Sunday 18 November 2012

Stanwell Moor - 18 November 2012

Wind speeds were predicted to be no more than three miles an hour - perfect for Meadow Pipits. We didn't arrive too early since they tend to arrive a little later in the morning. We put up two boxes with a further net to cover the gap between the two. We also erected three nets on the access track.
It was another slow day that just made it into double figures, a highlight being Kestrel and the low point - having an audio box pilferred by the terriers and lurchers brigade.

Totals - 15

Kestrel - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1
Wren - 1
Robin - 4
Dunnock - 1
Blackbird - 2
Goldcrest - 3
Goldfinch - 2

Black Park Country Park - 16 November 2012

We drove to the heathland area, where we ring, through an area being used by Pinewood Studios. There was a great deal of artificial lighting, many people standing around in fluorescent jackets and notices to warn of the likelihood of gunfire that was purely artificial.

We were concerned that the activity may affect our ringing and as it turned out we were right. We saw a few small flocks of Siskin but Crossbill were heard only once and Redpoll were even less in evidence. It seemed fairly quiet ( in bird terms) all morning and this was not helped when there was filming involving gunfire within earshot.

Although the birds were few and far between it was nice to see Y334679, a bird that had been ringed on 29th January and erroneously recorded as being female at that time. He is now sporting plumage that most definitely shows him to be male, and he has taken up with a young female!

Totals: 10 (1)

Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest - 6
Blue Tit - 1
Long-tailed Tit -1
Lesser Redpoll - 1(1) 

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Beaconsfield Motorway Services – 13 November 2012

Following our reconnaissance a few weeks ago and the granting of appropriate permission from the company, the team set three 60ft nets between the coach and lorry park.
As expected birds assembled on the services roof and gradually increased in number as groups  ranging from twos and threes to fifteen or so flew in from the surrounding area.

The birds didn’t leave the pre-roost until after 4pm by which time the light was failing fast, however contrary  to the indications of our earlier observations they ignored the coach park and moved to the parking area to the right of the station. They could be seen fluttering under the street lighting and moving into the small trees but few birds chose the holm oaks where we had seen them roost before and as a result only one bird was caught by our team of 6. We will make another reccie soon and take it from there. 

Totals: 1
Pied Wagtail - 1

Sunday 11 November 2012

Stanwell Moor - 11 November 2012

It had been over a month since we ringed at Stanwell, so when the weather forecast indicated no rain and little wind, there could be no other choice. We decided to try for Pipits and knowing that they are never much in evidence, at Stanwell, until later in the morning, we agreed on a late start. We put up two boxes for Pipits, one on the wet grassy area near the pool and another on the soil area that had become extremely claggy following a lot of rain on the previous day. There was also a double by the pool and a single net by the track.

On finishing setting up the nets we returned to the car to find the rear nearside tyre flat. Despite the setback, we decided to go on the first full round of the day. It semed pretty unpromising as there was still no sign of any Snipe and only one or two Meadow Pipits about. As we approached the box combination on the grassy area, two Water Pipits were walking about between the nets. As we approached one flew above the net but the other went into the second panel. This was our star bird and the second to be captured at Stanwell. The first was in 2010.


Water Pipit age 3

It was a day that was definitely quality over quantity with only nine other birds caught. Six were Meadow Pipit, one being a retrap from March 18th.

Totals: 9 (1)
Meadow Pipit - 5 (1)
Water Pipit - 1
Wren - 1
Robin - 2

Sunday 4 November 2012

North Norfolk – 26 October to 2 November 2012

Friday 26 October

We had arranged to spend our first day ringing at the NOA Holme. There had been a major fall, earlier in the week, of Blackbirds and Robins, and as we drove towards the reserve birds were still present all around.

In all, six ringers were available to process the birds. Leading species of the 133 new birds was Robin (44) with Brambling (3). A Woodcock that was flushed from behind the ringing hut into a nearby net. 

 Brambling (3M)

 Bearded Tit


Saturday 27 October

The wind really got up over night and was forecast to be extremely strong all day. Chris did a quick recee and found a flock of  seven Waxwing lounging at the bottom of the garden. With the wind so strong, we went birding and started at Holme reserve where we saw a Black Redstart in the car park. We watched the sea for a while, seeing Gannets, Kittiwakes, Great, Arctic and Pomerine Skuas . We missed the Little Auk and I still failed to see one of the Ring Ouzels, but I did find a Firecrest in the pines behind the NWT. 

 The pines at Holme Observatory

We visited Burnham Overy later that day and in between the hail showers saw a Great Skua above the coastal path and the Little Bunting on the track by the sluice gate. On the walk back to the car we watched Fieldfare and Redwings in the field and hedgerow and were pleased to see a male Ring Ouzel fly to and then emerge from the bushes showing a clear gourgette. On returning to Beach Cottage we managed to get a couple of nets up in the blow. We caught and quickly extracted and processed a few birds but sadly none of the Waxwings that had now increased to 25 in number, but we did enjoy trying to get a 30 net out of the rose hip bush that the wind blow it into as set it up, just to close - three times! The Waxwings were coming down to the Rose hips and later one did almost make it into the net once we had got it up.

Beach Cottage

Over the next few days we continued to ring for a couple of hours every morning and on most evenings. We noted that the number of Blackbirds and Robins quickly dropped off but luckily there were plenty of other birds around to keep us occupied.

Sunday 28 October

We visited Titchwell on the 28th. We saw species that included Little Egret, Brent Geese, Pintail, Egyptian Goose, Avocet, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Red-crested Pochard, Bearded Tit, Rock Pipit, Red Breasted Merganser, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Redshank and 1st winter Glaucus Gull. We also heard Cetti's Warbler and Chris glimpsed a distant flock of what could only have been Snow Bunting.

 Titchwell fresh marsh

 Titchwell brackish marsh

While passing through Burnham Norton we noted two Swallows (that could be our latest date for the year) flying along the coast road. We then went to Lady Anne's Drive and looked for that Pallas' Warbler that we did manage to see and the Yellow-browed Warbler that we didn't.

Monday 29 October 

We headed off towards Salthouse on the next day, and hoped to get closer views of Snow Bunting.

 Flooded fields adjacent to the shingle bank

 Just one of the circa 50 Snow Buntings at Salthouse

Moving on to Cley we were treated to large flocks of Golden Plover along with yet more geese, ducks and waders, including a White-rumped Sandpiper. Chris stood out in the rain at the beach car park and saw a Barn Owl before setting off back to Beach Cottage.

Tuesday 30 October  

The 30th was quite blustery so we went back to Holkham Meals. The Yellow-browed remained elusive but the Pallas' showed even better again.

Holkham Meals 

 Holkham Dunes

We glimpsed a Barn Owl in fields near Burnham Overy mill as we returned to the cottage for some late afternoon ringing.

Wednesday 31 October  

Another visit to Titchwell on the 31st revealled some different species on the sea with Long-tailed duck (4) and Eider (6) being seen along with Red-breasted Merganser and Common Scoter. This time Knot, Sandering were seen on the beach and Brambling were using the feeding station.

 Viewing the sea and beach

Black-tailed Godwit at Titchwell

The day was rounded off by seeing a Tawny Owl on the road into Holme after eating out.

Thursday 1 November  

The 1st was spent around the Holme area with sea and general bird watching on the agenda we saw Guillimot, Red Throated Diver, Shag, Gannet, Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Brent Goose, Knot, Turnstone, Red-breasted Merganser and Waxwing (now around 30 birds).

Ringing at Beach Cottage, Holme. Here are some images of the ringing captures.

 Mistle Thrush

 Green Woodpecker

 Robin - 1000+ ringed at NOA in previous week. Yearly total for 2011 was 138.

 Male Blackbirds for comparison

Coal Tit


Totals: 119

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Green Woodpecker - 1
Wren - 2
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 9
Blackbird - 80
Goldcrest -7
Blue Tit -9
Great Tit - 4
Coal Tit - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Greenfinch - 3