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.

Mid January 2013

January 20th: More of the same today, with a brisk cold ENE wind still blowing, staying just above freezing all day with no snow until after dark.
  The brisk ENE wind produced the following birds over the sea: 5 Fulmars and an adult Kittiwake north, an adult Little Gull and 2 Great Skuas south, a Guillemot and 30 Red-throated Divers. Other birds on the reserve included a Merlin, 60 Corn Buntings and 50 Meadow Pipits. There were also 3 Water Rails showing off and on in front of the Fenella Hope hide (the middle hide) on Tennyson Sands.
  I would just like to say a big Thank You to Richard Doan for emailing us most of the recent bird records from the 8th to the 20th January.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue resulted in just 6 new birds, including a Brambling, by 2pm, when the wind got just a bit too strong as it moved slightly to a more easterly direction. There were also around 30 retraps including a lot of Blue Tits, nearly all of which were three to four years old and one that was 7 years old. There were also two retrap Bramblings, and mid morning a Moorhen bounced off one of the nets!
Adult Great Tit, the fourth new one of the year, 20th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
Adult male Chaffinch, a really large bird, possibly continental, 20th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
2nd year male Brambling, the ninth of the year ringed, 20th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.

January 19th: Despite the near-freezing conditions and brisk ENE wind that really went through you if you stood out somewhere exposed, ringing was carried out from 10am till near dusk at Aylmer Avenue today. Luckily there was no more snow, although some heavy snow is forecast for tomorrow.
  Around on the Freshwater Marsh were at least 8 Snipes, on the shoreline out from the Wash Viewpoint were a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, and hunting over the New Saltmarsh was a Peregrine. On Tennyson Sands was a Water Rail. On Rock Ridge there were 90+ Corn Buntings. Elsewhere there were 3 Fieldfares, 7 Redwings, 5 Bramblings, a Merlin, 20+ Woodcocks and 2 Ringed Plovers.
  The Moorhen contingent on the flooded areas of Measures (which is now frozen solid enough to walk on!) again refused to go anywhere near any of the Potter traps deployed for them for the day, although 3 birds did get quite close to the feeding station nets at one point.
  A total of 20 new birds were caught at the feeding station, including 2 Bramblings, 2 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinches and 14 Greenfinches. There were also around 45 retraps, including 2 more Bramblings and our control Blue Tit from last week. There were also a 6 year old Greenfinch, a 7 year old Chaffinch, and an adult female Great Spotted Woodpecker.
2nd year Robin, one of four that came to the feeding station at Aylmer Avenue on 19th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
Adult female Great Spotted Woodpecker retrap on 19th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
2nd year male Brambling on 19th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
The back of the Mere Enclosure. Note the flooded area is frozen solid enough to walk on, 19th January 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
The Field Station looking fairly quiet! 19th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
The entrance to the reserve from South Car Park - not many people going out there today! 19th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.
Roadside Pond, 19th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs.

January 18th: On Rock Ridge were 20 Corn Buntings, whilst elsewhere there were 4 Woodcocks.

January 17th: The snow that fell on Monday the 14th from mid afternoon onwards was finally photographed today amidst some serious freezing fog that has been hanging around for much of the week. Daytime temperatures have only been above freezing for a few hours at a time during the week and the results are clear on the photos below.
Measures, site of Meadow Pipit catching area, 17th Jan 2013.
Photo - Dave Vincent.

View across Old Saltmarsh from South Car Park, 17th Jan 2013.
Photo - Dave Vincent.
Roadside Pond, 17th Jan 2013.
Photo - Dave Vincent.
Road through the reserve near Jackson's Marsh, 17th Jan 2013.
Photo - Dave Vincent.
Footpath along roadside of Tennyson Sands, 17th Jan 2013.
Photo - Dave Vincent.
Tennyson Sands, 17th Jan 2013.
Photo - Dave Vincent.
Tennyson Sands, 17th Jan 2013.
Photo - Dave Vincent.

January 16th: The recent sub-zero temperatures have started to bring lots more Woodcocks onto the reserve, with a walk through Measures producing 10 birds. Still there were sub-zero temperatures for most of the day.

January 15th: No records received for today, so nothing to report, mainly again due to it being -8C for most of the day.

January 14th: Very little of note today, not surprisingly with it being -6C for most of the day.

January 13th: Slightly warmer than yesterday with periods of sunshine through the heavy cloud. A slight easterly, although nearly still from mid afternoon onwards. Just the first few flurries of light snow as the day finished, the first of 2013 with more to come?
  A Purple Sandpiper and 3 Snow Buntings were on Millenium Ridge. Sea-watching produced 125 Red-throated Divers south into the Wash, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers and 5 Great Crested Grebes. Flying south over land was a Lapland Bunting. Elsewhere on the reserve were a Merlin, a Peregrine, a Barn Owl, 2 Tawny Owls, a Short-eared Owl, 7 Woodcocks, 3000 Golden Plovers, 2200 Oystercatchers, 3000 Knots, 630 Grey Plovers, 21 Turnstones, 33 Sanderlings, 6 Ringed Plovers, the over wintering Cetti's Warbler, 5 Lesser Redpolls and 10 Corn Buntings.
  Another long day's ringing at Aylmer Avenue resulted in just 10 new birds, bringing us up to a reasonable 84 new birds ringed so far this year (in some years we don't even manage 50 during the entire month of January). There were also around 60 retraps, with over 120 different finches visiting the feeding station over the weekend (exact figures will follow later). the highlights today, besides retrap Bramblings, were the first new Wren of 2013 (we usually don't catch and ring any Wrens during January).
  Much of the reserve is still under water from the torrential and persistent rain of late, as the photographs below show. This is an area we often use for a Meadow Pipit triangle (arrangment of nets for catching Meadow Pipits) and is usually dry enough to wander around it in trainers; Wellington boots will only just do the job now, though. There are several Moorhens taking advantage of this wet ground at the moment, but despite best attempts, brown bread would not draw them into some Potter traps deployed for the day. However after removing the traps, the bread was seen to be cleared up by two adults Foxes (in broad daylight!) within ten minutes of us leaving the area with failed traps.
An area of Measures that we use in September/October for catching Meadow Pipits on migration, under water from the very wet winter so far.
Photo - Mick Briggs
An area in between the Mere and the West Dunes, generally quite dry although not at the moment.
Photo - Mick Briggs

January 12th: Bitterly cold in the easterly breeze, despite the sunshine for most of the day. There was a slight frost overnight.
  Landed birds featured the Cetti's Warbler again at Shovelers Pool, and 2 Bearded Tits on Jackson's Marsh. South over the sea were a juvenile Marsh Harrier and 7 Common Scoters. On the Mere was a pair of Goldeneyes.
  Ringing today at Aylmer Avenue resulted in just 7 new birds and around 30 retraps: not the desired result really, but none the less the retraps are providing us with an accurate picture of exactly how many individual birds are visiting the feeders during the average day. The highlights were a couple of Bramblings ringed a week or so ago.

January 11th: In the West Dunes were 2 Waxwings. Otherwise 75 Redwings were notable.

Early January 2013

January 10th: Flying north-west were 170 Pink-footed Geese. In the Plantation/Orchard area Winter Aconites are now in flower.

January 9th: Bird noted included a single Waxwing, and the Cetti's Warbler again at Shovelers Pool.

January 8th: There were 2 Waxwings and a Coal Tit in the Plantation. A Rough-legged Buzzard flew over Jackson's Marsh at 1430hrs.
  In the Plantation Snowdrops are now in flower.

January 7th: Numbers of  Lapwings increased to 4500, and of Curlews to 500. Offshore were a Shag, 35 Eiders and 800 Common Scoters. Around were the Rough-legged Buzzard, a Common Buzzard and a Brambling.

January 6th: Foggy afternoon. The Rough-legged Buzzard was still present, as were a Peregrine and a Cetti's Warbler. Other notables were a Great Northern Diver offshore, 2 Snow Buntings on the beach, and 6 Gadwalls on Tennyson Sands. Pink-footed Geese on the move were 32 northwest and 94 west.
  Another ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was quite successful, the best of 54 captures being 2 Bramblings, a Goldcrest and a Kestrel.

January 5th: Around were a Rough-legged Buzzard, 3 Crossbills, 4 Woodcocks, 6 Bramblings, a Purple Sandpiper, a Merlin, 2800 Golden lovers, 2000 Lapwings, a Peregrine and 3 Song Thrushes. Heading northwest were 430 Pink-footed Geese.
  Ringing at Aylmer Avenue was very quiet, with 2 Bramblings and a Coal Tit being of note.

Female Brambling ringed on the 5th Jan 2013.
Photo - Mick Briggs
January 4th: Flying south were a Waxwing, a Crossbill and 11 Whooper Swans. A Green Sandpiper was on Croftmarsh. The best other birds were a Rough-legged Buzzard, a Hen Harrier, a Water Pipit, 7 Bramblings, 8 Redwings, a Cetti's Warbler and a Woodcock.
 A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was productive, with 77 birds processed, mostly retraps. New birds included 2 Bramblings.

January 3rd: Fairly windy morning. Around were 3 Waxwings, a Water Pipit, 500 Curlews and 6200 Golden Plovers. The best raptors were a Rough-legged Buzzard, a Common Buzzard, a Peregrine, a Hen Harrier and a Marsh Harrier. North went a Great Northern Diver, south a Lapland Bunting, and northwest 75 Pink-footed Geese.

January 2nd: Rain most of day. Southward movers were 250 Pink-footed Geese and 23 Siskins, and northwest 120 more Pink-footed Geese. Landed birds included 3 waxwings, a Rough-legged Buzzard, a Woodcock, a Water Pipit and 2 Bramblings.
  A ringing session at Aylmer Avenue was all too brief, being curtailed due to the arrival of persistent rain. Just a small number of Greenfinches and Goldfinches were the first birds ringed here in 2013.

January 1st: Happy New Year to everybody reading this blog! Thanks to all of you for reading this Blog throughout 2012 and hopefully we will be able to see out another year's ringing and recording, and will strive to keep you all entertained throughout the coming twelve months of 2013.
  Fairly windy. Around were a Rough-legged Buzzard, a Common Buzzard, 3 Bramblings, 5 Snow buntings, a Purple Sandpiper and 6 Waxwings. On Jackson's Marsh was a Pintail, and on the Mere a Goldeneye. South went 3 Whooper Swans.
 Following the recent heavy rain, the water bodies on the reserve are at their highest levels ever.

                                High water level at Jackson's Marsh (George Gregory)