Monday, 27 December 2010

In the snow at Cardington

Though today started out with snow still on the ground, hard and icy, a thaw has at last set in. Temperatures reached 3 degrees Centrigrade by 1pm.

Small numbers of Fieldfares were around the area, a Buzzard flew over, two Marsh Tits were in the bushes. There seemed to be fewer Blue and Great Tits around, which was reflected in the ringing totals.

Between 10:30am and 1:50pm, 13 new birds and 11 retraps (shown in brackets below) were caught:

  • Blue Tit 2 (1)
  • Bullfinch 1
  • Goldfinch 4 (1)
  • Greenfinch 2
  • Long-tailed Tit 1 (4)
  • Marsh Tit 1
  • Robin 1 (1)
  • Song Thrush 1
  • Dunnock (3)
  • Great-spotted Woodpecker (1)

The female Bullfinch (see left) was only the 2nd ringed at the site this year (the first being ringed in May).

The retrap Great-spotted Woodpecker was first ringed on 30th October.

It was good to actually retrap a Goldfinch at last - this was the first bird retrapped, with a total of 27 now having been ringed so far this year.

Lastly, the Marsh Tit (see left) was the 2nd ringed at the site so far this year.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

2 new species for Sandy Smith NR

The first two birds out of the net this morning at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve were both new species to be ringed on this site. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Coal Tit.

In the end, 2 Great Spots were ringed but just the one Coal Tit.

Above: A coal tit.

Dunnock 3
Blue Tit 13 (mostly retraps)
Great Tit 3
Coal Tit 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Chaffinch 1 (2nd of this species ringed on this site)
Robin 1
Siskin 2

26 birds of 8 species.

11th December 2010

Between 8am and 12.30pm today 30 birds of 10 species were caught, ringed and released in 'the rough.' New (retrap):

Great Tit 4 (6)
Blackbird 3 (0)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (1)
Blue Tit 4 (4)
Dunnock 1 (0)
Wren 0 (1)
Marsh Tit 1 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (3)
Bullfinch 0 (1)
Robin 0 (1)

Above: This Marsh Tit V670965 (an adult) is only the third caught & ringed at this site (the second this year, the only other being in 1993). DK got some photographs for the Priory Bird Report but DB & JA missed out having already left.

The Bullfinch was first ringed as a youngster on 11th October 2008 (also recaught a few times inbetween) and a retrap Great Tit was first ringed in Box 4 in May this year.

On my last visit (27th Nov.) I retrapped a Blackbird that was first ringed in August 2005 as a youngster.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


I popped into Bromham Mill first thing this morning. The plan was to put a net up for 30mins, just to sample birds using a small feeding station I've been running there for the past few months.

First bird was a Robin. While ringing the Robin, a Marsh Tit went into the net. I extracted the Marsh Tit and suddenly a flock of Blue Tits and Great Tits appeared, 14 birds went into the net in about 2 minutes. I ringed them, noting their age and sex, measured their wings and released as quickly as possible.

There was a small party of Long-tailed Tits on site also.

The trees around the Mill were looking fantastic this morning. Covered in hoar frost, it was a real Christmas card image.

Totals ringed today were:

  • Robin 1
  • Marsh Tit 1
  • Blue Tit 8
  • Great Tit 6

Monday, 6 December 2010

Thank goodness I like retraps

A short session in Cardington on Saturday 4th December. The temperature was marginally 'warmer' - reaching approx 1 degree C. 3 new birds were ringed and 10 retraps were caught (retraps are shown in brackets):

  • Long-tailed Tit 1 (1)

  • Dunnock 1

  • Blue Tit 1 (6)

  • Great Tit (1)

  • Marsh Tit (1)

  • Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
The 2 Long-tailed Tits were part of a small party. They are fantastic birds - very sociable and it is amazing how they survive the harsh conditions of a Bedfordshire winter. Saturday's birds weighed 7.3g and 7.5g, not much more than the weight of a 10p piece (6.5g).

Friday, 3 December 2010

Nuthatch at Stagsden

I paid a short lunch-time visit to Bedfordshire Golf Club at Stagsden on Thursday 2nd December. My plan had been to go there first thing in the morning to top-up the feeders, but as it was snowing I waited until later.
There were no golfers braving the near-arctic conditions, possibly due to the course being entirely covered in snow (it was open for play - just totally white).

The staff are very keen to make the course more attractive to wildlife and, with some help from residents in Stagsden, have been putting up nestboxes. I am hoping to help them further this year - just need to find suitable construction materials.

I put a net up for a short while and ringed a Nuthatch, Robin and Great Tit.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Target species aquired! Feeders up for a second week, tape lure at the ready. 14 new birds ringed!

Above & Below: Siskin no.1.

Above & Below: The tail shape (pointed) in the photograph above is indicative of a juvenile bird (born this year) whereas the rounded tail shape in the photograph below is that of an adult (born last year or before).

Many of the 14 Siskin caught were males and many of them juveniles. None had rings on, though I am hopeful that I will get some interesting recoveries as there is a good chance of this with Siskins.

Interestingly, the biometrics (wing length & weight) were remarkably similar amongst all the birds (wing length 73 or 74mm and weight around 12.3 or 12.4grams).

See for more info/photographs.

See for info/photographs of Saturday's session at Priory Country Park.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cardington, 28th November 2010

Sunday morning was very cold. The pond at Bedford Park was mostly frozen, as was Longholme Lake. The River Ouse by the Embankment also had ice. At Cardington, the temperature was initially about -7.5 degree Centigrade. The ground was frozen hard, but we had escaped the snow. The good news was that there was no wind. I kept a very close eye on the nets; the aim was to remove birds quickly from the nets and process them as soon as possible. In order to do this more quickly, fewer measurements were taken than normal.

Totals for the day were 28 new birds ringed and 14 retraps (retrap totals shown in brackets):

Blackbird 1
Blue Tit 4 (7)
Chaffinch 2 (1)
Dunnock 1 (4)
Goldfinch 7
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
Great Tit 2
Greenfinch 5
Magpie 1
Robin 2 (1)
Siskin 1
Song Thrush 1
Wren 1

The Great Spotted Woodpecker retrapped was one of the young male birds I ringed at the same site on 30th October 2010.

The Magpie and Siskin (see right for a photo of the female Siskin) was the first bird of either species that I have ringed at the site.

The male Greenfinches were looking amazing, really bright yellow/green and very smart.

The total of 14 retraps suggests that many of the birds previously ringed are resident locally. Perhaps of particular interest are the 4 retrap Dunnocks:

Ring No. Date ringed Retrap history
P546608 21/06/09 05/07/09, 23/05/10, 30/10/10, 28/11/10
P546635 27/06/09 28/11/10
P546665 31/01/10 06/11/10, 28/11/10
P546687 26/09/10 30/10/10, 28/11/10

The fact that 608 has been caught 5 times now suggests it lives on the site most of the time. But what about 635? It was ringed a week later than 608 but today was the first time it has been retrapped. Where has it been in the mean time?

I am also getting a good number of Blue Tit retraps, but so far no Greenfinch or Goldfinch retraps - this could suggest that either the population is big and so the chances of getting a retrap are small, or the birds are moving through the area and not staying put. Time will tell.

Apart from the birds ringed, about 10 Lapwings drifted over and were in one of the fields near the village later on. There was one Goldcrest on site. A small flock of Fieldfares were in the hedgerow down the road as I left.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

From Mark Fitzpatrick

Saturday 29th October - Cardington
Really nice day. Gentle westerly breeze, warm in the sun. Not many clouds. 3 Buzzards over together. Peregrine flew over. Mixed flock of finches (100+) on the field. Highlight of the ringing were 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers - first I've ever ringed at the site. In total I ringed 37 new birds, plus 15 retraps: Blue Tit 16 new (+ 5 retraps), Chaffinch 2, Dunnock 1, (2), Goldcrest (1), Goldfinch 7, Greenfinch 2, Great Tit 1, (3), Great Spotted Woodpecker 3, LT Tit 3, (4), Robin 1, Wren (1).

- Stagsden
Been out ringing again - lots of tits coming to feeders. Mostly Blue Tits, some Great Tits. At Stagsden also ringed 2 Coal Tits and 2 Marsh Tits. Marsh Tits are fairly uncommon in Bedfordshire. The attached photo is a very typical example of what happens when one tries to ring any of the tit species!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A nice day for ringing

The weather was good, the wind was down and I didn't have to get up at rediculous o'clock. All that was needed were some birds.

A visit to 'the rough' at Priory Country Park today (7.30am to 1pm) brought the following totals: 35 birds of 10 species - new (retrap):

Redwing 4 (0)
Blue Tit 2 (1)
Great Tit 2 (5)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (4)
Bullfinch 2 (1)
Robin 0 (3)
Dunnock 1 (4)
Blackbird 3 (0)
Greenfinch 1 (0)
Wren 2 (0)

The total catch was reasonable and the first of the autumn redwing arrivals were caught and ringed (juveniles and adults). It was a bit slow mid-morning but picked up later on.

The feeding station didn't attract many birds but perhaps it isn't cold enough yet to make them desperate enough to be lured in to the feeders.

The retrap Bullfinch had mange and one robin had a weird growth at the base of the upper mandible (bill) which it didn't have when it was first ringed.

Other things of note, a flock of 18 lapwing flew over heading towards the main lake and a weasel made 2 brief appearances (I've never seen one so close).

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Haar, haar.

Got out early in anticipation of maybe a bit of 'grounded scarce'. The heavens were obscured by a layer of cloud as I put some nets up. The wind was also a lot stronger than the 5mph forecast. The next hour was busy with 19 birds to extract and process. First up was a Song Thrush that was being 'got at' by a juvvy male Sparr - but my intervention saved it and it got away with a few ruffled, and bloodied, back feathers.
Some minor damage to the rear end of today's Song Thrush

The bird was a Euring code 4 and much bigger than our known locals, so was probably a continental arrival.

With a little more light in the sky a couple of female Blackbirds popped by, both birds of the year and like chalk and cheese. The smaller one (123mm wing) had just 1ogc and the larger (133mm) had 4ogc. Here is the larger one that also had a fat score of 2.5
The 'continental' female Blackbird in a hurry to get away.

Then, with the MP3 lure on, it was the turn of 2 male Blackcaps to 'weigh in'. The smaller of the two was the heavier.
Shy 'teenage' Blackcap (3M) with 2 ogc; the lighter one .

By now the light was about as good as it was going to get all morning. The tits started to visit the feeders for a while starting about half an hour after (theoretical) sunrise. However, after a bit of a flurry, interest in the easy come by source of food failed to attract much enthusiasm. Four Bushtits did the honours, three of them newbies and most likely young of the year with their red eye rings.

So, after three hours of boredom, when I processed 3 more tits and a Dunnock and was thinking of taking down as the wind had backed to a worse direction, what should pop by but a young Treecreeper that I ringed a couple of weeks ago. So that was it. 24 birds of 10 species, of which one third were re-traps.
Last bird of the day - Treecreeper, aged 3, male on bill & hind claw.
Young Treecreeper with 2 ogc's and unmoulted, large white tip to alula.

Blue Tit 4 (3)
Great Tit 1 (2)
Long-tailed Bushtit 3 (1)
Blackcap 2
Treecreeper (1)
Wren 1
Blackbird 2
Song Thrush 1
Dunnock 2
Chaffinch (1)

No Chiffs, no 'crests, no Redwings, no King Harry's. The day started as it had begun - gloomy!

Observations made up for it some what, with the Sparr, 8 Lesser Redpolls, a Green Sand, 5 Swallows, 1 House Martin, several small parties of Chaffinch, 8 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, a Grey Wag, a Pied Wag, 4 Mipits, 3 Sky Larks, a count of 180-200 Starlings west, just 1 Redwing ... and about 2 thousand Jackdaws as I was unlocking the gate on arrival.
Pie in the sky today! Next time? I've put a request in for light winds, as well.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

To sweee or to sweeooo

Up early and out. Brrr - a mere 5 degrees C. 3 nets up around the 'crescent' reedbed in the gloaming before sunrise. A little bit of mist over the lake and a pair of Gadwall feeding on the weed; would have made a cracking photo. Kingfisher(s) zipping about and perching in the willows overhanging the water. Not coming through my way, though.

Today was migrants' day. Visibility is restricted at this sub-site because it is set in a hollow and because of the height of the surrounding willows. This precludes 'vis-migging' as you can't see much of the sky! However, it was to be good for Chiff, Robin, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Goldfinch and Siskin. To take it one step at a time ...
A brightly coloured (and lit!) Chiffchaff; excuse the shadow.

Early doors, at sunrise, it was just 1 Robin and 1 Dunnock. The tape was playing Chiff but no signs except for a bird singing back at base. Then a couple of Chaffinches; these were joined by 3 Chiffs shortly after. Having taken them out, another Chiff flew in, making 4. A lone female and a mixed bag of males. Three different plumages and leg colours. The biggest was brightest and the smallest was greyest, the other one being 'normal' for south central England. The 'grey one' gave the abietinus type 'seeeooo' call. Then that avenue dried up, only to be replaced by Wrens and Blue Tits, as, by now, the place was warming up quickly in the bright sunshine.

More Robins - and going by the wing length, all of todays were females, in the David Lack tradition. [Males tend to stay put]. Moved the tape to be nearer the Alders and switched to Goldcrest. Three arrived, two were caught - females again. Finger trouble with the MP3 and Goldfinch played, luring in a large-winged, juvenile male. As I took the nets down (prior to a previous engagement), I noticed half a dozen silent Goldfinch feeding in the Alders. As I packed the car, A Siskin also flew in. ~#**%*##! could have had that!

In all, 10 species and 26 birds. As usual, these is them:
Goldcrest 2
Blue Tit 4 (1)
Great Tit (1)
Long-tailed Bush Tit 1
Chiffchaff 4
Wren 1 (2)
Robin 3 (1)
Dunnock 2 (1)
Chaffinch 1 (1)
Goldfinch 1

Back to the feeders on Saturday. My No.1 helper and 'C' ringer will not be there as he intends to make for East Yorkshire. More ringing ticks for him, no doubt. But ... it'll only be 3 days to the glorious 12th!
Match that! [P.schwarzi. 1991. Beds.]

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Ever hopeful

Ed and I went out ringing this morning, despite a stiff northerly wind and grey skies. The breeze had got up quite a bit since yesterday, which was also beautiful and sunny. Still, you never know. The "Rough" is well sheltered from northerly winds so it might work out, nevertheless.

And so it did. The main run of 160' did catch the wind, but not until it had delivered a pair of Blackcaps in the early morning gloom, then a retrap 1CY Marsh Tit and a Blackbird. Despite the wind, a Chiffchaff 'came to tape'.

Today's target species - Blackcap (1cy male)

Ed got the feeding station net up and, to begin with, all we had were re-trap Blue and Great Tits. As it was in the lee of 'the Long Hedge', I moved the lure over there with a modicum of success. Hey Ho, apart from lots more new Blue and Great Tits, two Goldcrests, a solitary Blackcap and five more Chiffs!

The two extremes of Chiffies this morning - adult male & late brood female (juv doing PJ)

Other birds we noticed were a couple of migrating Jays (scarce birds round here, you know), a few Swallows and 110 Starlings beetling south-west, once upon a time a common bird hereabouts. Of course, the local "Bushtit" flock was moving around, 'around' being the operative word since we could see them and hear them - but not catch them!

We took down after four hours and beat a hasty retreat home before the forecast rain caught us out. We had caught 42 birds of which 27 were new and 15 were recaptures. This time the re-trap tits produced four more youngsters from our various boxes situated around the park.
Goldcrest 2
Blue Tit 8 (8)
Great Tit 5 (3)
Marsh Tit (1) - that same youngster
Chiffchaff 6
Blackcap 3
Blackbird 1 (1)
Dunnock (2)
Chaffinch 2

Promise of things to come - Goldcrest (young male)

Another good day; probably worthwhile trying again in the week. Weds? The feeders will need filling in couple of days, anyhow.
Today's pics by DK.

Chalton - summer results

Below is the final count from the Constant Effort Survey at the sewage treatment works; adults first, followed by birds of the year. This is the number of individual birds (new or re-traps from other years) and makes no account of their subsequent re-capture during this year's fieldwork. The works are situated adjacent to the M1 motorway, close to Toddington service station.
Moorhen 1 + 0
Wood Pigeon 0 + 2
Kingfisher 1 + 1
Barn Swallow 4 + 0
Wren 5 + 10
Dunnock 6 + 4
Robin 4 + 7
Blackbird 6 + 1
Song Thrush 1 + 0
Sedge Warbler 20 + 13
Reed Warbler 29 + 28
C.Whitethroat 13 + 12
Garden Warbler 1 + 1
Blackcap 8 + 9
Chiffchaff 4 + 29
Willow Warbler 0 + 1
Long-tailed Tit 5 + 20
Blue Tit 6 + 17
Great Tit 2 + 14
C. Crow 1 + 0
Starling 4 + 0
Greenfinch 0 + 2
Bullfinch 1 + 3
Reed Bunting 6 + 1
128 Adults & 170 juveniles [ 2009 = 111 adults & 188 juveniles)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Magnificent Seven

Great Spot. - note the dull eye of this juvenile and the emerging red crown feathers, indicating 'male'.

A lonely vigil today, starting at a dewy 7 o'clock and finishing at a (comparative) sweltering 12 noon. My main intention was to catch a few more Blackcaps, which I achieved. It was also a chance to try out - and learn how to use - the new MP3 player and speaker with a bit of tape luring. It is certainly a tad better than my 30-year old tape set-up, but then that is capable of blasting them out of the sky. I had to join the 21st century sometime!

Well, it went very well. An early Reewa and a Chaff followed by a couple of Blaca cheered me up so I set about putting a net by the new feeders. A Goldf, two more Blaca and another Reewa, plus loads of immature Bluti and new Greti kept me busy for a couple of hours, by which time I decided it was the right juncture for a cupp'a.
Just love the black and white uppers of the King Harry's
A recently fledged juvenile Reed Warbler -all three in different fitness to emigrate
One of two male Blackcaps included in the seven new individuals.

From then on, it slowed down but became the more interesting. A young male Grswo dropped in, two Robin, more tits, another Blaca, a Treec, a couple of adult Lotti, another Goldf, two more Blaca, a third Reewa and finally, at half eleven, a Coati.
On measurements, this young Treecreeper should turn out to be a male.
Coal Tit - I claimed this immature bird as a ringing tick for the park.

Now these are rare in the park; one was seen by DK in Feb 2009, but the previous record was one I and another birder saw back in 1995. Bingo.

At the end of the morning, I had bagged 50 birds of which 10 were retraps. Four of the six tits recaptured had been ringed 'at the nest' as pulli, in different plantations. Twelve species at this location is just above par. I didn't manage to catch any of the 3 Chiffs feeding on Ivy blossom, nor the lone Whitethroat that had been seen here up until yesterday. I only saw 2 Blackbirds all morning and heard an alarm call of a Dunnock without seeing one. The Marsh Tit came to the feeder but not the net! A Hobby came over, too. About 6-8 Meadow Pipits passed west-south-west during mid-morning.

The all important ringing list (re-traps in brackets, as usual):
Gt. Spotted Woodpecker 1 - second for the year
Blue Tit 8 (6)
Great Tit 12 (1)
Coal Tit 1 - 'ringing tick' for the park
Long-tailed Bushtit (2) - both lone adults
Blackcap 7 - now 2010 total (89) beats last year's
(2nd highest annual figure in 20 years)

Reed Warbler 3 - makes 37 youngsters for the year
Treecreeper 1 - second for the year
Wren 3
Robin 1 (1)
Chaffinch 1
Goldfinch 2

Blackcap is the most ringed species on the site. At present it accounts for 11.35% of all new birds. Blue Tit is next (10.49%), then Reed Warbler (5.63%), Blackbird (5.48%) & Sand Martin (5.09%).

A typical young Blue Tit, still a bit scruffy as it comes to the end of its post-juvenile moult (mainly body feathers are replaced).
Surprisingly, only one Great Tit was a retrap (ringed as a pullus, too). Not an adult among them.

One other bit of news - DK picked up a Cetti's on call/song (remained hidden - so only brief views) by the STW bridge, our first since winter 06/07.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Fatty & skinny

... went out today; that's the Blackcaps, not us!
First up - a 3F Blackcap, fat 4, wt.22.3g
Another session at Priory in the 'rough' from sun-up 'til late morning produced 23 birds, including 6 retraps.
Next up - 3M Blackcap, fat 1.5, wt. 19.2g
Retraps often mean winter is on its way and today we were also delighted to catch 4 tits. These in themselves seem to appear about now, reminding us that we ought really to get the feeders up. Instead, we just cut out the rack through the waist high nettles.

To clarify today's efforts, we have:
Blue Tit 3, still with small signs of their juv plum
One of today's 3F Blue Tits
Great Tit 1,
Blackcap 6 (1), weights from 19.2 - 22.7, except the retrap which we have handled on the last 3 visits without any appreciable weight gain over the 9 days.
Blackbird 1 (2), a couple of adults ending primary moult
Robin 2 (2), all except one were youngsters
Adult male Robin in fresh/winter plumage
Dunnock 1 (1), young males of the year
Greenfinch 1, 3J
Goldfinch 2, both 3J's but only just out of the nest, many primaries in sheath.
Underwing of 1J/3J Goldfinch, showing primary sheaths.
Other birds around included 4 Tufted, 4 c.Swift, 14 House Martin, a C.Buzzard, a Jay and a singleton Spotted Flycatcher.
One man (Ed) and my (new) dog (bitch), Cerise.

. New Blackcaps now only 4 short of last years total for the site.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Black Friday

A short session today, starting ~9am, after the fog started to lift.
Chiffchaff - 2
Blackcap - 12, 10 of these were females!
C.Whitethroat - 1
Wren - 1
Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 1, (1)
Robin - 1, (1)
Dunnock - 2
Greenfinch - 1
The only adult birds were two of the female Blackcaps and a male Chiffchaff (with an abietinus call).
Brings the Priory total of new Blackcaps this year to 71. Best year by far was 1994 with 107; next best was last year with 88 and then 2007 with 87. So far so good - at least 4 more weeks to go before passage ceases.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Hands Solo.

At last, I could get out and ring. Hand almost like new, wellies still performing after 20 years.
Today was a solo effort, since young Ed went off to his new patch at Clophill. Nets went up and the birds came visiting.

Well, they did for about 90 minutes, then an hour long wait for 3 more and, after that flurry, one bird an hour to finish off with. I even put up 2 extra nets (100') but they didn't catch anything. I put it all down to a sudden weather change about 8 o'clock, when the skies cleared, the wind got up and the tops of the nets were bathed in bright sunlight.
"The sky at bright" - taken 8am. (Yes. That is the moon)

It went from bad to worse, too.
The list of 22 new and 3 retrapped birds is as follows:
Chiffchaff 2
Blackcap 6
C.Whitethroat 3
Blackbird 2 (1)
Song Thrush 3 (1)
Robin 1
Dunnock 3 (1)
Chaffinch 1
Goldfinch 1

Overhead there were c.16 Swifts and c.20 House Martins in the early morning sun. Also flying over from the main lake, 15 Shoveler ( spooked by the sailing fraternity), 4 calling Gadwall, & 8 Cormorant but no raptors. Inside the ringing sub-site, there was a Lesser Whitethroat on the top of one of the Elderberry bushes for some while, accompanied by a Garden Warbler at first and then by an unringed male Blackcap. Upwards of 8 Goldfinches blogged to and fro, a young Great Spot flew over, the Long-tailed Tits flew through with a few other hangers-on (tits), across (but outside) the corner of the net run. I heard a Bullfinch, a Greenfinch and noticed 2 Crows in the top of the Pear tree, something I spotted last time I was in here. No sign of the Spot Fly that we watched last Sunday.

Total CES tally this year was 96 adults of 21 species, 169 juveniles of 20 species. We have also captured another 45 individuals on extra visits and ringed 81 tit pulli in the same compartment, a grand total of 360 individual birds of 24 species. Blackcap is still "tops" for the site with 56 caught so far ... and another 6 weeks to go before they all disappear.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Number 11

Today was the 15th. CES 11 due to be done today. 15th bird today was special. Lesser Whitethroat - our 4th this year. Maybe it was bred here.

A funny old day; no Swifts seen, for a start. A Sparr over the nets just as they were opened set the scene. Another dire first half (like the previous two weekends). Quite a few screaming young Common Terns flying to and fro with their parents.

It turned out to be quite a good day for the Borin Warbler; we managed to get 4 new ones.

The full line up was as follows:
Blue Tit 2 (1)
Gt. Tit (2)
Blackcap 4
Garden Warbler 4
Les. Whitethroat 1
C. Whitethroat 1
Reed Warbler 2
Wren (1)
Blackbird 1 (3)
Robin (1)
Bullfinch 1
... making 24 birds of 11 species, a bit "off the pace" for the time of year.

There was a fly-through Kingfisher (well above the top shelf), a few Swallows, both Gt. Spot and Green Woodpeckers and a Common Sandpiper over the nearby old lake (Fingers) mid-morning.

A little disappointed that we didn't catch more Whitethroats, just this one mid-session.

The weather was 8 oktas decreasing to 7, breezy but moderating, from the NE going NW'ly, light drizzle initially after four damp days and nights. Will we do better next weekend?

And while we're at it, here is a report from Mark Boyd, who did The Thorns today:

"Hi Everyone

You missed a rare opportunity to say that you were at the least productive Waterloo Thorns CES visit ever yesterday. Conditions were fine, a little breezy towards the end of the morning, but nothing exceptional. There were birds around - a bouncing sparrowhawk, a flock of 40 mixed finches, etc - but not many in the nets. All nets were up by 5.30 am. By 07.40 I had caught two birds. I caught the rest at 10.45.
Here are the totals:

Robin 1 (0)
Bullfinch (1)
Treecreeper 1 (1)
Long-tailed tit (2)
Goldcrest (1)

That's right. Just seven birds in total, of which only two were new."

One bit of good news - we had a Blue Tit leave this same CES site near Sandy and travel to Wicken Fen, a distance of 42km. This is our 4th longest distance, the best being 88km for the species.