Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Mid September 2013

September 20th: Westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 Around, including birds trapped, were a Kingfisher, a Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher, 18 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, 3 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Brambling and 4 Goldcrests. Offshore were 40000 Knots, 2500 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Manx Shearwater. South went 2 Great Skuas, 3 Arctic Skuas, 5 Sand Martins, 25 Swallows, 350 Meadow Pipits, a Lapland Bunting and 30 Siskins, and north 150 Common Scoters and a Manx Shearwater. In off the sea came 12 Pink-footed Geese. On the Mere was a Garganey. Waders on the water bodies included 11 Spotted Redshanks, 17 Greenshanks, 103 Black-tailed Godwits and a Little Ringed Plover.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonably productive. The new birds were 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Robins, a Blackcap, 27 Meadow Pipits, 5 Reed Buntings, 2 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Blue Tit, and the retraps a Robin, a Blue Tit, a Whitethroat and a Dunnock.

Dawn over East Dunes.
Photo - George Gregory
September 19th: Moderate south-westerly wind, cloudy, rainy afternoon.
 Birds around included 6 Whinchats, a Wheatear, 2 Bramblings and a Merlin. Offshore were a Black-throated Diver and a Manx Shearwater. The best birds on the water bodies were a Garganey, a Green Sandpiper, a Little Ringed Plover, 90 Black-tailed Godwits, 17 Greenshanks, 10 Spotted Redshanks, a Water Rail and a Jack Snipe. Flying south were 2000 Meadow Pipits, 58 Swallows, 255 House Martins, 38 Sand Martins, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 250 Golden Plovers, 80 Pink-footed Geese and 8 Siskins.
 A morning ringing session on East Dunes provided 24 new birds: 5 Robins, 17 Meadow Pipits, a Blackcap and a Whitethroat. The retraps were singles of Robin, Wren and Great Tit.

September 18th: Damp, cloudy start, mostly sunny later.
 South went 200+ Pink-footed Geese, 2 Great Skuas, a Manx Shearwater, 9 Arctic Skuas, 200 Meadow Pipits, 8 Tree Sparrows, a Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 7 Siskins and a Tree Pipit, and north a Sooty Shearwater, a Great Skua and 14 Arctic Skuas. Around, including birds trapped, were 4 Coal Tits, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Willow Warbler, a Blackcap, 3 Whitethroats, 8 Chiffchaffs, a Peregrine, a Marsh Harrier, a Green Woodpecker, a Grey Wagtail, a Yellowhammer, 5 Rooks and 2 Siskins. Offshore were a Pomarine Skua and a Scaup. On the water bodies were 13 Spotted Redshanks, a Garganey, 15 Greenshanks, a Little Ringed Plover and a Green Sandpiper.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was fairly productive until the sun came out. News were 2 Whitethroats, 3 Robins, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 3 Coal Tits, 23 Meadow Pipits, a Tree Sparrow and 5 Dunnocks. The retraps were 3 Dunnocks, a Willow Warbler, a Whitethroat and a Robin.

September 17th: Fairly strong south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 Birds around, including those trapped, were 2 Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff, a Blackcap, a Grey Wagtail and a Common Buzzard. Flying south were 250 Meadow Pipits. On Jackson's Marsh were a Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshanks and 5 Redshanks, on Tennyson Sands 23 Black-tailed Godwits, and on the Mere 75 Black-tailed Godwits, a Little Ringed Plover, 5 Greenshanks and 8 Spotted Redshanks.
 A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes resulted in 10 new birds being trapped: a Goldcrest, a Blackcap and 8 Meadow Pipits.

September 16th: Strong south-westerly wind, sunny spells.
 South went 500 Meadow Pipits and 40 Pink-footed Geese. Around was a Common Buzzard. Offshore was an Arctic Skua. On the Mere were 74 Black-tailed Godwits and 6 Spotted Redshanks, on Jackson's Marsh 17 Greenshanks, 2 Ruffs and a Spotted Redshank, and on Croftmarsh 200 Golden Plovers.
 A restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes produced modest results. New birds were 16 Meadow Pipits, a Linnet, a Whitethroat and a Robin, while 2 Dunnocks were retrapped.
 A brief morning ringing session at Aylmer Avenue yielded 5 new birds: a Goldfinch, 3 Greenfinches and a Song Thrush. The retraps were a Chaffinch, 5 Great Tits, 3 Greenfinches, a Goldfinch and a Blue Tit.

September 15th: A calm cloudy start before an increasing south-westerly wind picking up to 30mph by mid morning, remaining mostly cloudy with periods of light rain from 11am onwards.
  A fantastic start to the day with hirundines and Meadow Pipits pouring through the dunes towards the south from first light. The passage quickly diminished though as the wind picked up, with Meadow Pipits coming to a stand-still by 10am - the 30mph headwind proving too strong to fly into. Hirundines though continued to trickle through to the south though in near continuous groups of 10 to 20 birds at a time with the South Car Park being a great spot to watch from.
  A Honey Buzzard arrived and headed south. Other raptors included a Kestrel, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Little Owl (very scarce bird for Gibraltar Point) just off the reserve on a Golf Course green hole flag in the twilight at dawn. Around were 5 Whinchats, a Wheatear, a Turtle Dove, 100 Swallows and 400 House Martins. South went 2300 Meadow Pipits, 300 Swallows, 1000 House Martins, 50 Sand Martins, 10 Yellow Wagtails, 15 Skylarks, 150 Linnets, and a Tree Pipit. On the Mere were 8 Spotted Redshanks.
  Ringing at the Observatory by George Gregory and James Siddle resulted in 38 new birds ringed - 19 Meadow Pipits, 3 Dunnocks, 1 Robin, 1 Sedge Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Chaffinches and a Reed Bunting. The wind defied attempts for a big catch of Meadow Pipits, allowing just one or two net rounds in the calm conditions before the wind strength curtailed activities.
  Dave and Liv Vincent and Mick Briggs were over at Aylmer Avenue where there was a similar result with the conditions being perfect for just one or two net rounds before conditions quickly deteriorated to the point that having the nets open was pointless (it was blowing a hooley). The result was that 26 new birds were ringed - 12 Meadow Pipits, a Wren, a Dunnock, 7 Robins, a Willow Warbler, a Blue Tit and 3 Goldfinches.
  Interestingly today saw the ringing of the 500th Willow Warbler for the year. This is the first year since 1985 that we have got to the five hundred mark for Willow Warbler. 1986 was the best year ever for the Observatory with over 1500 ringed and they then dropped off dramatically to just 96 ringed in 2002, since when they have slowly started to recover their previous migratory population totals during the autumn.
Hirundines feeding in the shelter of the sycamores along the road just before you drive onto the reserve.
15th September 2013. 
Photo - Mick Briggs
September 14th: Mostly northerly wind, cloudy, drizzly start.
  Around were a Long-eared Owl, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Wheatears and a Redstart. On the beach was a Shag. Flying south were 2 Green Sandpipers, 800 Meadow Pipits, 300 Swallows, 175 House Martins, 2 Tree Pipits and 25 Siskins. Offshore a Black Tern, 2 Sooty Shearwaters and 2 Red-throated Divers flew north. The Mere held 90 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Dunlins, a Green Sandpiper, a Snipe, a Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshanks and a Water Rail. There was a Crossbill at Aylmer Avenue in the afternoon, and a Barn Owl hunting around the South Car Park in the late evening.
  A weather-delayed ringing session in East Dunes was quite good, despite a slow start. The new birds were a Wren, 3 Whitethroats, a Blackcap, a Linnet, a Reed Bunting and 79 Meadow Pipits, and the single retrap a Willow Warbler.
  Meanwhile over at Aylmer Avenue, the nets were opened up as soon as the rain had eased, mid morning, and a long ringing session until just before dusk resulted in 34 new birds and 68 retraps. The news were 2 Wood Pigeons, a Dunnock, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaffs, 11 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, a Long-tailed Tit, a Coal Tit, 5 Blue Tits, 2 Great Tits, a Brambling (first recorded on the reserve this autumn), 3 Goldfinches and a Linnet. The retraps were mainly made up of the usual tits and finch species at the Feeding Station, along with a small number of warblers from other nets. There was, however, a British control Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler ringed on 14th September 2013 - in the same net as a Brambling
A rare day where summer meets winter!
Photo - Mick Briggs
Male first-winter Brambling ringed on 14th September 2013 - in the same net as a Willow Warbler
A rare day where summer meets winter!
Photo - Mick Briggs
September 13th: Increasing westerly wind, damp start, mostly cloudy.
 South went 1000 Swallows, 1000 House Martins, 15 Sand Martins and 20 Meadow Pipits. Around were a Redstart and 2 Marsh Harriers. Offshore were a Great Skua, 5 Arctic Skuas and 17 Sandwich Terns. On Jackson's Marsh were a Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Greenshanks, 3 Dunlins, a Green Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank, on Tennyson Sands a Black-tailed Godwit, and on the Mere 94 Black-tailed Godwits, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlins and 7 Spotted Redshanks.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes indicated a small arrival. News were 5 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 12 Swallows and a Sand Martin. The retraps were a Blackcap, 2 Dunnocks and a Blue Tit.

September 12th: Light westerly wind, mostly cloudy with sunny spells.
 Around, including birds trapped, were a Wryneck, a Redstart, a Pied Flycatcher, a Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers and a Common Buzzard. Flying south were 250 Swallows, 35 House Martins, 25 Sand Martins, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 250 Meadow Pipits, a Tree Pipit and 4 Siskins. On the Mere was a Spotted Redshank, on Jackson's Marsh a Curlew Sandpiper, 15 Greenshanks, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Snipes, 5 Dunlins and a Spotted Redshank, and on Tennyson Sands a Kingfisher, 4 Dunlins, a Little Stint, 2 Snipes, a Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper and a White Wagtail.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonable. New birds were a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest (The first one of the Autumn!), 2 Willow Warblers, 18 Swallows, 3 Dunnocks, a Yellow Wagtail, a Meadow Pipit, a Blackcap and a Pied Flycatcher, and the retraps 3 Dunnocks, a Blackcap, 2 Wrens, a Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler.
 Moths species trapped that were new for the year were Brown-spotted Pinion, Common Marbled Carpet and Beaded Chestnut, while 2 Large Thorns were notable.

Pied Flycatcher, ringed 12th September 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
September 11th: Moderate north-westerly wind, cloudy, light rain mid morning onwards.
The 'Big Bird Day' event was reasonably productive, with a total of 85 species recorded. Around were 3 Whinchats, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Merlin. Moving north offshore were 2 Long-tailed Skuas, 11 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 3 Red-throated Divers, a Black Tern, an adult Little Gull, 23 Great Skuas, a Scaup and 545 Common Scoters, and south were 40 Arctic Skuas, 11 Great Skuas and 2 Auk Spp. The Mere proved the most successful of the water bodies with a Water Rail and a Kingfisher present. Tennyson's held a Little Stint, 24 Avocets, 30 Black-tailed Godwits and 3 Snipes. Jackson's Marsh yielded 2 Curlew Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper, 150 Golden Plovers and 13 Little Egrets. A Tree Pipit flew south over the East Dunes early morning.
 A rain-shortened morning ringing session in East Dunes produced the following new birds: a Willow Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, 19 Swallows, a Meadow Pipit, a Sand Martin, a Reed Bunting, a House Martin and a hybrid House Martin x Sand Martin. A British-ringed Swallow was controlled.

Hybrid House Martin x Sand Martin, ringed 11th September 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Hybrid House Martin x Sand Martin, ringed 11th September 2013.
Photo - George Gregory

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