Saturday, 21 December 2013

Late December 2013

December 31st: Moderate southerly wind, cloudy, occasional light rain.
 Birds around included 6 Fieldfares, 2500 Golden Plovers and 800 Lapwings.

December 30th: Strong south-westerly wind, cloudy, mostly rainy.
 The weather made birding difficult. Around were 6 Fieldfares, 2000 Golden Plovers and 500 Lapwings.

December 29th: Light south-westerly wind, cold start but mostly clear.
 Birds around included 22 Corn Buntings, a Yellowhammer, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Mistle Thrushes and 38 Fieldfares. Heading south were 4 Redwings and 5 Fieldfares. At sea were 30 Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe and 2 Shags, while 30 Common Scoters went south. On Croftmarsh were 850 Golden Plovers and 110 Lapwings.
 A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was moderately successful. The new birds were a Wren, a Chaffinch, a Goldfinch, a Greenfinch and 2 Blackbirds; the retraps were 6 Greenfinches, a Coal Tit, a Blue Tit and a Dunnock.

December 28th: Fairly strong south-westerly wind, partly cloudy.
 The Chiffchaff remained in the Plantation. On Tennyson Sands were 37 Black-tailed Godwits and a Pochard, and on Croftmarsh 3200 Golden Plovers and 800 Lapwings.
 A brief, wind-restricted ringing session at Aylmer Avenue produced just 2 retrap Greenfinches.

December 27th: Strong south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 The wind made birding difficult. Birds around included a Chiffchaff in the Plantation, 22 Fieldfares in West Dunes, and 3500 Golden Plovers and 1000 Lapwings on Croftmarsh.

December 26th: Moderate south-westerly wind, variable cloud, damp start.
 Around were a Goldcrest and 3 Redwings. On Croftmarsh were 600 Lapwings and 2000 Golden Plovers.
  A very disappointing morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in only 3 new birds and 17 retraps. The new birds were 2 Greenfinches and a Goldfinch. The retraps were 7 Greenfinches, 3 Great Tits, 3 Dunnocks, 2 Chaffinches, a Blue Tit and a Goldfinch.

December 25th: Fairly strong south-westerly wind, mostly clear.
 On Croftmarsh were 2500 Golden Plovers, 700 Lapwings and 80 Curlews, and on Tennyson Sands 48 Black-tailed Godwits.

December 24th: Quite strong south-westerly wind, cloudy, damp start.
 The only notables were a Chiffchaff, 600 Lapwings and 3000 Golden Plovers.

December 23rd: Strong south-westerly wind, cloudy, occasional light rain.
 Around was a Woodcock. On or over Croftmarsh were 500 Lapwings and 3000 Golden Plovers.

December 22nd: Strong south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 Birds around included 2 Fieldfares, a Woodcock, a Chiffchaff and a Redpoll. On Croftmarsh were 3000 Golden Plovers and 750 Lapwings. Offshore were 2 Red-throated Divers, 7 Eiders and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers. Flying north were 4 Red-throated Divers, 3 Eiders and 2 Guillemots, south 5 Red-throated Divers, 2 Eiders and a Guillemot, and west 7 Pink-footed Geese.

December 21st: Strong south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 A Mistle Thrush was singing. On Jackson's Marsh were 130 Wigeon. Croftmarsh held 3500 Golden Plover (of which 500 flew south later) and 800 Lapwing (of which 200 flew south later). A Great Northern Diver was on the sea, then flew south.
 A Great Grey Shrike ringed at Gibraltar Point on 4 November 2012, ring number LE46061, has apparently been sighted recently, with partial ring number read in field, between Bassingham and Aubourn, Lincolnshire. The original photographs are below.

Great Grey Shrike ringed 4 November 2012 at Gibraltar Point.
Photo - George Gregory
Great Grey Shrike ringed 4 November 2012 at Gibraltar Point.
Photo - George Gregory

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Mid December 2013

ACCESS TO GIBRALTAR POINT
 Some paths and bird watching hides are open but access is restricted. Please take note of any signage on site.
 The Visitor Centre, cafe and toilets are severely flood-damaged and will be closed for some time.
 Beach Car Park (North Car Park) is open. From this car park there is access to the hides on Tennyson Sands and on Jackson's Marsh. Mere hide is open but access beyond, along Mill Pond Road to Mill Hill viewpoint, is closed due to flooding. There is no access to Fenland Lagoon hides due to serious footpath damage. The West Dunes are closed due to the presence of cattle.
 The Main Car Park (Visitor Centre Car Park) is open from dawn until dusk. From this car park there is access to the beach, to the East Dunes and to Mill Hill viewpoint. 
 Please note that the road to the Visitor Centre, immediately before The Hump, is prone to re-flooding as water seeps out from the surrounding dunes.

December 20th: Increasing south-westerly wind, increasing cloud.
 Due to limited access, most records were from Croftmarsh, where there were 3200 Golden Plovers and 500 Lapwings. Around were 30 Fieldfares.
  A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 11 new birds and 29 retraps. The new birds were 5 Greenfinches, 4 Goldfinches and 2 Blue Tits. The retraps were 14 Greenfinches, 5 Goldfinches, 4 Blue Tits, 3 Great Tits and singles of Robin, Dunnock and Chaffinch.

December 19th: Quite strong south-westerly wind, mostly clear.
 Around were a Ring-necked Parakeet and 32 Black-tailed Godwits.

December 18th: Strong southerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 Birds around included 200 Pink-footed Geese and 1000 Lapwings.

December 17th: Light south-westerly wind, clear and sunny.
 The late Swallow was still around Sykes Farm. Also around were a Chiffchaff, a Brambling, a Short-eared Owl and 2500 Lapwings. South went 6 Whooper Swans. Across the River Steeping were 177 Pink-footed Geese and 6 Whooper Swans. Over Croftmarsh was a Common Buzzard.
  A disappointing ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 7 new birds and 13 retraps. The new birds were 4 Greenfinches, 2 Goldfinches and a Lesser Redpoll. The retraps were 6 Greenfinches, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Blue Tits and singles of Great Tit, Chaffinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

December 16th: Moderate south-westerly wind, cloudy, some rain.
 The presumed-same late Swallow was around Sykes Farm. Other notables were a Short-eared Owl, 11 Corn Buntings, a Brambling, 4 Redpolls, 2 Redwings and a Coal Tit. A Merlin headed south.

December 15th: Increasing south-westerly wind, partly cloudy.
 Birds around included a late Swallow around North Car Park, 2 Redwings, A Green Woodpecker and a Woodcock. At sea a Great Skua flew north, and a Black-throated Diver and 2 Harbour Porpoises were offshore.
 A disappointing ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in only 5 new birds and 19 retraps. The new birds were 4 Greenfinches and a Goldfinch. The retraps were 13 Greenfinches, 2 Great Tits and singles of Robin, Blue Tit, Dunnock and Chaffinch.

Despite being pumped dry once, Gibraltar Road near the Yacht Club has reflooded due to sideways seepage of flood water, 15 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Drying out Bird Observatory, 15 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Drying out Bird Observatory, 15 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
December 14th: Increasing south-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
 Around was a Woodcock.
 A weather-restricted morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was disappointing. The only new bird was a Brambling, while the retraps were a Blue Tit, 3 Greenfinches, a Coal Tit and a Dunnock.

December 13th: Moderate south-westerly wind, cloudy, rainy morning.
 Birds around included a Water Pipit, a Chiffchaff, 47 Black-tailed Godwits, 1050 Lapwings, 600 Golden Plovers, 2 Redwings, a Song Thrush, a Green Woodpecker and a Woodcock.
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE RESERVE IS STILL CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

December 12th: Moderate south-westerly wind, damp start, cloudy.
 Around were a Chiffchaff, 2 Redwings, 5 Fieldfares, a Woodcock and a Green Woodpecker. Flying west over Croftmarsh were 5 Bewick's Swans.
 PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE RESERVE IS STILL CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

December 11th: Moderate south-westerly wind, damp, cold, foggy morning.
 Birds around included 1200 Pink-footed Geese, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Song Thrushes, a Water Rail, 2 Woodcock, a Redwing and 2 Fieldfares.
 A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 26 new birds and 54 retraps. The new birds were 17 Greenfinches, 5 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinches, a Goldcrest and a Siskin. The retraps were 21 Greenfinches, 13 Blue Tits, 12 Great Tits, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches and singles of Coal Tit, Dunnock, Robin and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
 PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE RESERVE IS STILL CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Early December 2013

December 10th: Light to moderate south-westerly wind, foggy morning then clear.
 Around were a Chiffchaff, 47 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Song Thrushes, a male Hen Harrier, a Short-eared Owl, 1200 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Fieldfares, 2 Pintail, a Water Rail and a Green Woodpecker.
 PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE RESERVE IS STILL CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. 

December 9th: Moderate south-westerly wind, cloudy.
 Birds around included a Water Rail, 48 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Buzzard, a Whooper Swan, a Woodcock, 2 Pintail, a Yellowhammer and a Song Thrush.
 PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE RESERVE IS STILL CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. 

December 8th: Moderate south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 Around were a Lapland Bunting, a Common Buzzard, a Merlin, a Short-eared Owl, 4 Snow Buntings, 12 Fieldfares, 21 Black-tailed Godwits and a Green Woodpecker.On Jackson's Marsh was a Pintail. Offshore were 6 Common Scoters, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and 103 Cormorants. Early morning, 900 Pink-footed Geese flew from the estuary across the River Steeping.
 A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David and Liv Vincent resulted in 12 new birds and 24 retraps. The new birds were 10 Greenfinches, a Chaffinch and a Chiffchaff. The retraps were 9 Greenfinches, 5 Great Tits, 4 Blue Tits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and singles of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock and Goldcrest. The Chiffchaff was the first December-ringed Chiffchaff since 2009!
 PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE RESERVE IS STILL CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. 

Tide mark on outside of Bird Observatory, 8 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Gibraltar Road near Yacht Club still flooded, 8 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Entrance to Mill Pond Road, 8 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Breach in Bulldog Bank, 8 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Another breach in Bulldog Bank, 8 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Fenland Lagoon Sluice isolated by breach in bank, 8 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Subsidence at West Dunes, 8 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
December 7th: Moderate south-westerly wind, partly cloudy.
 Birds around included a male Hen Harrier, 5 Woodcock, a Green Woodpecker, a Merlin, 11 Fieldfares, 2+ Water Pipits, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Siskin and a Goldcrest. Offshore were 2 Common Scoters and a Gannet.

Mere Meadow and Freshwater Marsh flooded, 7 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Mill Pond Road flooded and Mere Hide cut off, 7 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Collapsed ramp of Heligoland trap, 7 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Shorebird Warden's Base (Tern Hut) shifted, 7 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
South Marsh Road flooded, 7 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
December 6th: Light westerly wind, partly cloudy.
 All of the buildings at the Field Station complex,including the Cafe and Shop, and large parts of the reserve, have been flooded.
 The NNR, Field Station, Cafe and Shop are closed until further notice.
 Around were 3 Woodcock, a Short-eared Owl, a male Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Common Buzzard, a Green Woodpecker, a Goldcrest, 3 Redwings and 2 Fieldfares. At high tide 1000 Bar-tailed Godwits were counted.

Drift material on top of gate, 6 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Collapsed wall at Field Station, 6 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Tide mark on outside wall of Field Station, 6 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Drift material by bicycle racks, 6 December 2013.
George Gregory
Internal flood damage in Field Station Annexe, 6 December 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
December 5th: Strong westerly wind, increasing then gradually decreasing, cloudy, early afternoon rain, tidal surge and flooding in evening.
 Birds around included a Merlin and a Woodcock. On Fenland Lagoon were a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Redshanks, on Tennyson Sands 2 Gadwall, on Croftmarsh 35 Lapwings, and on Jackson's Marsh 25 Wigeon and a Curlew.

December 4th: Moderate westerly wind, clouds and sun.
 The Hume's Leaf Warbler remained in the Plantation. Around were 2 Redwings and a Redpoll. On the Mere were 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Pintail, on Fenland Lagoon a Black-tailed Godwit, and on Tennyson Sands 800 Lapwings, 4 Curlews, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Pintail.
 A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue provided 12 new birds: 6 Goldfinches, a Blue Tit and 5 Greenfinches; and 11 retraps: 2 Blue Tits, 2 Goldfinches, a Chaffinch, a Dunnock, a Great Tit, 2 Greenfinches, a Robin and a Wren.
We are very grateful to Graham Catley for sending his excellent images of the Hume's Leaf Warbler.

Hume's Leaf Warbler in the Plantation.
Photo - Graham Catley
Hume's Leaf Warbler in the Plantation.
Photo - Graham Catley
December 3rd: Light south-westerly wind, cloudy.
The Hume's Leaf Warbler was still in the Plantation.

December 2nd: Light south-westerly wind, damp start, foggy all day.
 A Hume's Leaf Warbler was discovered in the Plantation. Also around was a Merlin. On Jackson's Marsh were a Pink-footed Goose and a Pochard, on Tennyson Sands a Pintail, on the Mere 8 Black-tailed Godwits and a Pintail, and on Croftmarsh 6 Whooper Swans, 200 Lapwings and 20 Golden Plovers.

December 1st: Light north-westerly wind, sunny but freezing start, then warmed up.
 At dusk a Common Crane and 70 Little Egrets flew inland. Around were 2 Short-eared Owls, a Woodcock, a Kingfisher, a Green Woodpecker, 7 Fieldfares, 6 Snow Buntings and a Goldcrest. On the Mere were 46 Black-tailed Godwits, and on Fenland Lagoon 5 Redshanks. A Common Buzzard, 50 Pink-footed Geese, a Common Snipe and a Siskin flew south over land. At sea an Eider and 6 Red-throated Divers flew south, and 64 Common Scoter, 2 Gannets and 6 Red-throated Divers north, while offshore were 24 Red-throated Divers, 154 Cormorants and 13 Common Scoter.
  A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 17 new birds and 31 retraps. The new birds were 11 Greenfinches, 2 Goldfinches and singles of Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Blackbird. The retraps were 10 Greenfinches, 6 Blue Tits, 4 Great Tits, 3 Robins, 3 Dunnocks, 2 Goldfinches and singles of Chaffinch, Blackbird and Coal Tit.
 Good insects for December were a Peacock and 2 Ruddy Darters.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Late November 2013

November 30th: Decreasing north-westerly wind, mostly cloudy, rainy morning.
 Birds around included a Merlin, a Green Woodpecker, a Short-eared Owl, 2 Corn Buntings, 3 Woodcock and a Lapland Bunting. On the Mere were 2 Water Rails, and on Tennyson Sands a Pintail. At sea 37 Gannets, 10 Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe, 2 Eider, a Guillemot and 3 Mallard flew north, and 4 Gannets, 7 Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe and a Great Skua south, while offshore were 2 Red-throated Divers and 2 Great Crested Grebes. South down the beach went 3 Snow Buntings.

November 29th: Quite strong north-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 On the Mere were 5 Black-tailed Godwits and a Jack Snipe, on Fenland Lagoon 4 Redshanks, and on Tennyson Sands 50 Black-tailed Godwits and a Pintail.

November 28th: Light north-westerly wind, cloudy, mild.
 Around were a Short-eared Owl, a Green Woodpecker, a Snow Bunting and a Fieldfare. On Tennyson Sands were 800 Brent Geese, on Croftmarsh 400 Lapwings, on Fenland Lagoon 4 Redshanks, and on the Mere 43 Black-tailed Godwits and a Water Rail. Flying south were 29 Black-tailed Godwits.
 A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by Mike Polling yielded 15 new birds: a Goldfinch, a Chaffinch, 12 Greenfinches and a Blackbird; and 33 retraps, including 2 Goldcrests, but otherwise the usual common species.
 Trapped moths new for the year were Red Sword-Grass (rare in Lincolnshire) and Winter Moth.

November 27th: Moderate north-westerly wind, mostly cloudy, damp start but mild.
 Birds around, including those trapped, were 2 Goldcrests, a Yellowhammer, 3 Fieldfares and 7 Redwings. On Tennyson Sands were 1000 Brent Geese, on Croftmarsh another 50 Brent Geese, and on the Mere 50 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Common Snipes.
 A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was quite productive. The 31 new birds were a Goldcrest, 4 Chaffinches, 6 Goldfinches, a Blue Tit, a Yellowhammer, 17 Greenfinches and a Blackbird. The 25 retraps included a Goldcrest, but otherwise were the usual tits, finches and others.

November 26th; Moderate westerly wind, freezing start, mostly cloudy.
 Around were 4 Fieldfares, a Merlin and a Woodcock. On the Mere was a Water Rail, and on Tennyson Sands a Pintail.

November 25th: Moderate north-westerly wind, cloudy.
 Birds around included a Hen Harrier, a Peregrine, 2 Snow Buntings, 6 Fieldfares and a Woodcock. On the Mere were 49 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Snipe, a Jack Snipe and a Water Rail, on Fenland Lagoon 7 Redshanks and a Black-tailed Godwit, on Croftmarsh 2000 Golden Plovers and 5 Whooper Swans, and on Tennyson Sands a Pintail. Offshore were 200 Common Scoter, 40 Eider, 2 Red-throated Divers and 200+ Cormorants. Across the River Steeping were 1250 Pink-footed Geese.

November 24th: Increasing north-westerly then northeasterly wind, cloudy, drizzly start.
 Around were a Marsh Harrier, a Merlin and a Common Buzzard. On the Mere were 2 Jack Snipe and a Water Rail, on Tennyson Sands a Redshank, a Dunlin, a Pintail and a Pochard, and on Croftmarsh 3000 Golden Plovers and 10 Whooper Swans. At sea 10 Common Scoter, 2 Gannets, a Red-throated Diver, a Razorbill, 5 Guillemots and a Sooty Shearwater flew north, and a Gannet south, while a Great Crested Grebe and 2 Red-throated Divers were offshore.
 A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 21 new birds and 31 retraps. The new birds were 12 Greenfinches, 6 Goldfinches, 2 Blackbirds and a Chaffinch. The retraps were 9 Greenfinches, 7 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits, 2 Robins, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Goldfinches and singles of Song Thrush, Goldcrest, Blackbird and Chaffinch.

November 23rd: Moderate north-westerly wind, mostly cloudy, intermittent rain.
 Birds around were 2 Lapland Buntings, 24 Snow Buntings, a Green Woodpecker, a Woodcock, 44 Black-tailed Godwits, a Brambling and 3000 Golden Plovers. On the Mere were a Water Rail and a Jack Snipe, and on Tennyson Sands another Water Rail. At sea a Long-tailed Duck headed north and a juvenile Pomarine Skua south, while offshore were 3 Red-breasted Mergansers.
 A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was quite productive. The 38 new birds were a Wren, 7 Goldfinches, 5 Chaffinches, a Blackcap, 17 Greenfinches and 7 Blackbirds. The 28 retraps were the usual tits, finches and others.

November 22nd: Decreasing north-easterly wind, mostly cloudy.
 Around were a male Hen Harrier, 3000 Golden Plovers, a Water Pipit, 2 Woodcock, a Fieldfare, a Green Woodpecker, a Merlin, 24 Snow Buntings, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose and 28 Black-tailed Godwits. At sea a Leach's Petrel, a Storm Petrel and 98 Eider flew north, and 3 more Eider south.

November 21st: Strong north-easterly wind, mostly cloudy, relatively mild.
 Birds around included a Chiffchaff, a Brambling, a Redpoll, 7 Fieldfares and a Woodcock. On the Mere were 2 Jack Snipe and a Water Rail, and on Croftmarsh 1000 Pink-footed Geese and 10 Whooper Swans. Offshore were 2 Goldeneye, a Velvet Scoter, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 210 Cormorants and 15 Eider, while 14 Fulmars flew north. Across the River Steeping were 3000 Golden Plovers and 50 Lapwings.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Mid November 2013

November 20th: Decreasing south-westerly then north-westerly wind, cloudy and rainy morning, clear afternoon.
 Birds around included a Woodcock. On Croftmarsh were 100 Lapwings and 35 Golden Plovers, and on the Mere a Jack Snipe and 2 Water Rails.

November 19th: Light to moderate north-westerly wind, frozen start, then slowly warmed up in the sun, then cloudy.
 Around were 2 male Hen Harriers and a Short-eared Owl. On Tennyson Sands were 2 Pintail, and on the Mere 2 Jack Snipe.
 A much-delayed ringing session at Aylmer Avenue produced 9 new birds: 3 Chaffinches, a Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinches and 3 Blackbirds; and 4 retraps: 2 Great Tits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Blue Tit.

November 18th: Light westerly wind, cloudy, misty start.
 Birds around included a Hen Harrier, a Brambling and 9 Fieldfares. On Fenland Lagoon were a Redshank, a Grey Plover and a Black-tailed Godwit. Flying south were 30 Pink-footed Geese, 60 Lapwings and 25 Redwings.

November 17th: Light variable wind, cloudy.
 Around were a Merlin, a Kingfisher, a Green Woodpecker and 3 Bramblings. On the Mere were 2 Jack Snipe and a Water Rail, on the Borrow Pits another Water Rail, and on Jackson's Marsh 100 Lapwings.
  A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David and Liv Vincent resulted in 26 new birds and 64 retraps. The new birds were 13 Greenfinches, 6 Goldfinches, 2 Blackbirds and singles of Wren, Brambling, Blackcap, Robin and Blue Tit. The retraps were 28 Greenfinches, 10 Great Tits, 8 Blue Tits, 5 Goldfinches, 4 Dunnocks, 2 Robins, 2 Goldcrests and singles of Wren, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit and Coal Tit.

November 16th: Light north-westerly wind, cloudy, misty start.
 Birds around included 800 Pink-footed Geese, 4 Bramblings, a Goldcrest and a Merlin. On the Mere were 2 Jack Snipe and 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Water Rail, on Fenland Lagoon a Redshank, and on Tennyson Sands a Pintail. On the beach was a Snow Bunting. Flying south was a Lapland Bunting.
  A ringing session at Alymer Avenue resulted in 31 new birds and 25 retraps. The news were 2 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 6 Goldfinches, 19 Greenfinches and 3 Blackbirds.
First-year male Brambling, ringed on 16th November 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
First-year male Brambling, ringed on 16th November 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
A retrap Blue Tit - nearly seven years since it was first ringed (as a second-year bird!) on 16th November 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
A retrap Blue Tit - nearly seven years since it was first ringed (as a second-year bird!) on 16th November 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
November 15th: Light north-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
 Around, including birds trapped, were a Coal Tit, 2 Bramblings, 90 Lapwings and a Rook. On the Mere were 2 Water Rails, a Jack Snipe and a Pintail, on Jackson's Marsh 6 Stock Doves, and on Tennyson Sands 17 Black-tailed Godwits. Across the River Steeping were 1250 Pink-footed Geese and 9+ Whooper Swans.
 The only bird caught in the final morning ringing session in East Dunes was a new Robin. Ringing operations have now ceased there for the winter.
  A brief afternoon ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 27 new birds and 10 retraps. The new birds were 11 Greenfinches, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinches and singles of Great Tit, Blue Tit and Brambling. The retraps were 4 Great Tits, 3 Greenfinches, 2 Blue Tits and a Dunnock.

November 14th: Quite strong north-westerly wind, generally clear.
 At dawn about 700 Pink-footed Geese flew from their roost on the estuary over the reserve and across the River Steeping. Around were a Woodcock and 8 Fieldfares.
 The catch on the penultimate morning ringing session in East Dunes was just a new Blackbird and a retrap Robin.

November 13th: Light south-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
 At dawn about 1000 Pink-footed Geese took off from the estuary, and about 300 headed off north-west. The other 700 or so flew to fields across the River Steeping, or, in small numbers, flew around the reserve. At the same time 15 Whooper Swans went south from the estuary across the Wash. Birds around included a Merlin, 1500 Starlings, and 100 Blackbirds.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonable. The new birds were a Goldcrest, a Reed Bunting, a Song Thrush, 8 Blackbirds and 7 Starlings. The retraps were a Blue Tit, a Goldcrest, 2 Robins, 2 Wrens, a Dunnock and a Song Thrush.

November 12th: Light to moderate westerly wind, cloudy and soggy start, then mostly sunny.
 Around were a Richard's Pipit, a Marsh Harrier, a Green Woodpecker, 4 Woodcocks, 3 Bramblings, a Redpoll, 1500 Starlings and 850 Blackbirds. Two Kestrels were fighting on the ground at Sykes Farm. On Fenland Lagoon were 2 Grey Plovers and a Redshank, and on the Mere a Jack Snipe and a Water Rail. On the sea were 28 Common Scoter, 2 Velvet Scoter, a Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Goldeneye, an Eider, a Guillemot, 3 Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe. Flying south at sea were 2 Goldeneye, 26 Wigeon and 2 Long-tailed Ducks, and north 2 Teal, an Auk Spp, 5 Red-throated Divers and 5 Gannets. In off the sea came 38 Curlew. Across the River Steeping were 650 Pink-footed Geese, 3000 Golden Plovers and 250 Lapwings.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was quite productive. The new birds were a Goldcrest, a Song Thrush, 34 Blackbirds and 5 Starlings; and there was a retrap Dunnock.
 A simultaneous ringing session at Aylmer Avenue provided 7 new birds: 2 Bramblings, a Goldfinch, 3 Greenfinches and a Blackbird; and 15 retraps: 5 Goldfinches, 2 Greenfinches, 2 Robins, a Great Tit, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Blue Tits and a Chaffinch.

November 11th: Quite strong south-westerly wind, cloudy, light rain for most of day.
 A miserable day for birds and birding. On the Mere were 2 Snipe, on Fenland Lagoon a Spotted Redshank, and on Tennyson Sands a Pintail. In the afternoon at least 300 Blackbirds were present, presumably having just arrived.
 No ringing was attempted.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Early November 2013

November 10th: Light to moderate westerly wind, mostly clear, frosty start.
 Offshore were 2 Great Skuas and a Great Northern Diver. Birds around included a Marsh Harrier, 2 Merlins, a Snow Bunting, a Short-eared Owl, a Green Woodpecker, 4 Redwings, a Fieldfare and 85 Black-tailed Godwits. On the Mere were a Jack Snipe, 3 Snipe, a Water Rail, a Kingfisher and a Pintail. A flock of about 1000 Pink-footed Geese was disturbed from across the River Steeping, crossed briefly over the reserve, then flew off south-west. Flying south were 3 Siskins, 10 Fieldfares, 700 Woodpigeons, a Brambling and a Lapland Bunting.
 During a morning ringing session in East Dunes new birds were a Chaffinch, a Dunnock and 2 Redwings, and the retraps were singles of Blackbird, Song Thrush, Great Tit and Goldfinch.
  A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 22 new birds and 52 retraps. The new birds were 12 Greenfinches, 4 Goldfinches, 3 Chaffinches and singles of Blackbird, Brambling and Blackcap. The retraps were 27 Greenfinches, 5 Great Tits, 4 Goldfinches, 4 Robins, 3 Blue Tits, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Wrens, 2 Dunnocks and singles of Blackbird and Brambling. The best bird of the day, though, was a control male Blackcap with an Arnhem-VT Holland ring on it!

November 9th: Light south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy but some sunny spells, damp, cold start.
  Around was a Marsh Harrier. On the Mere was a Pintail, and over Tennyson Sands was a late house Martin. Across the River Steeping were 600 Pink-footed Geese and 10 Whooper Swans.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes again produced little. The new birds were 2 Song Thrushes and a Blackbird, and the retraps a Blackcap and a Dunnock.
  Meanwhile, over at Aylmer Avenue, a longer session resulted in 83 new birds and around 30 retraps. The catch was made up of the usual selection of finches, although it did include two Bramblings.

November 8th: Moderate south-westerly wind, mostly clear.
  Birds around included a Merlin. On the Mere was a Jack Snipe, on Tennyson Sands were 50 Black-tailed Godwits, a Pintail and a Pochard, on Jackson's Marsh a Black-tailed Godwit, a Snipe, 3 Turnstones and 10 Lapwings, and on Croftmarsh 1000 Golden Plovers. Across the River Steeping were 200 Pink-footed Geese. Heading south were 50 Redpolls, a Brambling, 10 Whooper Swans, 3 Redwings, 3 Pink-footed Geese, 9 Goldfinches, 7 Rock Pipits and 3 Siskins. West in off the sea came 450 Starlings.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes yielded just 3 new birds: singles of Blackcap, Song Thrush and Blackbird.

November 7th: Light south-westerly wind, soggy start, then mostly sunny.
  Around were a Green Woodpecker, 2 Merlins, 2 Fieldfares and 19 Snow Buntings. Flying south were a Marsh Harrier, 8 Whooper Swans, 35 Pink-footed Geese, a Goosander and 2 Bramblings, and north 2 Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe. On Croftmarsh were 1000 Golden Plover, and on Jackson's Marsh a Goldeneye.
  The catch on a morning ringing session in East Dunes reflected what was present there. The news were a Wren, a Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and a Blackbird, and a Robin was retrapped.

November 6th: Moderate south-westerly wind, cloudy, light rain in afternoon.
  The late Willow Warbler remained in The Sycamore Plot. Other birds around included a Chiffchaff, a Woodcock, a Bullfinch, a Coal Tit and a Merlin. Offshore were an Arctic Skua, 1980 Grey Plover, 750 Sanderling and 4660 Dunlin. On the Mere were 460 Teal, a Pintail and 10 Black-tailed Godwits, on Tennyson Sands 42 Black-tailed Godwits, 540 Teal, 40 Shoveler, a Water Rail and 34 Pink-footed Geese, and on Croftmarsh 300 Lapwing and 3000 Golden Plover. Across the River Steeping were 300 Pink-footed Geese. Heading south were a Hawfinch, 495 Pink-footed Geese, 3 Whooper Swans, 35 Common Scoter, 2 Goosanders, 11 Fieldfares, 4 Redwings, 4 Song Thrushes, 4 Linnets, 18 Chaffinches, 7 Reed Buntings, 5 Siskins, 6 Redpolls, 24 Goldfinches, 5 Greenfinches, 2 Yellowhammers, a Mediterranean Gull, 21 Skylarks, 4 Meadow Pipits and 29 Rock Pipits.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonable. The new birds were 2 Goldcrests, a Redwing and 11 Blackbirds; and the retraps a Robin and a Song Thrush.
  A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent resulted in 37 new birds and 28 retraps. The new birds were 14 Greenfinches, 12 Goldfinches, 5 Blackbirds, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Bramblings and a Blue Tit. The retraps were 9 Great Tits, 8 Greenfinches, 3 Blue Tits, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Goldfinches, one of which was a British Control, and singles of Dunnock and Robin.

November 5th: Moderate westerly wind, drizzle/light rain most of day.
  Around were a Richard's Pipit, a Cetti's Warbler and 11 Snow Buntings. Flying south were a Grey Wagtail, a Brambling and 2 Snow Buntings. Fieldfares and other thrushes came in off the sea. On the Mere were a Bar-tailed Godwit, 11 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe and a Water Rail, and on Jackson's Marsh 2 Dunlin and a Snipe.
  No ringing was attempted.

November 4th: Moderate north-westerly wind, mostly clear.
  Again the Pink-footed Goose flock, now numbering 280, headed from the estuary at dawn to the fields over the River Steeping. A late Willow Warbler was in the West Dunes Sycamore Plot.On the beach were 17 Snow Buntings. Southward passage featured 17 Whooper Swans, 74 Gannets, a Great Crested Grebe, 15 Wigeon, a Goldeneye, 16 Common Scoter, 6 Brent Geese, 5 Red-throated Divers, an Arctic Skua, 5 Mistle Thrushes, a Lapland Bunting and 3 Stock Doves; northward 111 Gannets, 40 Kittiwakes, 2 Long-tailed Duck and 7 Common Scoter; and eastward 191 Pink-footed Geese. In off the sea came 8 Fieldfares and a Woodcock.
  Little was caught during a morning ringing session in East Dunes, due to clear conditions. The new birds were a Robin, 2 Reed Buntings and a Magpie, and the single retrap was a Robin.

Magpie, ringed 4th November 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
November 3rd: Strong south-westerly wind, clear morning, partly cloudy afternoon.
  The 250-strong Pink-footed Goose flock flew, early morning, from the estuary to fields across the River Steeping, where were also 500 Golden Plovers and 250 Lapwings. Around were a Richard's Pipit, a Merlin, a Marsh Harrier, a Green Woodpecker, 9 Fieldfares, 4 Redwings, a Short-eared Owl and a Woodcock. On the Mere were a Little Stint, a Spotted Redshank, 12 Black-tailed Godwits and 3 Snipe. Birds heading south included 4 Whooper Swans, 27 Pink-footed Geese, 6 Siskins, a Crossbill, 2 Stock Doves and 8 Skylarks.
  A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes was disappointing, the only new bird a Redwing, and the retraps a Wren, a Blue Tit and 2 Goldcrests.

November 2nd: South-westerly wind gradually increasing, mostly cloudy, rain mid afternoon.
  A White-rumped Sandpiper was discovered on the Mere. It was seen later on Fenland Lagoon. Other birds around, including those trapped, included 12 Snow Buntings, 2 Woodcock, a Green Woodpecker, a Swallow, a Short-eared Owl, a Ring Ouzel, a Jack Snipe and a Firecrest. The flock of 250 Pink-footed Geese remained across the River Steeping. South went a Lapland Bunting, a Woodlark, 35 Whooper Swans, 8 Fieldfares, 24 Skylarks, 13 Rock Pipits and 35 Whooper Swans.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes again yielded few birds. The news were 2 Wrens, a Goldcrest, 2 Reed Buntings and a Woodcock; and there was a retrap Wren.
  Meanwhile over at Aylmer Avenue, a longer ringing session resulted in 47 new birds and a good number of retraps as well. The catch was made up mainly of the usual finches etc.
 
Woodcock, ringed 2nd November 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Woodcock, ringed 2nd November 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
November 1st: Light south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy, rain in afternoon.
  Around were a Hawfinch and 2 Lapland Buntings, while 770 Woodpigeons circled around. The flock of 250 Pink-footed Geese was still across the River Steeping, 7 came in off the sea, 19 headed south and 55 east. Flying south were a Woodlark, 11 Stock Doves, 9 Rooks, 13 Redpolls, 16 Tree Sparrows, 15 Reed Buntings, 34 Chaffinches, 2 Bramblings, 65 Linnets, 82 Goldfinches, 25 Greenfinches, 10 Siskins, 98 Skylarks, an Alba Wagtail, 36 Rock Pipits, 4 Meadow Pipits, 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Fieldfares, 22 Whooper Swans, 3 Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe and 17 Common Scoter.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced 10 new birds: 6 Goldcrests, a Firecrest, 2 Robins and a Fieldfare; and 2 retraps: a Dunnock and a Robin.
  Meanwhile a longer ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David Vincent, using only the feeding station nets, was reasonably productive, resulting in 67 new birds and 31 retraps. The new birds were 46 Greenfinches, 17 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinches and singles of Robin and Tree Sparrow. The retraps were 12 Greenfinches, 7 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits, 3 Goldfinches, 3 Chaffinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Firecrest, ringed 1st November 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Fieldfare, ringed 1st November 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

Monday, 21 October 2013

Late October 2013

October 31st: Light south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy, soggy morning.
 Around were a Peregrine, a Merlin, a Marsh Harrier, a Hen Harrier, 2 Lapland Buntings and 4 Corn Buntings. Over Croftmarsh were 1000 Golden Plover. The flock of 250 Pink-footed Geese and a single White-fronted Goose remained across the River Steeping. Flying south were 103 Whooper Swans, 6 Swallows, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 920 Starlings, 140 Woodpigeons, 11 Stock Doves, 26 Carrion Crows, 240 Lapwings, a Common Buzzard, 92 Goldfinches, 53 Chaffinches, 30 Rock Pipits, 16 Redpolls, a Bullfinch, 25 Linnets, 9 Siskins, a Brambling, 19 Tree Sparrows, 29 Reed Buntings, 38 Skylarks and 10 Crossbills. Flying east were 24 Pink-footed Geese. In off the sea came 35 Fieldfares and 75 Pink-footed Geese, while on the sea were 5 Red-throated Divers, 4 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Eider. South at sea went 25 Wigeon, 4 Common Scoter, 15 Teal and 5 Gannets, and north 4 Gannets.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was a bit disappointing. The news were 2 Wrens, 4 Goldcrests, a Common Redpoll, a Dunnock and a Redwing; and the retraps were 2 Goldcrests, a Dunnock, a Wren, a Robin and a Great Tit.
 Although it was not as well-marked as some Common Redpolls, the bird's wing length easily eliminated Lesser Redpoll.

Common Redpoll, ringed 31st October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Common Redpoll, ringed 31st Ocyober 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
October 30th: Light south-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
 A Great White Egret was discovered on New Saltmarsh. Also around were a Snow Bunting, a Firecrest, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Jays, a Short-eared Owl, 2 Water Rails, a Peregrine, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Hen Harriers, and 5 Red-throated Divers on the sea. Visible migration continued, with 132 Whooper Swans, 16 Pink-footed Geese, 31 Stock Doves, 11 Rooks, 74 Goldfinches, 85 Chaffinches, 9 Siskins, 9 Redpolls, 4 Bramblings, 23 Greenfinches, 5 Bullfinches, 21 Reed Buntings, 27 Linnets, 30 Tree Sparrows, 18 Rock Pipits, 5 Meadow Pipits, 70 Skylarks, 83 Starlings, a Swallow, a Sparrowhawk, a Great Skua, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and 20 Wigeon heading south. A total of 3470 Woodpigeons milled around. Across the River Steeping, although once briefly over the reserve, were 250 Pink-footed Geese and a White-fronted Goose.
 The clear conditions probably reduced the catch on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The new birds were 9 Goldcrests, a Chaffinch, a Reed Bunting, a Robin, a Blackcap, 2 Dunnocks and a Bullfinch. The retraps were a Blackbird, a Dunnock, a Wren, a Robin and a Blue Tit.

October 29th: Moderate south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy, occasional short spells of rain.
 It was an excellent day for visible migration. South went 207 Whooper Swans, 50+ Pink-footed Geese, a House Martin, 2 Yellowhammers, 53 Siskins, 46 Greenfinches, 68 Goldfinches, 38 Chaffinches, 19 Rock Pipits, 5 Meadow Pipits, 22 Reed Buntings, 24 Redpolls, 21 Linnets, 35 Tree Sparrows, 10 Bramblings, 64 Skylarks, 2 Fieldfares, 3 Redwings, a Mistle Thrush, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Alba Wagtails, 5 Rooks and a Sparrowhawk. Woodpigeons numbered 2840, but often circled around. In off the sea came 3 Greylag Geese. At sea was a Red-necked Grebe, while flying north over it were 7 Common Scoters, and south a Pomarine Skua, 6 Eiders and 4 Gannets. Around were 3 Richard's Pipits, a Black Redstart and a Green Woodpecker. On or over the water bodies were 7 Whooper Swans, 1000 Golden Plovers, 47 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Dunlin.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was quite productive. The new birds were 6 Goldcrests, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Wrens, 3 Robins, a Bullfinch, a Blackcap, 5 Reed Buntings, 8 Goldfinches, 6 Chaffinches, 5 Greenfinches and a Blackbird; while the retraps were 2 Blue Tits, a Great Tit and a Robin.

Female Bullfinch, ringed 29th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
October 28th: Very strong then decreasing south-westerly wind, heavy overnight rain, mostly dry from late morning.
 There was reduced coverage. Around were 15 Siskins, 4 Redpolls and a Merlin. On Tennyson Sands were 11 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Greenshanks and 2 Avocets. Heading south-east were 40 Pink-footed Geese.
 There was no ringing.

October 27th: Strong south-westerly wind, occasional rain.
  The highlight of the weekend was 2 Glossy Ibis flying south along the shore. Also flying south were 5 Whooper Swan, a Kestrel, 23 Skylark, 8 Rock Pipit, 285 Woodpigeon, 4 Stock Dove, 3 Swallow, 7 House Martin, 6 Redwing, 29 Greenfinch, 137 Goldfinch, 8 Chaffinch, 10 Redpoll, 46 Starling and 4 Reed Bunting. Around were a Black Redstart, a Green Woodpecker, 3 Pintail, and a Red-throated Diver on the sea. The Mere held 64 Black-tailed Godwit, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Spotted Redshank, a Snipe, 3 Dunlin and a Water Rail.
  No ringing was attempted.

October 26th: Fairly strong south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
  It was another good day for visible migration. South went 7 Whooper Swan, 45 Pink-footed Geese, 245 Goldfinch, 12 Brambling, 22 Redpoll, 41 Siskin, 21 Linnet, 32 Reed Bunting, 6 Swallow, 75 Chaffinch, 85 Greenfinch, 17 Rock Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, a Meadow Pipit, 18 Skylark, 6 Tree Sparrow, 2 Alba Wagtail, 36 Starling and 870 Woodpigeon. In off the sea came 15 Lapwings. At sea a Red-throated Diver went south and a Mute Swan north. Around were 3000 Golden Plover and a Merlin. On the Mere were a Water Rail, 47 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Spotted Redshank, 3 Dunlin, a Snipe and a Bar-tailed Godwit; and on Tennyson Sands a Kingfisher, an Avocet, 38 Shoveler and 265 Teal.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced little. The new birds were 2 Robins, a Dunnock and a Blackbird; and the retraps 3 Robin and a Blackbird.
  Birds on the move over Aylmer Avenue during the morning through to mid afternoon, included 200+ Goldfinch, 40 Chaffinch, 150 Greenfinch, 50 Brambling, 120 Lesser Redpoll, 30 Siskin, 50 Linnet, 10 Reed Bunting, 120 Skylark, 40 Tree Sparrow, 200+ Starling, 12 Crossbill, 10 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare and 4 House Martin,  all flying south.
  Meanwhile a late start to ringing activities at Aylmer Avenue worked out just fine, with 87 new birds and 27 retraps caught and processed. Only the feeding station nets were sheltered enough to open in the brisk south-westerly wind, and the make-up of the catch reflected this, being mainly Goldfinches and Greenfinches. The retraps were of a similar variety of species. Full details will follow.

October 25th: Fairly strong south-easterly then south-westerly wind, cloudy, rain until late morning.
 When the rain stopped there was some southward movement, involving 22 Fieldfare, 12 Linnet, 18 Chaffinch, 20 Siskin, 100 Goldfinch, 20 Greenfinch, 59 Woodpigeon and 17 Starling. Around were a Marsh Harrier, 1500 Golden Plover and 3 Eider offshore. On the water bodies were a Kingfisher, 3 Spotted Redshank, 80 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin and 6 Snipe.
 No ringing was attempted.

October 24th: Light south-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
  Visible migration was very prominent. Heading south were a Waxwing, 572 Goldfinch, 360 Chaffinch, 185 Greenfinch, 98 Linnet, 152 Reed Bunting, 224 Brambling, a Grey Wagtail, 7 House Sparrow, 88 Rock Pipit, 37 Meadow Pipit, 5 Alba Wagtail, 388 Skylark, 3 Crossbill, 8 Rook, 4 Collared Dove, 1180 Woodpigeon, 7 Stock Dove, a Green Sandpiper, 193 Starling, 13 Redwing, 4 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 10 Great Tit, 7 Long-tailed Tit, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Grey Geese Spp, 121 Tree Sparrow, 182 Whooper Swan, 113 Siskin, 119 Redpoll, 22 Fieldfare and 6 Yellowhammer. Also recorded on the reserve were 106 Pink-footed Geese, 25 Redwing, a Ring Ouzel, a Stonechat, a Snow Bunting, a Short-eared Owl, 5 Chiffchaff, 40 Goldcrest, a Sand Martin, a Water Rail, 2 Spotted Redshank, a Little Stint, 2 Marsh Harrier, a Common Buzzard, 400 Brent Geese, a Sandwich Tern and a Merlin. On Croftmarsh were 3000 Golden Plover.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonable. The news were 11 Goldcrest, 2 Wren, 4 Robin, 4 Reed Bunting, 3 Dunnock, a Chaffinch and a Blackbird; and the retraps were 3 Robin, 2 Dunnock and a Redwing.

October 23rd: Strong south-westerly wind, sun and clouds, occasional rain.
  A Swift Sp. was seen briefly and photographed distantly as it flew south. It was probably a Pallid Swift, but just not enough detail was seen or photographed for a definite identification. Other birds flying south included a Richard's Pipit, 2 Lapland Bunting, 47 Woodpigeon, 1364 Goldfinch, 144 Greenfinch, 69 Linnet, 242 Starling, 162 Siskin, 74 Redpoll, a Snow Bunting, 4 House Martin, 3 Swallow, 21 Rock Pipit, 105 Meadow Pipit and 259 Skylark. Around were a Marsh Harrier, a Hen Harrier, a Short-eared Owl and 3 Brambling. On the Mere were 3 Spotted Redshank, 55 Black-tailed Godwit and 270 Teal, including a leucistic individual; and on Tennyson Sands 48 Shoveler.
  A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes produced little. The new birds were a Robin and a Blackcap, and the retraps a Song Thrush and a Robin.

Swift Sp., 23rd October 2013.
Photo - Richard Doan
October 22nd: Strong southerly wind, cloudy, persistent light rain.
  Around and offshore were 2 Shorelark, an Arctic Skua, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Red-throated Diver, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin and a Green Woodpecker.  On the Mere were a Garganey, 46 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 7 Dunlin, a Jack Snipe and 2 Snipe. South went 18 Kittiwake, 9 Swallow, 18 Goldfinch, 36 Starling, and 7 Chaffinch; and southeast 150 Pink-footed Geese.
  A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes provided just new singles of Song Thrush, Redwing and Robin, and a retrap Wren.

Garganey, 22nd October 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound
October 21st: Increasing southerly wind, cloudy, prolonged rainy spells.
  Little coverage. Around were 3 Bramblings and a Merlin. On the Mere were a Garganey, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Dunlin. Flying south were 17 Linnet, 85 Starling, 4 Skylark, 13 Chaffinch and 22 Goldfinch.
  No ringing was attempted.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Mid October 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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