Saturday, 22 October 2016

Chobham Common - 22nd October 2016

An excellent morning! The wind was low and we went to Chobham Common intending to try for Redwing. We only put up six nets as it was just Chris and myself in our area, (it's a shame you couldn't make it guys (you know who you are) and after taking the first round we had a call from the second team who had caught a lot of birds early on - but we had no-one to send as we were pretty busy ourselves.

 Re-trap adult Meadow Pipit Z304141, intially ringed at
Chobham Common in Oct 2014 as a 3

 Controlled 4M Lesser Redpoll Z813214

 Controlled 4M Lesser Redpoll S066482

One of 31 juvenile Redwings caught. There were also 5 adults.

The Redwing tape worked well, as did that for Lesser Redpoll. We also had a single net left over that we set on the dried lake bed and played for Meadow Pipit. We were really pleased to get two controls, two 4Ms Lesser Redpolls Z813214 and S066482, and one re-trap adult Meadow Pipit Z304141 that was ringed at Chobham Common on 25/10/2014 as a 3.

The species number was limited but it was a most worthwhile session. The other team did 200+ birds, including a Yellow-browed Warbler!

Total:117 (5)

Meadow Pipit - 15 (1)
Robin - 1
Redwing - 36
Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Goldfinch - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 57 (3)
Reed Bunting - 1

Friday, 21 October 2016

Wraysbury C4 - 21st October 2016

We spent the morning on C4 catching just 26 birds. It was much quieter than last weekend, mainly as the Goldcrest and Chiffchaffs were down in numbers. We did notice a few small flocks of Redwing overhead, mostly heading off to the far end of the pony field, so tried the Redwing lure (we have tried the new Spanish recording but still prefer the Latvian one as it works as well if not better and doesn't give us headaches!)

 Dunnock age 3

Redwing aged 4

We were also joined briefly by a Common Buzzard that alighted on a nearby tree. The tree was no more than 10 feet high, and once the bird noticed us it took off quite swiftly.

Total: 22 (4)

Wren - 1
Dunnock - 2 (1)
Robin - 2
Redwing - 4
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - 8 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (1)
Blue Tit - 1 (1) 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Black Park CP - 20th October 2016

It's a long while since we visited this site. The area where we used to ring had many of the mature trees and bushes removed as part of the heathland renewal project, added to this Burnham Beeches was made a dog free zone and this had impacted on Black Park with an increase in the number of dogs being walked at the site, often by paid dog walkers who may have as many as eight dogs and often dogs are not kept on the lead.

The site is very important for small finches and Goldcrest in the winter so we thought we'd go to an area where the gorse was taken down to ground level along several corridors. On arrival we found that the regrowth was rather more substantial than expected, and from the numerous trackways where people were clearly now walking, this was no longer an ideal place to set nets.

We moved on to the original site where several large flocks of Redpoll were seen overhead. As we checked out the expanding bramble bushes, we noticed that a few runs were still clear enough, although the vegetation that served to screen the nets was still rather sparse in some places. Then, we both heard a Yellow-browed Warbler - and we decided to give it a go anyway.

We set four singles, an 18m along the stream, 9m and 12m nets through the regenerating vegetation and a 12m at the end of the little stand of birch trees that were left at our request.

We put Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest and Redpoll audio-lures on, then didn't have to wait long. As has happened before the Goldcrest responded well. The Redpolls were less obliging, being drawn to the area but remaining high up. There were no Long-tailed Tits caught in this area, or anything that might have accompanied them. We had missed our chance of the YBW and had not even seen it!

 3F Goldcrest

Our first Lesser Redpoll of the season

By 10.30am the captures were slowing so we decided to return to the area of extensive gorse to see just how much disturbance from dog walkers there actually was. We put up a couple of single nets that we could monitor very closely and found that no one passed through in the space of an hour. There was some traffic on the main path, mainly joggers, but this had no effect on our monitoring area. Perhaps it may be possible to work this on weekdays in the colder months.

We caught a few more Goldcrests and some Long-tailed Tits including a recaptured bird, DRE638, ringed on 16th September 2012. There was some interest from a flock of Siskin but, like the Redpoll, none came low enough to fly into the net.


Other sighting included Red Kite (2), Redpoll (100+), Redwing (15), Siskin (12). Crossbill (perhaps two birds) were also heard in each of the locations.

Total: 46 (1)

Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 38
Long-tailed Tit - 5 (1)
Blue Tit - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Broadwater GP - 19th October 2016

It was rather windier today than forecast, but not a problem due to the sheltered nature of this site. We just put five nets up, not wanting to finish too late when Chris needed to work in the afternoon. One of the nets was the first of a new shipment and we were really quite pleased with the final product. It was worth working with the supplier to raise the standard, although we still have a couple of improvements that could be made, but at £35.00 for an 18 metre net you couldn't ask for much more.

Chris also did yet more maintenance as, again, some fixed ties had been removed during our recent absence.

 3F Cetti's Warbler

Redwing, aged 3

It was quiet early on, but we did get a second Cetti's Warbler for the year, then Redwings were drawn to the tape lure (Latvian recording) later in the morning. There were rather a lot of small birds, Long-tailed Tit being most numerous, and about a quarter came out of the new net!

Amongst the Chiffchaffs were birds carrying fat scores of three or four, presumably still moving south for the winter, but two had no fat at all. Chiffchaffs have regularly overwintered at this site for a few years now and the birds can usually be see along the banks of the river at the opposite end of the lake.

Total:   28 (4)

Dunnock - 1
Redwing - 2
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 7
Goldcrest - 6 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 11 (3)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Stanwell Moor GP - 17th October 2016

We wanted a morning out after a busy weekend that included two long car journeys to and from Hull. We didnt want an early start, but were up at 7.00am, only to find that a heavy shower was passing through. Once it had cleared we drove to Stanwell and quickly put up four nets between the river and lake.
It is unclear whether it was purely down to the wind, or due to low flying aircraft taking off, every 90 seconds, directly above us, but we only got ten birds - mostly Long-tailed Tits.

 Long-tailed Tit

Total: 9 (1)

Wren - 1
Robin - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 5 (1)

Monday, 17 October 2016

Siberian Accentor - 16th October 2016

We rarely twitch these days, the key word being rarely! We drove up Saturday night and stayed in the cheapest room we could find on the east side of Hull. Having heard of the 900+ people that descended on the back garden in Easington on Friday, we were up and out by 6.30am. There was a bit of a drive but we were soon there and parked in the allotted field, walked through the high street and up a road closed by the Police - for the twitch.

The Siberian Accentor was very obliging and we'd had good views and were on our way inside of an hour.

Siberian Accentor record shot

Then, we drove to Kilnsea, visited the ringing station, meeting BR from Aus and AW, and got onto a Dusky Warbler outside the ringing shed, one of several in the area. We had a chat with people we usually only converse with on social media then made our way to the Crown and Anchor, failing to see the Ring Ouzel chucking from the roadside hedgerow. There was no sign of the birds alleged to be at the pub car park, so walked along the canal path where we had good views of the Radde's Warbler at the north end.

View from the canal path, Kilnsea

Continuing on, it started to rain, but that didn't stop us finding the somewhat bedraggled Shorelark on the beach.

A quick stop off at the sea view cafe turned into a longer stay as heavy rain sent birds and birders alike into cover, with more chatting in person, rather than facebook, as the ringers had also given up! Then, it was back to the car via the Crown and Anchor where the Pallas's Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler were eventually seen, also a Firecrest from the grounds of the chapel.

We decided not to try for the Olive-backed Pipit at the tip or Red-flanked Bluetail at Donna Nook, heading instead, via some Tundra Bean Geese outside Kilnsea, for the Western (Purple) Swamp Hen at Alkborough Flats. This turned out to be the most elusive of all the birds - but we persevered as it was a new UK bird, and eventually saw it!

Other observations at Alkborough included Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Little Egret, Cetti's Warbler, Bearded Tit, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and the usual duck species.

It was a mammoth rarity birding day for us, compared to what we normally do these days in the UK, with a lifer and additional UK tick as well as some really nice other species that we've not seen for a while.

Wraysbury GP C4 - 15th October 2016

Wraysbury was covered both on C4 and C6 today. Our team CL, DKL & OCM took the more sheltered C4, but not having ringed there since last winter, found that some rides we intended to use had become overgrown, as were the access paths. This caused a delay in getting started and the last of the 10 nets was not up until it was completely light, by which time we had seen many Blackbirds and thrushes leave the area. We took the first round straight away and it was clear that there were quite a lot of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests on site. We also had the first Redwing of the autumn.

The first Wraysbury Redwing of the 16/17 winter

We started ringing and after the first twenty or so birds, I (DKL) went round to monitor the situation and clear the nets again. There were a few more crests, but nothing too much so the morning continued at a steadier pace.

The team on C6 processed 50 or so birds including a rather late Willow Warbler.  So, no more hopes of a YBW from the recent influx. We've clearly missed the boat on that score.

C4 Total: 75 (7)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Wren - 3
Dunnock - 3
Robin - 5 (1)
Song Thrush - 2
Redwing - 1
Blackcap - 5
Chiffchaff - 18 (1)
Goldcrest - 22
Long-tailed Tit - 9 (5)
Blue Tit - 6