Sunday, 1 September 2013

Early September 2013

September 10th: Increasing westerly wind, cloudy, rain early morning then from late morning onwards.
 Flying south over land were a Hobby, 400 Swallows, 110 House Martins, 120 Sand Martins, 286 Meadow Pipits, 5 Siskins, 3 Tree Sparrows and 5 Yellow Wagtails. Highlights of sea-watching were 41 Gannets, 22 Arctic Skuas, 4 Great Skuas and a Sooty Shearwater north, and 7 Long-tailed Skuas, 69 Gannets, 158 Arctic Skuas, 72 Great Skuas and a Velvet Scoter south. Around, including birds trapped, were a Whinchat, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackcap. On Jackson's Marsh were 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 21 Greenshanks, 6 Curlew Sandpipers, a Ruff, 5 Dunlins and 3 Snipes, on Tennyson Sands 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 24 Dunlins, 4 Ringed Plovers and 2 Greenshanks, and on the Mere 84 Black-tailed Godwits, a Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper and 7 Spotted Redshanks.
 A short morning ringing session in East Dunes produced modest results. The news were 3 Swallows, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, a Yellow Wagtail and 2 Meadow Pipits. A Robin was retrapped.

September 9th: Light wind, some cloudy spells but mostly sunny morning, cloudier afternoon.
 Birds around, including those trapped, included 3 Whinchats, a Blackcap, 2 Willow Warblers, a Kingfisher and a Common Buzzard. South went 75 Swallows, a Yellow-legged Gull and 30 Arctic Skuas. On the Mere were 2 Ruffs, 8 Spotted Redshanks, 43 Black-tailed Godwits and a Common Sandpiper, on Tennyson Sands 60 Black-tailed Godwits, 15 Greenshanks and a Ruff, and on Jackson's Marsh 6 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Spotted Redshanks, 12 Greenshanks and a Little Stint. On Croftmarsh were 100 Golden Plovers.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes reflected the paucity of migrant landbirds. New birds were 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Swallows and 3 Reed Buntings, and retraps a Dunnock, a Blue Tit and a Blackcap.

September 8th: Mild southerly wind, mostly sunny.
 Around were an Osprey, a Hobby, 3 Whinchats, a Garden Warbler, a Merlin, 3 Common Buzzards and a Marsh Harrier. New Saltmarsh held 25 Little Egrets. The best waders on the water bodies were a Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint on Jackson's Marsh, 4 Greenshanks on Tennyson Sands, and 2 Spotted Redshanks on the Mere. Black-tailed Godwits totalled 94.
 The sunny conditions did not favour a big catch in a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The news were 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Swallows, a Sand Martin, a Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting, and the retraps 3 Dunnocks, 2 Blackcaps, a Great Tit and a Whitethroat.
  A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by David and Liv Vincent was fairly quiet, resulting in only 14 new birds and 27 retraps. The new birds were 5 Greenfinches, 2 Swallows, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers and a Blue Tit. The retraps were 8 Greenfinches, 4 Blue Tits, 4 Chaffinches, 3 Wrens, 3 Great Tits, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Whitethroats and a Goldfinch.
  The lack of migrating passerines now is unbelievable. Surely there must be loads more to move south yet? Where are they all? It's still in the mid twenties Celsius next week - why move south!
The sun beating down on the Observatory like mid summer! 8th September 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Some small amounts of cloud started to roll in by lunchtime, but there were still no birds about! 8th September 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Juvenile Reed Bunting ringed at the Observatory on 8th September 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
September 7th: Increasingly strong southerly wind, started clear then increasing cloud.
  Birds around included an Osprey, a Pied Flycatcher, 4 Whinchats and 2 Marsh Harriers. On Jackson's Marsh were a Little Stint, a Green Sandpiper and 4 Curlew Sandpipers, and on the Mere 6 Spotted Redshanks. Greenshanks on the reserve totalled 22.
  The catch on a restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes was greatly reduced by the unfavourable weather conditions, and consisted of a new Blackcap and a retrap Wren.
  A much longer session at Aylmer Avenue by Mick Briggs and new trainee, Jenny Godber, for the morning only, resulted in 18 new birds and a quite frankly ridiculous 79 retraps! At this time of year we expect new birds to outnumber retraps by at least 4 to 1. So the opposite result today amongst the birds processed reveals that any migration taking place is literally "just a trickle!".
  Mick's persistence through the afternoon eventually paid off, though, with a Spotted Flycatcher in the feeding station nets late afternoon, and a retrap Magpie.
  New birds at Aylmer Avenue were 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Chaffinches, 4 Greenfinches and 2 Goldfinches.
  Retraps at Aylmer Aylmer were a Wren, a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler, 8 Blue Tits, 9 Great Tits, a Magpie, 10 Chaffinches, 33 Greenfinces and 15 Goldfinches.
First-year Spotted Flycatcher on 7th September - a reward for a long day's ringing.
Photo - Mick Briggs
First-year Spotted Flycatcher on 7th September - a reward for a long day's ringing.
Photo - Mick Briggs
September 6th: Changeable wind, cooler, cloudy, some light rain.
  Around was a Peregrine and 4 Whinchats. Offshore were 70000 Knots. During sea-watching 69 Common Scoters, 150 Common Terns, 3 Fulmars, a Little Gull, 65 Gannets, 2 Red-throated Divers, an Arctic Tern, 16 Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua went north, and 165 Teals, 40 Gannets, 9 Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua south. On the Mere were a Spotted Redshank, a Green Sandpiper, a Ruff, a Lapwing, 57 Black-tailed Godwits and 7 Greenshanks, on Tennyson Sands 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Greenshanks and 18 Little Egrets, and on Jackson's Marsh 11 Black-tailed Godwits, 15 Dunlins, a Snipe, a Greenshank and 12 Little Egrets.
  No ringing was attempted.
  On August 25th a Tree-Lichen Beauty was caught in a moth trap, and was apparently the first recorded in Lincolnshire.
Tree-Lichen Beauty, 25th August 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound
September 5th: Light wind, misty start, gradually clearing, then mostly sunny.
   Around were a Redstart, 7 Whinchats and a Green Woodpecker. Flying south were 300 Swallows, 40 House Martins and 5 Sand Martins. Offshore were 570 Sandwich Terns and 6 Arctic Terns. On Jackson's Marsh were 12 Curlew Sandpipers, 6 Dunlins, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Greenshanks, a Spotted Redshank, 8 Snipes, a Little Stint, 42 Gadwalls and 2 Little Egrets, on Tennyson Sands 4 Greenshanks, 6 Redshanks, 8 Black-tailed Godwits, a Curlew, 3 Dunlins, 5 Curlew Sandpipers and 38 Little Egrets, and on the Mere 71 Black-tailed Godwits, 14 Spotted Redshanks, 4 Greenshanks, a Green Sandpiper, a Ruff and a Kingfisher.
  The bright conditions reduced the catch in a prolonged ringing session in East Dunes. The news were a Willow Warbler, a Blackcap, 4 Meadow Pipits, a Whitethroat and 8 Swallows, and the retraps a Dunnock, a Blue Tit and a Robin.
  A morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by Mike Polling was better, with new birds being a Chiffchaff, 9 Goldfinches, a Coal Tit, a Great Tit, 2 Dunnock, a Blue Tit, a Chaffinch and 4 Greenfinches. There were 54 retraps, mostly the usual finches and tits, but including a Chiffchaff.
   A Blood Vein was in a moth trap this morning.
Blood Vein, 5th September 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound
September 4th: Somewhat variable wind, mostly sunny.
  An Osprey headed north over Mill Hill. Around were 9 Whinchats, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, a Lesser Whitethroat, 65 Yellow Wagtails, a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier. South flew 1000 Swallows and 25 House Martins. On the Mere were 2 Ruffs, 14 Spotted Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks and 2 Common Sandpipers, on Tennyson Sands 47 Black-tailed Godwits, a Ruff, a Little Stint and a Dunlin, and on Jackson's Marsh 5 Greenshanks, 33 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Dunlins, a Ruff and a Common Sandpiper.
  A prolonged ringing session in East Dunes was quite good. New birds were 5 Willow Warblers, 29 Swallows, a Dunnock, 2 Sand Martins, a Great Tit, 3 House Martins and 2 Yellow Wagtails, and the sole retrap was a Lesser Whitethroat.
  A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue from mid morning by David Vincent was reasonably productive, considering the sunny conditions, resulting in 22 new birds and 26 retraps. The new birds were 8 Greenfinches, 4 Goldfinches, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Dunnock, 2 Robins, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Great Tit. The retraps were 13 Greenfinches, 4 Great Tits, 3 Goldfinches, 3 Blue Tits and singles of Dunnock, Chaffinch and Long-tailed Tit.

September 3rd: Light westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
  Around, including birds trapped, were 10 Whinchats, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Garden Warblers, a Redstart, a Wheatear and 3 Marsh Harriers. On Jackson's Marsh were 5 Curlew Sandpipers and a Garganey, on Tennyson Sands 4 Greenshanks, 45 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper and 3 Ruffs, and on the Mere 9 Spotted Redshanks and 47 Black-tailed Godwits.
  A prolonged ringing session in East Dunes by visiting ringers Christine Flint and Nigel Judson of the Charnwood Ringing Group, produced reasonable results. The news were 6 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Dunnock, 6 Whitethroats, a Blackcap, 9 Swallows, a Blue Tit, 5 Meadow Pipits, a Robin, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Linnet, and the retraps were a Blue Tit and a Dunnock.
 Moth species new for the year in a moth trap were Pink-backed Sallow, The Brick and Large Thorn.

Pink-barred Sallow, 3rd September 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound
The Brick, 3rd September 2013.
Photo - Nigel Lound
Hornet in moth trap, 3rd September 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
September 2nd: Moderate west wind, increasing cloud.
  Around were a Kingfisher, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, 35 Yellow Wagtails and 4 Whinchats. South went 150 Swallows, 40 Sand Martins and 15 House Martins. The best birds on the water bodies were a Garganey, 14 Curlew Sandpipers, 7 Spotted Redshanks, a Ruff and a Little Stint. On the estuary were 29 more Curlew Sandpipers.
  On the fourth and last day of the Ringing Opportunity Weekend a prolonged ringing session in East Dunes provided quality rather than quantity. New birds were a Wren, a Chiffchaff, a Linnet, 2 Whitethroats, 12 Swallows, a Coal Tit, a Greenland Wheatear and a Blackcap, and the retraps 2 Dunnock, a Willow Warbler, a Whitethroat, a Long-tailed Tit and a Blackcap.
Greenland Wheatear, ringed 2nd September 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
September 1st: Increasing westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
  The Short-toed Lark remained at North End. An Osprey flew southwest early morning, and 2 Hobby's, 3 Common Buzzards and 2 Swifts south later. Around were 5 Whinchats, a Cuckoo, a Kingfisher, a Treecreeper, a Common Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier. South flew 2 Pomarine Skuas, and north 16 Arctic Skuas. In the early evening a moulting adult Black-necked Grebe was located on the sea out from Sleeper Track. On the Mere was a Garganey. The best waders around or on the water bodies were 2 Ruffs, 102 Black-tailed Godwits, 11 Spotted Redshanks, 9 Curlew Sandpipers and a Little Stint.
  Good moths trapped overnight were a Frosted Orange, a Sallow and a Large Wainscot, all firsts for the year.
  On the third day of the Ringing Opportunity Weekend prolonged ringing sessions were carried out in East Dunes and at Aylmer Avenue. However, the increasing wind was not conducive to a large catch.
  In East Dunes there were 16 new birds - 7 Willow Warblers, a Linnet, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whitethroat, a Reed Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Dunnock, 2 Swallows and a Blackcap, while the retraps were 2 Robins, 5 Whitethroats and 2 Willow Warblers.
  Whilst in a similar session over at Aylmer Avenue there were 36 new birds - 15 Willow Warblers, a Long-tailed Tit, a Chiffchaff, 2 Dunnock, 3 Whitethroats, a Reed Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Goldfinches, a Blue Tit, 8 Greenfinches and a Reed Bunting. There were also 86 retraps, which were mainly made up of birds from the feeding station, which were a single Coal Tit, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Goldfinches, and Greenfinches.
  Amongst the retraps caught today were several Chaffinches and Whitethroats which were all several years old, including a four-year-old Whitethroat and a six-year-old Chaffinch. They were thought not to be resident birds but migrants previously ringed on the reserve and on migration southwards again (having not been caught since at least last autumn).
  Of particular interest were some of the Whitethroats which were in a state of either active moult or in arrested/suspended moult (not commonly seen in migrants). Presumably these birds were just refuelling on the reserve on their way south. Most Whitethroats, though, will not migrate until after they have finished their moult so this prompts some interesting questions. What is going on here?
  Part of the long weekend's Ringing Opportunity involved a two-day visit by the first two beneficiaries of the B.T.O.-organised "Young Bird Observatories Volunteer Fund": Oliver and Tom (accompanied by Oliver's father - Chris, and by Tom's mother - Alison). They both spent Saturday and Sunday ringing with the Observatory Team at both the Observatory on Saturday and at Aylmer Avenue on Sunday, whilst staying at the Field Station. Mike Archer attended over the weekend to help out with the supervision and training of the two young ringers.

(From left to right) - Chris and his son Oliver, and Tom with his mother Alison.
The first two beneficiaries of the "Young Bird Observatories Volunteer Fund" organised by the B.T.O.
Photo - Mick Briggs
The tail of an adult Whitethroat showing growth bars and a re-growing lost tail feather on 1st September 2013
(Growth bars are caused when a bird has a lack of food for a day or two whilst growing its new tail feathers.)
Photo - Mick Briggs
The same Whitethroat as above showing a double arrested/suspended moult in both the primaries and the secondary's on the left wing on 1st September 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
The same Whitethroat as above showing a double arrested/suspended moult in both the primaries and the secondary's on the right wing on 1st September 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs

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