Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Broadwater GP - 29th October 2019

We did a session with MRB and Margaret, not only to monitor the birds, but also to see the changes that have occurred on site. It wasn't clear whether this had to do with preparations for the area to be developed into an actual reserve, or further gravel extraction, or if the fishing club had been at work (although not likely due to the nature of what was done) or if it was due to some filming that had happened on site recently.

Having put nets up ( three rides had been demolished so not the easiest thing), we met the man who lives right by the entrance and found out that the filming had been for a DC Marvel film and they had been on site for two weeks. That explained the clearance of areas, to accommodate their large vehicles, and included a new access route to the lake - as there had been pontoons used for filming. Apparently, Angelina Jolie has been to the ringing site! On the positive side, this is hopefully a 'one off' and if we clear new rides, we'll be able to continue ringing here. The management has apparently been outsourced, explaining why we can get no response from the old contact.

Later we met the fishing club site manager - apparently he stopped them from removing Mike's long run, had he not, we would have lost a further three rides.

On now to the birds, we set up by the cars as the usual stop is now under all the spoil that had been bulldozed from the access track. We have also lost access to the feed bins! We had seven nets up and caught well all morning. 176 is an impressive tally for us, here, in October but it was definitely a case of too many tits - even 'though one was a control. It is possible that AYD1414, an age 3 Blue Tit has come from Hilfield as they use that alpha prefix, but we are not sure at present whether it is the correct numerical sequence. There were a few other species, quite a lot of Goldcrest and also Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Jay, Treecreeper, Chaffinch and Coal Tit.

One of 39 new Goldcrest

Coal Tit



Total: 159 (17)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Redwing - 2
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 1
Chiffchaff - 4
Goldcrest - 39
Long-tailed Tit - 22
Great Tit - 10 (2)
Coal Tit - 0 (1)
Blue Tit - 76 (12)
Jay - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Treecreeper - 1 (1)

The ride for winter finches laid bare

The Redwing 18m no longer has cover around it 
and all the cleared vegetation no clogs the Cheeky 12m

A new if rather wide space by the lake.

Cley, Norfolk - 27th October 2019

A really lovely day! We were in Cley for the Wader Quest AGM, Chris being one of the trustees. We stopped off at North Point Wells on route and at Cley made a compromise and spent the morning on the reserve before attending the meeting and afternoon presentations. At the hides there were plenty of Black-tailed Godwits and Black-headed Gull with Teal, Gadwall, Shelduck amongst others, but nothing to out of the ordinary, though during high tide the Gannets on the sea were going by so close to the single beach almost looked as if over the reserve itself.

There were some good presentations at the Wader Quest meeting, which hopefully more may come to next year, though for a first meeting this years turnout was good. Presentation on the Wash Wader Ringing Group Work and from Graham Appleton around his experiances and Wader Tales blog.

Pinkfeet over North Point, Wells

We ended the day at Cley beach.

Black-headed Gull

Golden Plover and Brent Geese

Welney WWT - 26th October 2019

Travelling up to Norfolk for the weekend on a wet and windy day, we didn't like the idea of a good soaking so made a detour to Welney where we could watch from inside the warm and dry hide.

Directly in front of the hide, a family of six Whoopers were constantly feeding. The cob was defending the immediate area quite vigorously and even when three of the birds hauled out, and he drifted away to preen, two cygnets continued to see off other birds as they fed. It seemed likely had arrived very recently.The male bird carried a yellow darvic.

Whooper family

LHI, the family's cob, has been visiting Welney for the last 10 years

Whooper swans gathered together as families, were in pairs or singly, feeding on grain near the bank, some birds agitated the mud with their feed to bring grain up to the surface, swimming, loafing or eating potatoes from the heaps provided to further supplement feeding.


ZAA, all white plumage and bill not yet yellow indicates a 2nd year bird

XKD carries a 3 digit orange darvic

Four character orange darvics like 4BLM  are part of Mike Reed's
project on Mute Swan's in the South east/east of the UK

As well as the swans, there was a supporting cast of many geese, ducks and Black-tailed Godwits.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Staines Moor - 23rd October 2019

On a rare occasion when the wind amounted to practically nothing, we took the chance to work the very open site of Staines Moor. We have no vehicle access so limited our efforts to two singles and a 'V' formation for Meadow Pipits, a manageable amount of kit that we could carry.

We were hoping that we may catch one of the recently arrived Water Pipits, but that was not to be. Our total of 19 Meadow Pipits was a respectable number, a couple of Blue Tits flew in at random, a single Goldfinch was attracted to the audio-lure and the Goldcrest was least expected of all.

Meadow Pipit age 3

Total: 23

Meadow Pipit - 19
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Goldfinch - 1

Stanwell Moor GP - 22nd October 2019

We kept the nets confined to the spoil heaps with two in the reed-bed. The wind was very low and we hoped to get a few Meadow Pipit, but few came in and only one was captured.

Throughout the morning there were hundreds of Wood Pigeon passing over head with some flocks of thrushes and a few Redwing were tempted down into the nets in the track ride.

The total was further increased by Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and some Long-tailed Tits that found the track nets as they worked their way along the vegetated banks of the spoil heaps. Goldcrest LJK045, a 3M, had only been ringed two days before so we anticipate that it was ringed at Queen Mary reservoir on Sunday, but we await confirmation.

Juvenile Goldcrest

Cetti's Warbler

Total: 46 (3)

Meadow Pipit - 1
Blackbird - 1
Redwing - 3
Robin - 3 (2)
Wren - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 5
Goldcrest - 10  (1 control)
Long-tailed Tit - 9
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 4
Chaffinch - 1
Goldfinch - 3
Linnet - 2

Monday, 21 October 2019

Wraysbury GP - 20th October 2019

We haven't visited this site since the end of August and didn't expect a great deal at this time of year. There are not many thrushes on site yet and Goldcrest and tits are likely to make up the bulk of the catch. We erected seven nets and were surprised to take a most respectable first round including three Redwing, a Reed Bunting and a number of Goldcrest. There were more birds over the next two rounds, but it went very quiet after that.

Female Reed Bunting age 3

Cetti's Warbler 3F
Total: 51 (7)

Blackbird - 2
Redwing - 3
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 1 (1)
Dunnock - 2
Wren - 4
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - 15
Long-tailed Tit - 5 (2)
Blue Tit - 13 (4)
Great Tit - 2
Reed Bunting - 1

We are seeing Roe Deer increasingly often at this site

Black Park Country Park and Mute swans at various locations - 17th October 2019

On the first session of the autumn here, we hoped to target mainly Redwing and Redpolls. There was a large flock of Redwing, but they remained at the tops of the tall trees although we did manage to catch one of them. The Redpoll tape played to itself as there was only a couple of birds present and they didn't respond. We did get some Goldcrest, as anticipated. However, the leading species of the morning was Blue Tit. There were several groups through the site and we had no same day retraps. This appears to reflect reports that Blue Tits have had a good breeding year and numbers are up on what we would usually expect.

A couple of Crossbill flew over late morning.

Total: 50

Robin - 4
Wren - 4
Dunnock - 1
Redwing - 1
Goldcrest - 15
Blue Tit - 22
Coal Tit - 1
Great Tit - 2

We saw the ranger and he told us that a young swan with a darvic had been collected by a swan rescue organisation on the 16th after a 'crash landing' on a grassy area. He didn't know the ring code and we don't expect the organisation to report it as in our experience, the tend not to.

We then went and checked the Langley Park lake, finding an adult and two juvenile swans. They were not members of the family that had spent the summer there. The adult and one juvenile were not ringed. When we captured the previously ringed juvenile and added 4DHM darvic, the metal ring, W47488, was not one of ours. Having reported the ring, we now know that the cygnet was ringed on 17th July at Wargrave, near Henley.

We then tried for the four cygnets on Harmondsworth lake that, capturing just one to fit darvic 4DHQ and metal ring W41993. These cygnets have yet to start any post juvenile moult and appear to be managing alone, without the presence of adult swans.

Finally, we spent a little time at the River Thames. Here there were very few birds with darvics, just three issued by the Edward Gray Institute and one from Mike Reed's scheme. We also recorded another eleven metal ring numbers. There is an increasing number of Black-headed gulls on the river but none checked carried any form of ringed identification.