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

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Early October 2013

October 10th: Strong north-west wind, rainy spells.
 Around were a Peregrine, a Merlin, a Goldcrest, 5 Swallows and 2 Redwings. On the sea was an Eider. On the Mere were 2 Spotted Redshanks, 3 Greenshanks and 28 Dunlins, and on Tennyson Sands 74 Black-tailed Godwits and a Dunlin. Highlights of sea-watching were 15 Sooty Shearwaters, 7 Manx Shearwaters and 8 Little Gulls north; and 2 Great Skuas, 2 Manx Shearwaters and 21 Kittiwakes south. South over land went a Grey Wagtail, a Lapland Bunting and 74 Redwings.
 No ringing was attempted.

October 9th: Increasing south-westerly wind, cloudy.
 Birds around included a Goldcrest, 25 Siskins and 15 Long-tailed Tits. On the water bodies were 4 Greenshanks, 2 Spotted Redshanks and 47 Black-tailed Godwits. Southward movers included 22 Reed Buntings, 15 Chaffinches, 27 Meadow Pipits, 8 Swallows, a Grey Wagtail and 3 Skylarks.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes was moderately successful. The 20 new birds were 4 Reed Buntings, a Great Tit, 7 Meadow Pipits, 7 Chaffinches and a Greenfinch; and the 2 retraps were a Dunnock and a Robin.

October 8th: Moderate south-westerly wind, mostly cloudy.
 Around were 6 Goldcrests and a Green Woodpecker. On the water bodies were 3 Spotted Redshanks. Flying south were 80 Meadow Pipits, 24 Reed Buntings, 15 Chaffinches, 4 Bramblings, 6 Skylarks, 8 Tree Sparrows and a Grey Wagtail.
 A morning ringing session in East Dunes provided only single retraps of Dunnock and Chaffinch.
 Trapped moths new for the year were Dusky-lemon Sallow and Mallow.
Dusky-lemon Sallow.
Photo - Nigel Lound
Mallow.
Photo - Nigel Lound
October 7th: Moderate south-westerly wind, alternating clouds and sun.
 A Yellow-browed Warbler was in the Plantation. Also around were a Merlin and 2 Pintails. South went 17 Pink-footed Geese, 20 Skylarks, 2 Grey Wagtails and a Lapland Bunting. On Tennyson Sands were 30 Little Egrets.
 There was only a modest catch in a morning ringing session in East Dunes. New birds were 2 Blackcaps, 5 Meadow Pipits, 1 Chaffinch, a Reed Bunting and a Blackbird; while the retraps were a Wren, a Robin and 2 Dunnocks.


October 6th: Light south-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
  Around was a Hobby, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Little Owl. A Richard's Pipit flew south over Jackson's Marsh. Heading south were four Grey Herons, 20 Siskins, 40 Linnets, 150 Goldfinches, 10 Bramblings and 20 Tree Sparrows.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes produced just 19 new birds, which were a Chiffchaff, 3 Wrens, 3 Robins, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Dunnocks, a Goldfinch, 3 Meadow Pipits and 2 Song Thrushes, whilst the retraps were 2 Dunnocks, a Wren and a Robin.
  A much longer ringing session at Aylmer Avenue by Mick Briggs, and David and Liv Vincent resulted in 51 new birds and 28 retraps. The new birds were 25 Greenfinches, 7 Tree Sparrows, 4 Goldfinches, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Wrens, 2 Great Tits, 2 Bramblings, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Song Thrushes, a Robin and a Chiffchaff. The retraps were made up mostly of the usual finches and tits from the feeding station.
 Trapped moths new for the year were Palpita vitrealis and Blair's Shoulder-Knot.

Tree Sparrow ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 6th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
Tree Sparrow ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 6th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
First-year Male Brambling ringed at Aylmer Avenue on 6th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
Palpita vitrealis.
Photo - Nigel Lound
October 5th: Light westerly wind, cloudy.
  A Siberian Stonechat was discovered near the Field Station/Visitor Centre. Other birds around, including those trapped, were a Hobby (hunting Dragonflies along the West Dunes), Long-eared Owl, a Wheatear, a Merlin, a Peregrine, a male Hen Harrier, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Greenshanks, 4 Yellow-browed Warblers, a Ring Ouzel, 6 Redwings, 10 Bramblings, 3 Redstarts, 20 Chiffchaffs and a Garden Warbler. On the water bodies were a Jack Snipe, 9 Spotted Redshanks and 60 Black-tailed Godwits. Flying south were 6 Eiders, a Hobby, a Common Buzzard, 10 Swallows, 20 Bramblings, 10 Siskins, 7 Grey Wagtails, 40 Linnets, 50 Chaffinches, 50 Goldfinches, 150 Greenfinches, 100 Meadow Pipits, 200 Reed Buntings and 50 Tree Sparrows. A group of 6 Common Cranes were seen flying off in the distance heading South.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was productive, resulting in 59 new birds and 12 retraps. The new birds were 3 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, 29 Reed Buntings, 4 Dunnocks, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Robins, 5 Tree Sparrows, 2 Great Tits, a Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 5 Song Thrushes, a Blackbird and a Ring Ouzel. The retraps were a Redstart, a Wren, 2 Blue Tits, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Blackcaps, a Great Tit, a Dunnock and 2 Robins.
  Meanwhile, a 12.5 hour ringing session by Mick Briggs at Aylmer Avenue, aided by Jenny Godber in the morning and then in the afternoon by James Siddle and his friend Ian Thompson, resulted in 196 new birds and 38 retraps. The highlight of the day was when 2 Kingfishers went into the same net at the same time, one new and one retrap,  ringed at the Observatory on Thursday. This is thought to be the first time that two Kingfishers have been caught in the same net at Gibraltar Point ever. "A Great day's ringing if ever there was one."
  The new birds were a Woodpigeon, a Kingfisher, 5 Wrens, 3 Dunnocks, 12 Robins, a Redstart, a Song Thrush, a Redwing, 5 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrests, 3 Blue Tits, 3 Great Tits, a Tree Sparrow, 7 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 117 Greenfinches and 14 Goldfinches. The 38 retraps were made up of the usual suspects (tits, finches etc).

Siberian Stonechat, 5th October 2013.
Photo - Russel Hayes
Double first-year male Kingfishers in the hand at Aylmer Avenue on 5th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Double first-year male Kingfishers in the hand at Aylmer Avenue on 5th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Double first-year male Kingfishers in the hand at Aylmer Avenue on 5th October 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Ring Ouzel, ringed 5th October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
October 4th: Moderate southerly, then south-westerly, wind; clouds and sun.
  A Great White Egret flew west early morning, and a Spoonbill and 6 Tree Sparrows south. Around were 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, a Ring Ouzel, a Redstart, 10 Goldcrests, a Firecrest and 11 Bramblings.
  There was a modest catch in a morning ringing session in East Dunes. The new birds were 6 Blackcaps, a Robin, a Garden Warbler and 4 Song Thrushes; and the retraps were 2 Robins, 2 Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, a Goldcrest and a Dunnock.
 A Vestal was in a moth trap.

Vestal.
Photo - Nigel Lound
October 3rd: Moderate south-easterly wind, mostly cloudy.
  Around were a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Hawfinch, a Wheatear, 150 Bramblings, a male Hen Harrier, a Marsh Harrier, a Firecrest and a Ring Ouzel. South went 12 House Martins, 5 Swallows, 4 Tree Sparrows, a Tree Pipit, a Lapland Bunting and a Rook.
  A morning ringing session in East Dunes was reasonably good. The news were a Goldcrest, 4 Blackcaps, a Robin, a Reed Bunting, 2 Dunnocks, a Garden Warbler, a Redstart, 9 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, a Kingfisher and a Green Woodpecker (Just the 11th ever for the Observatory, making it rarer in the hand than Tuesday's Red-breasted Flycatcher); and the retraps 8 Robins, a Blue Tit, a Redstart, a Dunnock and a Blackcap.

Kingfisher, ringed 3rd October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Green Woodpecker, ringed 3rd October 2013 - just the 11th for the Observatory ever
Photo - George Gregory
October 2nd: Strong southeasterly wind, cloudy, some morning rain.
  Yesterday's Red-breasted Flycatcher was retrapped, early morning, in East Dunes. Other birds around, including birds trapped, were 2 Firecrests, a Hawfinch, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Redstarts, 75 Robins, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Tawny Owl, a male Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Green Woodpecker, 3 Ring Ouzels, a Wheatear, 30 Bramblings, 50 Redwings and 100 Song Thrushes. Heading south were 40 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Little Gulls, 8 Siskins, a House Martin and 10 Swallows. On the Mere were 6 Spotted Redshanks, 2 Ruffs and 82 Black-tailed Godwits.
  Another restricted morning ringing session in East Dunes produced quality rather than quantity. The new birds were a Firecrest, 5 Robins, 3 Blackcaps, a Siskin, 10 Song Thrushes and a Redwing; and the retraps 2 Song Thrushes, the Red-breasted Flycatcher and a Robin.

Male Siskin, ringed 2nd October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
Firecrest, ringed 2nd October 2013.
Photo - George Gregory
October 1st: Strong easterly wind, mostly cloudy.
  A Red-breasted Flycatcher was trapped and ringed at the Bird Observatory, early morning. After release it showed several times over the next few hours near the Heligoland trap. Also around were 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 Ring Ouzels, 6 Redstarts, 4 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Firecrest, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Redstart, a Wheatear, 300 Brent Geese, a Common Buzzard, 10 Bramblings, 35 Meadow Pipits and 6 Skylarks. Flying south were 2 Siskins, 13 Bramblings, 3 Swallows and 5 Redwings.
  Again a morning ringing session in East Dunes was restricted by the wind. New birds were the Red-breasted Flycatcher (Just the 13th ever for the Observatory), 5 Robins, a Blackcap and 3 Song Thrushes; and the retraps were a Whitethroat and a Goldfinch.
  Upon checking through the records it has been found that following the spring Red-breasted Flycatcher, the bird today makes two for the year. The last time that two were ringed at Gibraltar Point Bird Observatory in a year was 1949. This was the year that the Observatory was founded.

Red-breasted Flycatcher, ringed 1st October 2013 - just the 13th for the Observatory ever
Photo - George Gregory
Red-breasted Flycatcher, ringed 1st October 2013  - just the 13th for the Observatory ever
Photo - George Gregory