Sunday, 2 October 2022

Walsey Hills - 2nd October 2022

 A very unusual session supporting ERB at the ringing station. It had not been especially busy and we had no success attempting to capture any of the large flock of mainly juvenile House Martin that had been frequenting the area above the ringing site, and Snipe's Pool in particular over the past few days. We had a net up but it was just too windy and the birds consistently flew above and around our only hope of capturing them.

However, a Sparrowhawk had been around all morning, upsetting the birds around the station feeders and also disturbing a large flock of Curlew from nearby fields. The Sprawk had made an earlier unsuccessful attempt at the 100+ flock of House Martins. It seems likely that a second try resulted in birds dropping too close to the ground and in the urgency to evade the predator some birds became bogged down in a muddy area of the pool, still only half full following the summer drought. The birds were noticed by one of the bird watchers and a party went down to see whether any could be reached.

The muddy fringes of Snipes Pool.

Five birds were seen initially and a couple picked up from very close to the reeds. To reach the others took a little more ingenuity.

Lengthening the net's reach to fish out more of the stricken birds.

Gaffer tape to the rescue.

With some branches, a shrimping net, gaffer tape, a little ingenuity and a lot of determination it was possible to rescue six birds.

The unorthodox method used to retrieve the House Martins. 

All needed the copious mud to be rinsed away, but after drying off and spending a little time in a dry bird bag and warming up under a ringer's jacket all were processed and released successfully to rejoin the flock.

    One of six juvenile House Martins rescued, rinsed, dried, warmed up, 
processed and then released back to the flock.


Little Snoring Garden - September 2022

 An interesting month with 78 new birds and 37 retraps from the garden nets. As to be expected Blue Tit was the leading species with 26 new and 11 retraps. It was also noted that Coal Tit, Greenfinch and Goldfinch are now being captured more frequently than of late.

Three Blackcap were a welcome addition to the birds processed, especially ADV7892, 3M ringed on the 15th of the month. This bird was controlled just 13 days later 240km away at Seaford Head, East Sussex on 28th of the month.

One of 3 Blackcaps ringed in the garden this month.

Totals: 78 (37)

Robin - 0 (4)
Dunnock - 9 (9)
Blackbird - 2 (1)
Blackcap - 3
Blue Tit -26 (11)
Coal Tit - 8 (1)
Great Tit - 10 (11)
Chaffinch - 1
Greenfinch - 9
Goldfinch - 8
House Sparrow - 1
Woodpigeon - 1

Friday, 30 September 2022

Deepdale Farm - 29th September 2022

 We gave the farm a try hoping for some classic autumn species and did have some success in the form of a couple of Redwing, a Goldcrest and a single Meadow Pipit. Unfortunately, the session then became rather quiet before turning into what I'll describe as a BlueTitfest in that this species made up over half of the final count.

Age 3 Redwing with classic 'toothed' marking on greater coverts and tertial.

Age 4 Redwing with classic 'skim' marking on greater coverts and tertials.

Adult male Goldcrest

Total: 19 (2)

Meadow Pipit - 1
Redwing - 2
Wren - 1 (1)
Robin - 0 (1)
Dunnock - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 13

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Salthouse duck pond - 25th September 2022

 After a few hours seawatching in the bracing wind at Cley coastguards, watching the seabirds heading east or west along the coast ( Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Brent Goose, Gullemot, Razor-bill, Widgeon, Teal, Med Gull, Common Gull, Cormorant, Long-tailed Skua, Arctic Skua, Shelduck, Sanderling, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Hobby and Meadow Pipit covers most of what went by) we took some scraps along to the Salthouse duck pond to feed to the gulls, hoping to find any ringed birds returned for the winter.

It was great to see that J9Z5 was back. This Black-headed Gull was ringed in 2013 in Norway and has been recorded at the duck pond every winter, since arriving there as a second winter bird in 2014.


Long may he/she continue to return (and the plastic darvic continue to stand up to the rigours of gull life.)

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Sculthorpe Moor - 21st September 2022

 Only six species today. Other than residents there were only 4 Chiffchaff, one being a female that bred close to net one and was now finishing a full primary moult before completely losing her brood patch (BP5). Twenty five birds were processed in all.

The BTO has recently stated that only 13% of birds are reported with details of moult. Ringers often record the stage of wing moult but do not record other stages of moult. We are pleased to be able to say that we always record moult throughout the year. The aged 3 Blue Tit below was coded 'P' as post-juvenile moult is still in progress. Further to that, an alula score of A0 (both old) and 3ogc (retained old greater coverts)  was also recorded.

Juvenile Blue Tit

Long-tailed Tit, moult code 'E' ending, aged as a 2 (Year of hatching unknown)
 as all birds do a full primary moult 

Totals: 18 (7)

Wren - 3
Robin - 0 (1)
Chiffchaff - 3 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 3
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Blue Tit - 8 (4)

Friday, 16 September 2022

Cley seawatch - 15th September 2022

 Since it's difficult to get a decent picture I don't usually bother with a camera. Well, that was before spotting a Minke whale a few weeks back and not getting an image, so despite having my usual camera in for repair and using my far inferior back-up I did manage to get a few record shots today.

Arctic Skua chasing Sandwich Tern

Red-throated Diver. Most were heading East and much further out. 
Counted into double figures.

Extremely dark Long-tailed Skua. White on outer primaries and behaviour 
seem to point to that identification.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Snettisham high tide roost - 14th September 2022

 I haven't been to the high tide roost for quite a long time. When we arrived this morning it was quite a shock to see the carpark so full and as we arrived at the area where birds form swirling flocks over the water as available roosting and feeding places are squeezed to a minimum I felt quite disappointed. I guess it's the price to be paid for popularisation. 

People everywhere, few actual birders with scopes and binoculars but plenty of 'public' wanting to watch the spectacle. There were people watching from the very shoreline and some even wandered along the water's edge oblivious to the small birds being displaced by their thoughtless actions.

Thankfully most people were not interested in birding from the hides, and having escaped the crowds we were able to record some colour-ringed birds.

One of these birds was marked under Pete Potts' scheme. Can you see it?