Monday, 21 January 2013

Late January 2013

January 31st: Still very windy. Heading south were 8 Pintails. Around were 2 Waxwings, 2 Woodlarks, a Water Pipit, a Goldcrest and 2 Bramblings.

January 30th: Very windy. South went 800 Lapwings. Around the feeders were 4 Bramblings. Elsewhere were 1500 Golden Plovers and 2 Goldcrests.

January 29th: Milder but a bit windy. The only notables were 5 Bramblings and a Yellowhammer.
Some recent recoveries came through yesterday including:

LC33559 - a 1st year male Blackbird ringed at Gibraltar Point on 13th Nov 2011 and killed by a Cat at Rhos-on-Sea, Conwy on 10th Dec 2012. A 271km movement west in 393 days. A good movement within the UK. This bird may well have been a continental bird originally caught on migration at Gibraltar Point before being killed by a Cat on its wintering grounds just over a year later.

L691894 - an adult female Goldfinch ringed at Gibraltar Point on 25th May 2011 and found freshly dead at Pruniers-en-Sologne, Loir-et-Cher, France on 19th Mar 2012. A 650km movement due south in 299 days. This is a great result! Presumably this bird was heading north or in fact breeding when caught originally and had then overwintered in France when found dead.

January 28th: Frosty start, then slowly milder but with increasing wind. The best birds were a Shorelark, a Mediterranean Gull, 8 Bramblings, 6 Redwings and 2 Fieldfares.

January 27th: Prolonged overnight rain melted almost all of the snow, but windy all day.
  Around were 24 Waxwing, a Shorelark, 55 Corn Buntings and a Buzzard. On Tennyson Sands were a Bittern, a Water Rail, a Bearded Tit and 4 Goldeneyes, and on the Mere another Goldeneye.
  A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue from first light was quickly abandoned after two consecutive net rounds without a bird caught. The wind was picking up rapidly so it was decided to spend the day doing the annual returns to the BTO. Only two New birds were caught - a Blackbird and a Greenfinch - along with three Retraps - a Robin and two Greenfinches.
  After looking at the data for this year so far, it became apparent that after 234 processings of Greenfinches this year, we have actually handled 204 different Greenfinches at the feeding station in the month of January so far: no wonder they are getting through so much food!
Part of the Mere Enclosure where the flooding after the snow has melted stretches through the fence line into Measures - 27th Jan 2013. Photo - Mick Briggs.

January 26th: Heavy very early morning snow, then a somewhat milder day with the majority of the snow gone by late afternoon in the warming conditions. The wind switched around to WSW and was building during the day.
  On Tennyson Sands were a Bittern and 3 Water Rails. A Waxwing flew south and another 20 were around, as were 2 Snipes, 9 Woodcocks, a Goldcrest, 15 Bramblings, 20 Blackbirds, 40 Redwings and 3 Fieldfares. Late afternoon 250 Pink-footed Geese arrived on Croftmarsh.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue from 11am untill 3.45pm resulted in just 10 new birds which included 3 more Bramblings and another Fieldfare! There were also around 30 retraps, including three more Bramblings.
1st year female Fieldfare ringed on 26th Jan 2013 - the 2nd of the year.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
Our Meadow Pipit ringing area in Measures - looking more flooded and still mostly frozen - 26th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Female Brambling ringed on 26th Jan 2013, pushing us up to 28 new Bramblings for the month so far.
Photo - Mick Briggs.

January 25th: Cold, with increasing wind. The best birds recorded were a Woodcock, 6 Redwings, 2 Siskins, 10 Bramblings and 22 Fieldfares.
A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by Dave Vincent resulted in 17 New birds and 39 Retraps. Birds were as follows (new/retraps) - (9/14) Greenfinch, (4/5) Brambling, (3/2) Chaffinch,  (1/1) Blackbird, (0/1) Fieldfare, (0/5) Blue Tit, (0/2) Great Tit, (0/2) Dunnock, (0/2) Robin. The Fieldfare retrap was the one ringed a couple of days ago, as was the retrap Blackbird. It is amazing that a Fieldfare seems to be coming to the feeding station regularly when we don't feed with apples. The four new Bramblings pushes us up to 25 new Brambling during January so far, and there is still the weekend to come.
Libary picture of Fieldfare ringed on 28th Nov 2010. Retraps of this species are wholly unexpected.
Photo - Mick Briggs.

January 24th: Milder, with some thawing of the snow. Around were 5 Waxwings, 25 Corn Buntings, 55 Fieldfares, 20 Redwings and 3 Redpolls.
  Below are a couple of shots of a snowbound reserve from earlier in the week.
Hebrideans wondering where all the grass has gone? 22nd Jan 2013.
Photo - Sam Wilson.
Fenland Lagoon - not quite frozen due to the high salt content  22nd Jan 2013.
Photo - Sam Wilson.

January 23rd: Another cold day with temperatures struggling just a couple of degrees above zero, although it felt much warmer with the harsh ENE wind relenting at last. Cloudy all day but dry, the snow already on the ground starting to melt slowly.
  Sightings on the reserve today included a Lapland Bunting, with big numbers of Skylarks on the Millenium Ridge along with 2 Snow Buntings. There was also a Twite with the Linnet flock. A pair of Goldeneyes were on the Mere whilst there was a Water Rail on Fenland Lagoon and another on the Old Saltmarsh. Also noted were a Woodcock and a Yellowhammer.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue by Dave Vincent resulted in 30 new birds and just 29 retraps. This was one of the best results this year so far; clearly all the snow on the ground and freezing conditions have started to push birds towards the coast. The best birds ringed were an incredible 12 Bramblings, more than we have done through all of January in just one day! Is it going to be a "Big Brambling Spring" or is it just a blip due to the weather? Only time will tell. There were also 9 Greenfinches, 5 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches, a Blackbird and, best of the day, a Fieldfare.
  Amongst the retraps were a Coal Tit and another Brambling. Around the nets all day were 2 to 3 Moorhens which never went into a net when flushed on net rounds. There were also 2 Woodcocks flushed whilst going to and from the nets.
Tracks in the snow - identify that bird? 22nd Jan 2013.
Photo - Sam Wilson.

Lapwing on Fenland Lagoon looking like it can't wait for spring! 22nd Jan 2013.
Photo - Sam Wilson

January 22nd: Still staying bitterly cold in a fresh ENE wind, temperatures hovering around freezing point.
  Sightings today included 3 Snow Buntings, 45 Fieldfares, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Bramblings, 21 Woodcocks, a Hen Harrier, 2 Siskins (south), 65 Corn Buntings and a Shorelark (north of Greenshanks Creek). On the Mere were a Bearded Tit, a Mediterranean Gull and 2 Water Rails.
  Here are some shots of the reserve today, taken by Sam Wilson whilst walking around the reserve.
Jew's Ear fungus on Elder in the East Dunes - 22nd Jan 2013.
Photo - Sam Wilson.

Hebridean Sheep in the East Dunes - 22nd Jan 2013.
Photo - Sam Wilson.

The strandline near Greenshanks Creek - 22nd Jan 2013.
Photo - Sam Wilson.

January 21st: More heavy snow overnight as forecast, with the brisk ENE wind creating some cracking conditions for drifts on the reserve. Cold all day, hovering around the freezing mark. Much calmer winds and just the occasional snow flurry through the day.
  Today 1000s upon 1000s of Starfishes were washed up on the beach around Greenshanks Creek, resulting in 5000 Herring Gulls, 2000 Common Gulls, 1500 Black-headed Gulls feeding amongst them. Also recorded today were 3 Snow Buntings (including 1 south), 17 Reed Buntings, 68 Corn Buntings (near Visitor Centre), 560 Skylarks (in a single flock on the saltmarsh!), 412 Meadow Pipits, 54 Rock Pipits, 12 Snipes, 2 Hen Harrier (adult males into roost), a Barn Owl, a Kestrel, a Merlin, a Peregrine, 4 Woodcocks, 10 Red-throated Divers, 283 Curlews and 1200 Dunlins.
  No ringing today and the pictures below show why!
The cattle in the Mere enclosure waiting for their hay bales.
Photo - Paul Seymour.

The Feeding Station! - No Ringing today! Plenty of bird food disappearing though!
Photo - Paul Seymour.

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