Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Wraysbury GP - 28th August 2017

After some interesting species over the last few days while CL and myself ringed without WA & LON , our trainees were available to ring this morning, but the less commonly caught species were not. On a day that started with low hanging mist, sopping wet groundcover then ended with temperatures in the mid 20s we got 57 birds, mostly Blackcaps (23 new/2 retrapped) and Chiffchaff (18 new/3 retrapped).

The number of species was stretched to nine by the inclusion of a couple of each Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler.

Totals: 51 (6)

Wren - 1
Reed Warbler - 2
Garden Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 23 (2)
Chiffchaff - 18 (3)
Willow Warbler - 2
Goldcrest - 0 (1)
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 1

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 27th August 2017

After trying for Swallows on the previous evening with only three Chiffchaff to show for an evening spent there, we were back for 6am and set four nets in the reed bed and a total of five on the soil heaps, now mostly covered with straggly weeds.

The first bird out of the nets, in which we were hoping to catch Meadow Pipit, was in fact a Yellow Wagtail. We heard a few fly over and thought they may have roosted somewhere in the surrounding area.

 Yellow Wagtail age 3

We did catch some Meadow Pipits, but they moved off after a couple of hours, possibly as a result of the planes taking off directly over head every 90 seconds.

Meadow Pipit aged 3 with one newly emerged GC and retained juvenile coverts.

There were a few Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat. Also three Sedge Warbler, one with a fat score of 8. This bird weighed 17g, unprecedented at our inland site. We have only seen such heavy Sedge Warblers when ringing in Cornwall at Marizion. It looks as though the bird intends to make a lengthy flight for the next stage of its migration.

Sedge Warbler with complete coverage of fat, Fat 8, weight 17g

The only Reed Warbler caught wasn't actually in the reedbed but travelling with a mixed flock and the reedbed was really rather quiet compared to recent weeks.

Totals: 36 (3)

Yellow Wagtail - 1
Meadow Pipit - 5
Robin - 1 (1)
Cetti's Warbler - 0 (1)
Sedge Warbler - 3
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 5 (1)
Blackcap - 8
Chiffchaff - 8
Willow Warbler - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (1)

Wraysbury GP - 26th August 2017

It's ages since we've ringed with TOA and today he joined us to monitor the migrating Sylvia warblers, among other species, at Wraysbury. We met up at 6am and it didn't take long to get all the nets in place. It became clear that the main species would be Blackcap as Whitethroat numbers had dropped right down, in fact, there were only three caught, and all after 10.30am - so possibly new arrivals?  The CES team ( on their area with better cover) did rather better for Whitethroats than us, reflecting the birds' inability to feed in the open. Garden Warbler numbers are also on the decline as we would expect by this point in the year. There were 13 Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warbler.

We managed to catch 6 Goldfinch, although the Linnets stayed well away from our tape lures. There was also a 3JJ Bullfinch - nice to see, we don't get so many of these.

3JJ Bullfinch

Totals: 74 (7)

Robin - 1 (1)
Dunnock - 2 (3)
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 3
Garden Warbler - 5
Blackcap - 33 (3)
Chiffchaff - 13
Willow Warbler - 3
Goldcrest - 2
Blue Tit - 4
Goldfinch - 6
Bullfinch - 1

Chobham Common - 25th August 2017

There were plenty of reports of Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher on passage yesterday, so as conditions were favourable we tried our luck at Chobham Common.

We didn't get many birds but were very pleased to catch a first year male Redstart. The retained greater coverts were easily visible.

 3M Redstart

Other captures included three Coal Tits, all juvenile.

Juvenile Coal Tit

Also one of several Dartford Warbler that we saw in our immediate area.

Dartford Warbler juvenile

 The heather was stunning once the early morning mist had cleared.

There were quite a few butterflies on the site, with Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small White, Red Admiral, Grayling and Comma all seen.

Freshly emerged Comma

Totals: 9

Wren - 1
Redstart - 1
Dartford Warbler - 1
Willow Warbler - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Coal Tit - 3

Staines Reservoir - 23rd August 2017

It is not often I bird locally much these days, as it is often hard to get out and see too much exciting in this part of the world, and though once I was keen enough to be happy with the odd Sanderling or Turnstone locally on a reservoir, these days such meger pickings just does not do it for me anymore, alas. But, with the water level dropping at Staines, and now some mud/shingle bars showing a visit was worth while, and it proved just to show what a half decent bit of wader habitat can change the face of a local patch and make a visit more worth while. An early evening visit produced five Little Egrets, single Oystercatcher, 20 Ringed Plover, eight Dunlin, four Greenshank, two Knot, Sanderling, seven Black-tailed Godwit, two Common Sandpipers, three Turnstone, single Little Gull and Black Tern, eight Arctic Terns, and a single Yellow Wagtail, making the effort fairly worth while.

Wraysbury GP - 22nd August 2017

At a time of year when we would be expecting totals in excess of the hundred we managed a respectable 92 this morning. MRB joined us as a guest and Margaret happily scribed for a range of species that they rarely see at their MX ringing group sites.

Lesser Whitethroat age 3

From the first round MRB got a Lesser Whitethroat, a species that he has only ringed in Portugal. There were also a few Whitethroats, again a bird he rarely sees, and a species that was found breeding in good numbers on this part of the site before the new ground management. Fewer migrating sylvia warblers are now drawn to the site, devoid of cover as much of it is, but those that are here, are skirting the periphery, where we net.

Whitethroat age 4

There were decent numbers of Blackcap, including a control S530810. This bird was hatched this year, but it will be interesting to find out where it has come from.

We also caught a 3M Sparrowhawk. The bird had a deformed bill, shown below with an example of a healthy bird of the same age and sex, taken a couple of years ago.

3M Sparrowhawk

Gapping sides to beak with protruding flesh

A discussion on the UK ringers forum on social media has helped us  pin this down to a condition known by falconers as 'frounce', and caused by Trichomoniasis. It is well known in finches, although the manifestation is somewhat different in them, and is actually increasingly common in accipiters. The BTO haS been investigating a possible link between increased cases of Trichomoniasis and a reduction in Sparrowhawk numbers since 2005 when the condition first really started to take hold in the country. 

Normal beak

It is now a month since the site was mowed and the goats rue is back with avengence. We have heard that the strategy is supposed to rid the site of the horrible stuff, and if that is the intention, well, it's not working!

We rue the day anyone thought this was a good idea! Probably no chance of Meadow Pipit this autumn, and much fewer warblers working through the centre of the site.

Totals: 81 (11)

Sparrowhawk - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Robin - 4 (1)
Song Thrush - 0 (1)
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Whitethroat - 12 (3)
Garden Warbler - 3 
Blackcap - 32 (5)
Chiffchaff - 17 (1)
Willow Warbler - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 2
Goldfinch - 2
Linnet - 1

Friday, 25 August 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 21st August 2017

After a showery start, CL and DKL arrived on site at around 8.30am, erecting first the track net, then a double on the soil mound , initially for Swallows followed by the three nets closest to the lake in the reed bed. Most birds came from the soil heap, producing two Lesser Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler and another Whitethroat. We have struggled at Stanwell for Whitethroats over the last few years, and we do wonder whether drastic ground management has caused a lot of the birds to follow the River Colne and pass through Stanwell, rather than be drawn to what used to be the excellent autumn stopover site at Wraysbury.

We found that there were a few Meadow Pipits around and managed to catch five, with the added bonus of a Tree Pipit. The lures did attract some Swallows but the nets failed to catch.

The reed bed brought us a few Reed Warblers and a retrapped Cetti's Warbler.

We, with LON, returned in the evening, hoping that the Swallows would remain in the area and roost and after a couple of hours with very few Swallows in evidence, we noticed a small group low over our nets. We caught seven, one an adult female with the others all first years, but one was a control, S366137.

Tree Pipit age 3

Lesser Whitethroat age 3

Meadow Pipit age 3

Totals: 31 (3)

Swallow - 6 (1)
Tree Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 5
Wren -1
Robin - 1 (1)
Cetti's Warbler - 0 (1)
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 4
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Whitethroat - 1
Blackcap - 4
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldfinch - 1
Linnet - 2

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 20th August 2017

We headed to Stanwell Moor for a planned evening roost attempt with LON. The forecast whilst overcast, had no rain predicted, but not long after setting up, it started, initially fairly fine, but it was not long before it was obvious we could not continue, and an early finish was called for. The only birds processed during the short period were two from the reed-bed.

Total: 2

Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 1

Broadwater GP - 20th August 2017

The forecast had been for stronger winds that we had. If it had been more accurate, then we would probably have tried Wraysbury. We put our eight nets up and during that time formed an impression that there weren't too many birds around, and those we could see were tending to remain high in the trees.

Clearly there was no recent arrival, probably down to poor migrating weather in the remnants of Hurricane Gert. We managed just over 50 birds made up of 14 Blackcaps and a sizable complement of tits. Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler numbers were down with four Goldcrest and a few thushes in the mix. Unusually, we had a retrap of a recently ringed Garden Warbler. The bird had weighed 16g on August 12th and was only 14.6g by 10am over a week later so long term prospects are not looking good for that individual.

 There were counts of 173 Greylag and 11 Little Egret on Broadwater Lake.
It's a real shame that there isn't enough lakeside access for nets as we're unable to try
for Swallows, Swifts and Martins anywhere.

All nets are sited in buddleia scrub. This is a difficult site to work
as hammering pegs in is impossible. It used to be a cement works and 
much of the ground surface has a layer of concrete under the moss.

Totals: 44 (7)

Blackbird - 3
Songthrush - 2
Wren - 0 (1)
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 1 (1)
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 14
Garden Warbler - 1 (1)
Chiffchaff - 8 (2)
Willow Warbler - 2
Goldcrest - 4
Blue Tit - 7 (1)
Great Tit - 0 (1)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Truss's Island, Staines - 18th August 2017

On a very windy day with mist netting out of the question, we went first to Wraysbury to maintain some of the rides, ready for next week (if the forecast for Monday can be believed), then went on to Truss,s Island to record some darvics and metal rings.

White V3J was a very aggressive individual with primary
 and tail feathers in dire need of replacement. This bird 
having been ringed by EGI Oxford.

All the other Mute Swans, 22 had orange darvic rings fitted under MR's scheme with an additional five metal ring numbers taken.

The Egyptian Geese had two fairly well grown youngsters, neither adults or juveniles carried rings.

 Photographic evidence for W40776 and W39410.

Broadwater GP - 16th August 2017

Broadwater is at its best towards the late summer and today we managed 101 birds of 13 species, and that was without any Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Wrens or Dunnocks.

Blackcap 3O with unusual dark brown showing in the cap. 
This bird remained unsexed although most likely a female.

Another Blackcap with distinct bars within greater coverts and secondaries.

Most numerous were Chiffchaff 18 new and two retrapped and Blackcaps with 19. Numbers of Great Tit and Blue Tit weren't far behind that with some nice recapture data collected. Blue Tits Y823943 and K052441 were both ringed in 2015, their hatching year and not seen again until today. K052441 was ringed as a 3J on 12th July, whereas Y823943, aged 3, was ringed on the 2nd December of that year.

Adult Chiffchaff CNP900 is a bird that was first captured, and ringed on the 6th August 2015 while still a 3J.

This Reed Warbler was in no hurry to be on its way.

Reed Warblers continue to pass through, as do Willow Warblers.

3JJ Cetti's Warbler

Great Spotted Woodpecker, aged 3

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Cetti's Warbler, all juveniles were species that are caught on site much less frequently than our other captures.

Thanks to MRB and Margaret for a very pleasant morning, rounded off nicely with lunch in the Bear and the Barge.

Totals: 89 (12)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Robin - 3 (2)
Reed Warbler - 3 (1)
Blackcap - 19
Garden Warbler - 4
Chiffchaff - 18 (2)
Willow Warbler - 8
Goldcrest - 6
Long-tailed Tit - 2
Blue Tit - 11 (4)
Great Tit - 12 (3)
Treecreeper - 1

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 14th August 2017

It was a less than promising evening as we met LON at the gate, with departing aircraft flying, low, right over the site. We had a few Swallows and House Martins overhead up on the soil heaps so tried a net there, but caught none. The track net brought a few Whitethroat with some of them now carrying  fat scoring up to 3.

The reed bed was quiet, and the only birds from there as we waited for dusk were a Reed Warbler and recaptured Cetti's Warbler Z761916. The male was ringed on 28th December 2015 as a 3M, was recaptured the following January and this record is the third successive year it has been caught here.

 Z761916, adult male Cetti's Warbler 
in primary moult.

There was no obvious pre-roost activity over the lake so it came as some surprise to find two juvenile Swallows in the nets as we went to take down.

Totals: 12 (1)

Swallow - 2
Robin - 0 (1)
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 6
Chiffchaff - 1
Greenfinch - 1

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Wraysbury GP - 13th August 2017

An exceptional session with twenty species today. The total, that just crept into three figures, included singles of Lesser Whitethroat, Kingfisher, Woodpigeon, Starling, Goldcrest, Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler. Leading species was Blackcap 30 new, 20 retraps and a UK control, while numbers of Whitethroat and Garden Warbler were down in comparison to recent days.

Juvenile Lesser Whitethroat

 Controlled 4M Blackcap S323303

 Woodpigeon, aged 5

3M Kingfisher

Totals:  84 (18)

Woodpigeon - 1
Kingfisher - 1
Wren - 1
Dunnock - 2 (1)
Robin - 1 (2)
Blackbird - 1 (1)
Song Thrush - 2 (2)
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 3
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 16 (7)
Garden Warbler - 8 
Blackcap - 30 (3)
Chiffchaff - 8 (2)
Willow Warbler - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 1
Starling - 1
Linnet - 2 

Broadwater GP - 12th August 2017

We had a good morning at Broadwater. The numbers weren't particularly high but a juvenile Kingfisher was the first caught on site.

3F Kingfisher

The Willow Warblers continue to pass through.

Willow Warbler 3O

 Variation between two juvenile Willow Warblers

Added to that there was a smattering of Sylvia warblers, a couple of Reed Warblers, a Treecreeper and a nice retrap, a rather disheveled male Goldcrest, that had been ringed as a juvenile in 2015.

DPH 887, ringed on 30/09/2015 when a 3M

The only negative thing was that we were unable to ring an adult Chaffinch due to a foot and leg infection of Fringilla papillomavirus. So many Chaffinches in our area have this, perhaps due to the number that feed in gardens with an increased risk of cross infection from already infected birds.

Chaffinch with Fringilla Papillomavirus

Totals: 35 (1)

Kingfisher - 1
Robin - 1
Reed Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 10
Garden Warbler - 2
Chiffchaff - 7
Willow Warbler - 6
Goldcrest - 1 (1)
Blue Tit - 3
Great Tit - 1
Treecreeper - 1

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Wraysbury GP - 11th August 2017

A misty start to another morning netting around the perphery of the site. There is still no sign of the bird numbers increasing to three figures, as in previous years, although the numbers of walkers and dogs being walked as we expected, is increasing now that the area is so open.

Total: 42 (4)

Wren - 2
Dunnock - 4
Robin - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 7 (3)
Garden Warbler - 4
Blackcap - 12 (1)
Chiffchaff - 6
Willow Warbler - 2
Goldcrest - 2
Great Tit - 1

and just for the record........
Walkers - 10
Dogs - 7

Stanwell Moor GP - 7th August 2017

The morning at Stanwell was extremely quiet in one sense, while this actually was a probable effect of the lack of audible quiet. We are used to being under the flight path from Heathrow, and it is particularly noisy when planes take off in our direction - as they were, with a plane departing every 90 seconds. Added to this the gravel company are pressing ahead with returning the area immediately next to where we ring to a levelled, grassed area. At present there are three diggers, perched on the spoil heaps some 20 feet high, gradually shifting the concrete and metal filled soil towards a crusher in a scene reminiscent of three mechanical sauropods, bending their necks to feed. They were fascinating to watch, and there was plenty of time for that as we only got twelve birds.

Sedge Warbler Age 3

Juvenile Goldfinch 3JP

Juvenile Linnet

 There was also another capture from the net, as shown below.

Poplar Hawk moth

Totals: 11 (1)

Dunnock - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 3
Whitethroat - 4 (1)
Goldfinch - 1
Linnet - 1