Monday 31 October 2016

Stanwell Moor GP - 30th October 2016

There was virtually no wind this morning, but it was misty and cold. We set up in the reedbed, by the river and on the mound in hope of getting some Meadow Pipits.

We decided to switch from 18m to 12m nets to form the open ended box, thinking that with less space, they may not fly over the nets so easily. Once it was complete, with two 18m nets behind to try for the birds that inevitably wander around outside the box, we went off to check other nets.


There were very few birds in evidence and none of the nets caught particularly well. We did, however, do okay for Chiffchaff, a species that overwinters at this site, and catch four of the few Meadow Pipits that were seen, so perhaps the reduced size mipit box will work well - when there are more Meadow Pipits around to catch.

 Meadow Pipit nets

Meadow Pipit aged 3
Total: 20 (2)

Meadow Pipit - 4
Robin - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 9 (2)
Goldcrest - 5

Sunday 30 October 2016

Chobham Common - 29th October 2016

We returned to the site of our busy session on the 22nd, accompanied by WA and LON, hoping for a repeat of the high numbers of Lesser Redpoll and Redwing. We erected a total of eight nets in the misty conditions, noting that there were far fewer calls of Redwing overhead. There was no sign of the large flocks, of the previous week, all day.

As the morning progressed we rarely saw flocks of Redpoll until a flock of 100+ or so came across from the railway line. They would not be tempted down to the nets, so our captures failed to reach anywhere close to the three figure mark.

We still managed a very respectable 75 birds with rather more diversity on the record sheet this time providing plenty of learning opportunities for the trainees who both gained experience of some new species. LON had a rather surreal session, ringing no less than six species for the first time. Her new species on the day were Redwing, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Coal Tit, Meadow Pipit and Jay.

The second of two Jays.

His'n'Hers Jays

3M Coal Tit

Lesser Redpoll

Total: 72 (3)
Meadow Pipit - 16  (2)
Redwing - 9
Wren - 6
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 1
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 12
Long-tailed Tit -  1 (1)
Coal Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 6
Lesser Redpoll - 11
Jay - 2
Reed Bunting - 3

Friday 28 October 2016

Wraysbury GP - 28th October 2016

A second session with very little caught and not much more seen or heard. After 5 hours with seven nets up we only managed nine birds, and that was with sound recordings to help things along.
Two female Blackcaps were quite interesting, an adult building its fat score (3) and a juvenile that had no fat (0).

Song Thrush aged 3

Total: 9

Redwing - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 2
Blackcap - 2
Goldcrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1

Chobham Common - 27th October 2016

Following an excellent catch total last weekend, we returned for a midweek visit with WA and SM. Knowing how many birds had been caught a few days earlier, we were quite conservative and erected just 5 single nets in the cool and misty morning.

It was a slow start with little moving around, although there were some Redwings overhead and Goldcrests began to come to the net over the heather. The first couple of rounds gave us a few Lesser Redpoll, some Reed Buntings, two Redwings and a Dartford Warbler.

The mist cleared just before midday and as the temperature rose a large group of Lesser Redpoll came in to two nets.

 3M Dartford Warbler

 3M Stonechat

 Juvenile Reed Buntings female and two males


Total: 128  (4)

Redwing - 2
Robin - 1
Stonechat - 1
Dartford Warbler - 1
Goldcrest - 24 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 8
Blue Tit - 1 (1)
Goldfinch - 1
Lesser Redpoll -  85 (2)
Reed Bunting - 4

Thursday 27 October 2016

Black Park Country Park - 26th October 2016

A second try for Redpolls at Black Park proved very frustrating. They were attracted to the audio-lure but just sat high up, usually feeding, above the tape. None were caught. We had some very limited success with Redwing and, once again, Goldcrest could be relied upon to make up the bulk of the catch. There were quite a few adults too.

Ringing team CL, DKL, MRB and Margaret.

Adult and juvenile tail feathers - Goldcrest males

Total: 22

Redwing - 2
Wren - 1
Goldcrest - 18
Blue Tit - 1

NOA Holme - 24th and 25th October

Monday 24th

We went to Holme not expecting a great deal as the weather didn't look particularly promising. On the first day, there were about 50 birds while we were there, although Sophie continued netting after we had left to go to Burnham Overy.

We were all very surprised when Sophie returned from a net round with a Pallas's Warbler. At first it was thought that the bird may have only just appeared after arriving three days before. However, there were others at other locations so this seems unlikely.

 Pallas's Warbler age 2 (ringed by DKL)

CL also ringed a new species in the form of a Rock Pipit and a second bird showed features neither fully consistent with Rock or Water Pipit. When photographed a few dislodged feathers were collected and we hope to be able to get DNA confirmation of the species.

 CLs Rock Pipit

Some photographs of the rather perplexing bird, recorded as Water Pipit, but we tend to lean towards Rock Pipit, potentially of the 'Scandinavian' race due to the amount of yellow in the bill and supercillium.


Our totals for the morning were as follows:-

Total: 51 (3)
Kingfisher - 1
Rock Pipit - 1
Water Pipit - 1
Meadow Pipit - 16
Blackbird - 2
Wren - 2 (1)
Robin - 4
Cetti's Warbler - 0 (2)
Blackcap - 4
Goldcrest - 5
Greenfinch - 4
Reed Bunting - 10

In the afternoon we went off in search of the Isabelline and Desert Wheatears - finding both across the channel and much too far away for a photograph.

 The harbour

Tuesday 25th
The next day there were a few more birds going through. There were two highlights, namely a Yellow-browed Warbler (photograph not possible) and Dusky Warbler.

Dusky Warbler

The alert went out straight away and people arrived to see it ringed. It's a shame that it was not possible for other ringers to handle the bird before release.

A second Rock/Water Pipit was ringed, although again it was completely different to those that CL and DKL have seen previously.

We left in time to drop into Titchwell where we saw another Dusky Warbler, before travelling home.

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

Friday 14 October 2016

Stanwell Moor GP - 14th October 2016

We returned to Stanwell this morning as there are quite a lot of Chiffchaffs on site and we have been catching well in the reedbed and by the River Colne.

We also put up four nets for Meadow Pipits.

We had a good first round from the reedbed and riverside nets. There were a few Meadow Pipits but we only caught four new birds with one recapture from last week. We recaptured Reed Warbler Z957728, a bird ringed on the 9th weighing 11.9g and a fat score of 3. Just five days later it weighs in at 14.3g and has a fat score of 6.

Z957728 weighing 14.3g today, 14th October (above) and on the 9th at 11.9g (below).

The Chiffchaffs just kept coming, and included one bearing HXC978, a ring not issued to our group.

Chiffchaff HXC978

Other observations included Buzzard, Red Kite, Little Egret and Grey Wagtail.

Total: 50 (11)

Meadow Pipit - 4 (1)
Wren - 2
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 5 (1)
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 0 (1)
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 26 (4)
Long-tailed Tit - 4 (4)
Blue Tit - 3
Great Tit - 3

Thursday 13 October 2016

Truss's Island, Staines - 13th October 2016

This morning was spent at Truss's Island supporting MR with his project on Mute Swans. Each swan is checked for rings after capture, marked with a metal ring if it does not already carry one, then fitted with a Darvic ring, enabling any observer to read the ring and report the bird's location.

Our team of four processed about half of the swans present at the time of our visit. Not bad since we relied on feeding to attract and catch birds, and several regular feeders also arrived during our session and a few bin bags full of bread were seen to be delivered to the birds.

One bird not colour marked as both legs already carried rings (BTO/Swan Upping).

 Fitting the metal ring

 All swans ringed at this location will have identifying codes starting 4D.

Regular feeding attracts more than just swans to Truss's Island.

Total: 15 (7)

Mute Swan - 13 (7)
Egyptian Goose - 1
Canada Goose - 1

One additional Mute Swan ring was read in the field.