Monday, 29 September 2008

The magician was missing

Nicky's first visit to Chalton was missing some of Merlin (aka Martin) the magician's magic! Hardly a surprise!

M'ipits were the target species. M'ipits were the not the only species to avoid the nets! An enjoyable trip, but a largely dissapointing weekend for the numbers of birds. See "Selected Recoveries" regarding the control Goldfinch - certainly worth the effort.

Graham says the conditions were just about the same as the weekend before but obviously something had changed - but what?

Above: A Meadow Pipit. The only M'ipits we caught were in the spring traps. Observations seem to suggest that the main passage of M'ipits seems to have passed as fewer numbers were seen this weekend.

We also had a possible Honey Buzzard of the light variation but it was impossible to distiguish exact plumage and easily confused with the Common Buzzard, also of the light variation. At one point, it did appear to be mobbed by the Common Buzzards but as there is some doubt, we would have to go with the Common Buzzard.

Ed's Buckton travels

You may have heard already ...

Above: A Red Breasted Flycatcher

Above: A Yellow Browed Warbler

I went to Bucton, near Flamborough to get experience of ringing at a costal migrant site. 2 of the three new species I ringed can be seen above! The third new species was a yellowhammer but the photographs couldn't do it justice, hence their absence.

Twitching (there's a powder for it apparently) was also on the agenda. We saw (along with several hundred tick hunters) a Brown Shrike ... plus 4 or 5 yellow browed warblers, redstart, several barn owls, a marsh harrier, sparrowhawks, a peregrine, a merlin, kestrel, long eared owl (roosting 5 metres from the net), a possible red footed falcon (views not good enough) and a radde's warbler.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Feeding Station 27-09

Returned for more punishment! The fog was denser and lasted longer this morning compared to yesterday. Birds did not come to the feeder for some time - and, what's more, they could see the net against the foggy background. We still did OK; 24 birds of 12 spp
(3 ad/11 imm/10 r-t's) as follows:

Wren 0/0/1, Robin 1/0/2, Blabi 0/1/0,
Sonth 0/0/1, Leswh 0/1/0, Blaca 0/1/0,
Bluti 0/0/2, Greti 1/0/2, Chaff 0/1/0,
Grefi 0/1/1, Goldf 1/6/0, Bullf 0/0/1.

Unlike yesterday, the Blackcap was a 3F.
The best bird was last of all! - a 3 Leswh.
Well worth waiting for!

Not the best of photos, I'm afraid.
The bird was (re)growing its tail.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Feeding Station 26-09

Yesterday - bit of a wash-out down at Meadow Lane. Just 8 birds, none of the Mipits - they just sat on top of the net!

With 3 feeders up and a couple of other nets, the tally was 36 birds today (5, 20, 11 - age 4+, 3, r/ts) of 12 spp. as follows:
Wren 0/1/1, Dunno 1/2/2, Robin 0/0/1,
Reewa 0/1/0, Blaca 0/3/1, Chiff 0/2/0,
Bluti 1/3/2, Greti 1/1/3, Lotti 0/0/1,
Grefi 0/3/0, Goldf 1/3/0.

All the Blackcaps were males; the re-trap was first caught as a 3J on 17-06-06.
Below - 3JFP Goldfinch; 3M Chiffchaff; 2M Goldcrest

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Chalton 21st Sept

Graham & Martin worked the site in the morning - with a grand finale!
The "tape" was put on for Mipits as passage was ocurring.

The days tally was as follows (50 new/6 retraps):
Merli 1/0, Meapi 28/0,
Wren 3/2, Dunno 2/1, Robin 1/0,
Blabi 2/0, Sonth 1/0, Cetwa 0/1,
Blaca 6/0, Chiff 1/0, Lotti 0/1,
Greti 3/0, Goldf 1/0, Bullf 2/1.

The Merlin, a first for the group and a Beds county 'tick' as well, came onto the Mipit tape and "got stuck" in the bottom shelf of the net 'triangle'. On size, it was most likely of the Icelandic sub-species, F.c.subaesalom. (per PJW)

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Long Hedge - 14th Sept

4 nets (1 didn't catch, ha ha). 13 birds as follows: 3 Blaca, all male, (including 2 r/t - from 2003 as a juv and summer 2004 as a 5M), 3 young Chiff ending PJ, r/t juv Reewa, new 'JJ' Sonth, r/t 3JP Wren, 2 Robin, an adult from spring '06 & a new juv half way thro' its body moult, a new yng 'Prune' and, on the final round, we taped a female Goldc that had a wt. of 5.9!

Blaca H597297 was first ringed as a 3J on 29-06-03 and has held the group's longevity record since July, now standing at 5y.2m.16d. Will have to do the Long Hedge sites next spring now!

Pic of Blackcap by Ed. See the Priory Blog for other interesting birds today.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Priory CES comparison

Now that the season is over, I thought that I would look up last year's results and compare them with this. Adults given first, then juvs; 2007 in brackets.

Wren - 14 (5), 18 (17); another good breeding year with very good winter survival.
Dunnock - 11 (13), 7 (10); good adult survival and another poor breeding season (cf 21 juvs in 2005).
Robin - 2 (2), 14 (21); we don't expect to catch many adults but the number of youngsters has dropped back to "normal" after a very good 2007.
Blackbird - 8 (13), 5 (9); again, good adult survival from 2007 to 2008 but the rains seem to have knocked back the number of young.
Song Thrush - 8 (3), 6 (5); this is excellent news! Good survival and good production for the second year running!
Reed Warbler - 10 (11), 8 (6); not a dry scrub bird but showing signs of a good overall year.
Lesser Whitethroat - 3 (1), 2 (3); a job to tell - but there were 2 pairs present this year which there hasn't been for 4 years.
Common Whitethroat - 7 (5), 8 (6); a slight upturn this year after 3 poor years on the run - despite all the wet weather.
Garden Warbler - 10 (12), 6 (16); this is the one species that seems to have had a real knock-back this season.
Blackcap - 23 (25), 28 (37); Doesn't look like a good year but we have been blessed with high numbers for the last 4 years. Juvenile production was hit quite badly, though.
Chiffchaff - 5 (5), 21 (9); an average year for adults but we haven't had such high numbers of juveniles since 2004 (24), the best year ever.
Willow Warbler - 2 (3), 5 (3); another low year all round. Do you remember when adults were in the 20's and juvs. in the 40's? Those days are long gone for southern England.
LT Tit - 1 (2), 6 (6); we never catch many in the CES season - we will have to wait for the autumn totals.
Blue Tit - 8 (4), 7 (8); good adult survival last winter but another bad fledging season, the 4th in a row, corroberated by the nest box results.
Great Tit - 6 (0), 5 (1); no indication is suggested, since CES figures at Priory have always yo-yo-ed and bear no relation to "the truth".
Chaffinch - 1 (2), 0 (1); looks poor
Greenfinch - 2 (12), 3 (9); a very poor - or late - season, probably the latter.
Goldfinch - 0 (5), 9 (10); a positive breeding season. The species has never been abundant in the park as most of the area not under trees is mown grass or water.
Bullfinch - 4 (6), 0 (3); it looks like they have suffered from the incessant damp. This is a species that has always liked the park and has maintained a good presence until now, despite the national fall.

A few other passerines are caught irregularly in low numbers, namely Sedge Warbler, Goldcrest, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Magpie, House Sparrow, Lesser Redpoll

Priory - 13th Sept

In the 'mizzle', I set a net behind the VC feeding station.
90 minutes worth yielded: 14 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits, 4 Dunnocks, 4 House Sparrows and 1 male Goldcrest.
One Bluti was ringed as a 3F on 11-10-03 in the rough, presumably at the nuts, and has not been "seen" since (1800 days).

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Fingers 10th Sept - A little bit creepy

A nice morning on the crescent & spit at PCP started slow but soon picked up and we ended up being very busy.
We set 3 seperate nets and collected 31 birds of 12 spp. altogether in just a couple of hours. 19 were new and the other 12 were re-traps.

Wren - 0/1/0, Dunno - 0/0/1,
Robin - 0/1/0, Sedwa - 0/1/0 = bird of the day?
Reewa - 0/2/1 (a 9F according to the records),
Chiff - 1/2/4 (all juvs from the 'rough'),
Wilwa - 0/1/0; poss a hybrid, Lotti - 0/2/4 (2 ads, 2 'juvs'),
Bluti - 0/4/1, Greti - 0/0/1,
Treec - 0/1/0; a ringing tick for Ed.
Bullf - 0/3/0; 1 first brood, 2 second brood, all in PJ.

For me, the Chiffs were the real highlight of the day; how many are struggling to find enough insect prey due to the rains. Their weights seeemed OK for now and the forecast is for better weather. We'll see!

Pix by EDG

Above: This tree creeper crept into one of the nets on the spit.

Above: A party of three. Another party of 3 were caught later on.

Above: The best of a bad bunch of photographs of the Sedge (it wouldn't sit still!). I blame the cameraman, oh, wait a minute, that was me. Ah well. Ed.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Sat 6th Sept

Weather inclement; decided to ring at NOR.

First bird out of the net was ...

... a 3F Wilwa; nice surprise!!

Then a few more of the regulars -

2M Housp

5F Grefi in heavy moult

3JJ Goldf

3JM Chaff

Some gardens are lucky enough to attract one or more of these!!

3J Marti (at Lynn)

Tally was - Wilwa 0/1/0, Bluti 1/0/0, Housp 7, Chaff 0/2/0, Grefi 1/4/0, Goldf 0/14/0.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Last CES - 3rd Sept

The last visit to the Rough under CES conditions did nothing for the ego!
Just 15 birds! ... and 5 of those were in extra nets!

Tally for the day was (ad/juv/retrap, as usual) -
Robin - 0/0/1, an adult (7M) in new plum
Blabi - 0/1/2, all male juvs in various stages of PJ
Sonth - 0/2/0, another 2 youngsters fresh out into the world
Reewa - 0/3/0, 3 more "PJ's"(1 was very J'ey although showing PJ)
Leswh - 1/0/0, a bright adult, poss. female; fat 25
Blaca - 0/3/0, a 3JM, a 3M & a 3F, all PJ, fat 20, M2
Wilwa - 1/0/0, a small 4F with little or no fat
Lotti - 0/0/1, a last year's (?) male

At least it didn't rain!

Above: A cracking Leswh

Below: Some of the outer tail feathers showing a white tip, typical of an adult

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Bargo Red H/B

Another sighting of "the wanderer". This time, seen in with the captive Barnacles and R-B Geese at Leeds Castle (nr.Maidstone, Kent) by a visiting ringer at the end of July. Where next? Another trip across the Channel??