 Goldcrests, 5 Water Pipits, 500 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Water Rails, a Treecreeper, a Green Sandpiper and 5 Bramblings.
Ringing at Aylmer Avenue was again reasonably rewarding, birds of interest including a new Sparrowhawk and a retrap Coal Tit.

November 14th: Around were 18 Waxwings, a Firecrest, 4 Water Pipits, a Chiffchaff, a Yellowhammer, 2 Water Rails, 600 Pink-footed Geese, a Peregrine and a Merlin. Offshore were 130 Common Scoters. Heading south were another 3 Waxwings, 3 Whooper Swans, 3 Yellowhammers, 18 Snow Buntings and 6 Siskins.
  A ringing session at East Dunes produced only a new Siskin, but a longer one at Aylmer Avenue was again fairly productive, with the usual finches and others trapped.

November 13th: Damp start but mild. The Cetti's Warbler reappeared near Mill Hill. On Tennyson Sands were 2 Bearded Tits, briefly. On the Mere was a Water Rail. Around were 450 Pink-footed Geese, a Merlin, 2 Short-eared Owls and 2 Yellowhammers. South went a Mediterranean Gull, 7 Whooper Swans, 2 Snow Buntings, 10 Crossbills and 2 Siskins, and east an Egyptian Goose.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue produced a reasonable catch, including 2 Goldcrests and 2 Lesser Redpolls, but otherwise mostly the usual finches. At one point there were 15 Crossbills circling over the nets but they didn't seem to understand what the rules of the game were...

                                              Pink-footed Geese (George Gregory)

November 12th: Mild morning, persistent light rain in afternoon. Southward movers included 11 Whooper Swans, 37 Great Crested Grebes, 130 Common Scoters, 25 Stock Doves, 100 Siskins, a Yellowhammer, 7 Twites, 6 Bramblings and 2 Tree Sparrows. On the Mere was a Water Rail. Around on land were a Water Pipit, a Snow Bunting, a Bullfinch and 2 Goldcrests, and offshore 3 Slavonian Grebes and 14 Eiders.
A prolonged ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was quite productive, the most interesting new birds being 3 Yellowhammers and a Tree Sparrow.

November 11th: A frosty start with clear sky for much of the night. Sun and scattered high altitude cloud for the whole day with a slight south-westerly wind. Birds around included 2+ Waxwings, a Cetti's Warbler showing occasionally between Mill Hill and Shovelers Pool, a male Hen Harrier, a Merlin, 450 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Water Rails, a Chiffchaff, 60 Siskins, 15 Goldcrests, 5 Bramblings, a Bullfinch, 5 Crossbills and 15 Corn Buntings. Flying south over the beach was a Snow Bunting, whilst south over the dunes were 20 Lesser Redpolls, 110 Siskins and 10 Bramblings.
  Ringing at the Observatory resulted in just 2 new birds ringed, whilst at Aylmer Avenue 49 new birds were ringed, including 31 Greenfinches, several Goldfinches and Chaffinches, a single Lesser Redpoll and a single female Brambling.
  However, the real star birds were in the form of not one but two foreign controls. The first was a female Blackbird wearing a ring from Stavanger Museum, Norway (the 2nd Blackbird from Norway this November). The second control of the day was a real corker - a Goldcrest wearing a ring from Riks Museum, Sweden.
Stavanger Museum, Norway Ring number 7576514 on a 1st year female Blackbird controlled at Aylmer Avenue on the 11th November 2012. The 2nd Norwegian Blackbird of November.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Riks Museum, Sweden Ring number SX5789 on a first year male Goldcrest controlled at Aylmer Avenue on the 11th November 2012. Our first foreign control Goldcrest this year and the fourth from Sweden since 2005.
Ringers amongst you will notice that the ring is slightly longer than a British ring.
Photo - Mick Briggs
   Also of note was a superb example of Diplolepis rosae, a gall, commonly known as Bedeguar Gall or Robin's Pincushion Gall or sometimes Moss Gall. The gall develops as a chemically induced distortion of an unopened leaf axillary or terminal bud, in this case on a Dog Rose although it can also be found on Field Rose. It is caused  by the parthenogenetic hymenopteran Gall Wasp, Diplolepis rosae.
  Being so prominent and interesting in appearance, the gall has more folklore attached to it than most. The term Bedeguar comes from the French word Bedegar and is ultimately from the Persian, Bad-awar, meaning 'wind brought'. Robin in Robin's Pincushion refers to the woodland sprite of English Folklore, Robin Goodfellow.
  The gall is surrounded by a dense mass of sticky filaments giving the appearance of a ball of moss. The filaments are often brightly coloured and are usually at their best in September, starting off green and then passing through pink and crimson, eventually becoming a reddish brown. Large specimens can be up to 10cm in width, with this one not being far off that at around 7cm in diameter. The wasps' larvae will develop through the winter until finally emerging in May when the structure will appear brown, woody and dry looking.
  In this case with the gall being so high off the ground, it is unlikely that many wasps will emerge from the gall as most will perish during the freezing conditions of the winter. Generally, the lower the gall is, the higher the survival to wasp stage the larvae has.
  It was thought historically that the gall once dried and powdered could be used as a good cure for colic, as a diuretic and as a remedy for toothache. Once burnt, the ashes mixed with honey could be used as a cure for baldness, whilst if placed under a pillow, would induce sleep. A veritable Cure All it would seem!
 Bedeguar Gall or Robin's Pincushion Gall or sometimes known as Moss Gall - 11th November 2012
 Photo - Mick Briggs 

 Bedeguar Gall or Robin's Pincushion Gall or sometimes known as Moss Gall - 11th November 2012. The structure is the result of a chemically induced distortion of an unopened leaf axillary or terminal bud
Photo - Mick Briggs

 Bedeguar Gall or Robin's Pincushion Gall or sometimes known as Moss Gall - 11th November 2012.
The gall is surrounded by a dense mass of sticky filaments giving the appearance of a ball of moss.
 Photo - Mick Briggs 

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