Saturday, 1 June 2013

Early June 2013

June 10th: Lingering birds included a Kittiwake on Tennyson Sands and a Black-tailed Godwit on Jackson's Marsh. Around were a Marsh Harrier, a Hobby and a Corn Bunting.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced few birds. The news were an adult female Blackcap with a brood patch and an adult male Swallow, and the retraps a Whitethroat and 2 Dunnocks.
  An early evening session checking some more nest sites resulted in two broods of Jackdaws ringed - a brood of one and a brood of 3 which were very large and will probably be out of the nest in the next couple of days. Two very tall trees were climbed to check on suspected Sparrowhawk nests, just one of which was built this year and was empty! - perhaps they haven't laid yet or perhaps it is a decoy nest. More patient observations will be necessary as the male made a food pass to the female on Saturday, so she must be settled down somewhere close by and probably on eggs.
  A brood of 11 healthy Blue Tits pulli in a nest box were ringed, which is one of the largest broods recorded in recent years. Whilst walking around the cycle track near Sykes Farm, young Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, and Great Tits were seen very close by, being fed by their respective parents.
  One special treat was watching a newly fledged brood of Willow Warblers following their parents at very low level through the foliage along the cycle track near Jackson's Marsh. The youngsters numbered at least 7, with the parents making fast work of returning to them one after another, feeding them as fast as they could!
Female Mistle Thrush sitting tight on her nest on 10th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Young Jackdaw, 1 of 3 ringed in their nest-hole on 10th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
June 9th: On Jackson's Marsh was a Black-tailed Godwit, and on Tennyson Sands a Kittiwake.
 Just 4 common retraps were caught in a morning ringing session in East Dunes.

June 8th: A bright start quickly disappeared behind the clouds and a cool northeasterly breeze for the rest of the day. On Tennyson Sands was a Little Gull, and on Jackson's Marsh a Black-tailed Godwit. Around was a Hobby. Four Cuckoos were very vocal around the West Dunes.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes resulted in 2 new juvenile Dunnocks and a retrap adult Reed Bunting.
  A longer ringing session at Aylmer Avenue resulted in 22 new birds and 22 retraps. The new birds included a Woodpigeon, a Lesser Whitethroat and two Blackcaps. There was also a procession of juveniles fresh out of the nest, including Dunnocks, Robins, Greenfinches and Chaffinches. The retraps included our now resident breeding Sedge Warbler originally ringed in France, and the best bird of the day - a British control House Martin!

British control House Martin caught on 8th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Very juvenile Chaffinch ringed on 8th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Very juvenile Robin ringed on 8th June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
June 7th: Mostly sunny and windy. A male Red-backed Shrike was in East Dunes. On Croftmarsh were 2 Little Gulls, and on Tennyson Sands 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Common Sandpiper. Around was a Black Redstart. Offshore were 2 Kittiwakes and 3 Sandwich Terns.
  A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes yielded only a retrap Swallow.

June 6th: A Common Rosefinch was discovered singing in East Dunes. Around were 2 Garganeys, 2 Curlew Sandpipers and 4 Jays. Offshore, 17 Kittiwakes and a Red-throated Diver flew north, and 300 Common Scoters south.
  Only 2 new birds, a Reed Bunting and a Whitethroat, were trapped in a morning ringing session in East Dunes, while there were 4 usual retraps.

June 5th: On Tennyson Sands were 3 Little Ringed Plovers, a White Wagtail and a Little Gull, and on the Mere a Common Sandpiper. Around was a Jay.
  More birds than yesterday were caught on a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The news were the first juvenile Dunnock of the year, a Chiffchaff, a Reed Bunting, 2 Linnets and a Meadow Pipit. The retraps were a Dunnock, 2 Whitethroats, a Meadow Pipit and a Blackcap.
  The Barn Owls were checked again this afternoon, and they now have 4 chicks, all hatched one day apart. The male was out hunting but the female was caught and, surprisingly, was unringed. There were 19 prey items in the box ready for feeding to the very small chicks, the youngest of which probably hatched out today. The prey items all appeared to be mice of some description or other, 13 large ones and 6 much smaller ones. This is the most food recorded in a Barn Owl box at Gibraltar Point ever! The chicks appear to have a father who is a very good hunter and, fingers crossed, they will all be in good health when they are checked again in four weeks' time.

Male Linnet with orange, rather than red, markings. Ringed 5th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.

Female Barn Owl wing showing 3 generations of feathers. Ringed 5th May 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.

Female Barn Owl ringed 5th June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory.

A very scarce Harvest Mouse from the Barn Owl box - replaced after photo!
Photo - George Gregory.
June 4th: Sunny and windy. Around were 3 Jays, a Hobby, a Marsh Harrier and 6 Corn Buntings. On Tennyson Sands were 2 Mediterranean Gulls, a Greenshank and a Little Gull.
 Once again the morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just 2 new birds: an adult Whitethroat and the first juvenile Chaffinch of the year.
 Having heard of low site occupancy and brood size for Barn Owls elsewhere in the county this year, we checked the sites here today. Only one was occupied, by 2 adults and at least 2 small downy chicks.

June 3rd: Generally sunny. In East Dunes was a Common Rosefinch (possibly another was present). A Serin flew south over Mill Hill. Around were a Short-eared Owl, a Crossbill and 6 Jays. On Tennyson Sands were a Ruff and a Little Gull.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes yielded just 2 new birds: a Whitethroat and a Jay. Since the irruption began last October 60 Jays have been ringed at Gibraltar Point.
  A late afternoon trip around some of the nest boxes on the reserve resulted in 30 Blue Tit pulli being ringed in just four nestboxes, including two broods of nine, which is very good for Gibraltar Point. 2 Great Tits were ringed in one box, and four Jackdaws ringed on two nests.
  Whilst ringing these, the first young Chaffinches of the year were seen harassing their parents for food. Also ringed this afternoon was a brood of Willow Warblers, but just four chicks were in the nest which is not too bad but there were three infertile eggs amongst the young birds. Perhaps the hail stones we had a just over a week ago were not very good for some of our ground nesting species? Still, they were the first Willow Warbler young ringed on the reserve for a number of years; the nests are fairly difficult to find!
A late nest of Jackdaw eggs on 3rd June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Willow Warbler nest with four pulli ready for ringing on 3rd June 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs

June 2nd: Flying high, arriving across the Wash from Norfolk then eventually back there again, were 2 Common Cranes. An Icterine Warbler was discovered singing in East Dunes in the afternoon. Around were a Hooded Crow, 22 Jays, 12 Corn Buntings, a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier. On Tennyson Sands were a Little Gull, a Mediterranean Gull and a Ruff.
  Not many birds were caught in a morning ringing session in East Dunes, but the news included 3 Spotted Flycatchers and a Willow Warbler, and there was a British-ringed control Reed Warbler.
  The 4th session of CES was disappointing, with just 10 captures. The new birds were a Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackbird, and the retraps a Great Tit, 2 Whitethroats, a Wren and a Chaffinch.
  Other nets at Aylmer Avenue produced 5 new birds (including 3 Sedge Warblers), 10 retraps (including a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff), and a control Sedge Warbler with a Paris Museum ring, probably the bird previously caught here.

Spotted Flycatcher ringed 2nd June 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

June 1st: The Red-backed Shrike was still present near the Hump. Around were 10 Jays, a Peregrine, 15 Turtle Doves, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 Crossbills and 16 Corn Buntings. On Tennyson Sands were a Little Ringed Plover and 2 Ruffs.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was moderately successful. The new birds were a Jay, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Whitethroats, a Meadow Pipit, a Goldfinch and a Reed Bunting, and the retraps 2 Whitethroats and a Blue Tit.

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