Wednesday 30 October 2019

Broadwater GP - 29th October 2019

We did a session with MRB and Margaret, not only to monitor the birds, but also to see the changes that have occurred on site. It wasn't clear whether this had to do with preparations for the area to be developed into an actual reserve, or further gravel extraction, or if the fishing club had been at work (although not likely due to the nature of what was done) or if it was due to some filming that had happened on site recently.

Having put nets up ( three rides had been demolished so not the easiest thing), we met the man who lives right by the entrance and found out that the filming had been for a DC Marvel film and they had been on site for two weeks. That explained the clearance of areas, to accommodate their large vehicles, and included a new access route to the lake - as there had been pontoons used for filming. Apparently, Angelina Jolie has been to the ringing site! On the positive side, this is hopefully a 'one off' and if we clear new rides, we'll be able to continue ringing here. The management has apparently been outsourced, explaining why we can get no response from the old contact.

Later we met the fishing club site manager - apparently he stopped them from removing Mike's long run, had he not, we would have lost a further three rides.

On now to the birds, we set up by the cars as the usual stop is now under all the spoil that had been bulldozed from the access track. We have also lost access to the feed bins! We had seven nets up and caught well all morning. 176 is an impressive tally for us, here, in October but it was definitely a case of too many tits - even 'though one was a control. It is possible that AYD1414, an age 3 Blue Tit has come from Hilfield as they use that alpha prefix, but we are not sure at present whether it is the correct numerical sequence. There were a few other species, quite a lot of Goldcrest and also Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Jay, Treecreeper, Chaffinch and Coal Tit.

One of 39 new Goldcrest

Coal Tit



Total: 159 (17)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Redwing - 2
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 1
Chiffchaff - 4
Goldcrest - 39
Long-tailed Tit - 22
Great Tit - 10 (2)
Coal Tit - 0 (1)
Blue Tit - 76 (12)
Jay - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Treecreeper - 1 (1)

The ride for winter finches laid bare

The Redwing 18m no longer has cover around it 
and all the cleared vegetation no clogs the Cheeky 12m

A new if rather wide space by the lake.

Cley, Norfolk - 27th October 2019

A really lovely day! We were in Cley for the Wader Quest AGM, Chris being one of the trustees. We stopped off at North Point Wells on route and at Cley made a compromise and spent the morning on the reserve before attending the meeting and afternoon presentations. At the hides there were plenty of Black-tailed Godwits and Black-headed Gull with Teal, Gadwall, Shelduck amongst others, but nothing to out of the ordinary, though during high tide the Gannets on the sea were going by so close to the single beach almost looked as if over the reserve itself.

There were some good presentations at the Wader Quest meeting, which hopefully more may come to next year, though for a first meeting this years turnout was good. Presentation on the Wash Wader Ringing Group Work and from Graham Appleton around his experiances and Wader Tales blog.

Pinkfeet over North Point, Wells

We ended the day at Cley beach.

Black-headed Gull

Golden Plover and Brent Geese

Welney WWT - 26th October 2019

Travelling up to Norfolk for the weekend on a wet and windy day, we didn't like the idea of a good soaking so made a detour to Welney where we could watch from inside the warm and dry hide.

Directly in front of the hide, a family of six Whoopers were constantly feeding. The cob was defending the immediate area quite vigorously and even when three of the birds hauled out, and he drifted away to preen, two cygnets continued to see off other birds as they fed. It seemed likely had arrived very recently.The male bird carried a yellow darvic.

Whooper family

LHI, the family's cob, has been visiting Welney for the last 10 years

Whooper swans gathered together as families, were in pairs or singly, feeding on grain near the bank, some birds agitated the mud with their feed to bring grain up to the surface, swimming, loafing or eating potatoes from the heaps provided to further supplement feeding.


ZAA, all white plumage and bill not yet yellow indicates a 2nd year bird

XKD carries a 3 digit orange darvic

Four character orange darvics like 4BLM  are part of Mike Reed's
project on Mute Swan's in the South east/east of the UK

As well as the swans, there was a supporting cast of many geese, ducks and Black-tailed Godwits.

Friday 25 October 2019

Staines Moor - 23rd October 2019

On a rare occasion when the wind amounted to practically nothing, we took the chance to work the very open site of Staines Moor. We have no vehicle access so limited our efforts to two singles and a 'V' formation for Meadow Pipits, a manageable amount of kit that we could carry.

We were hoping that we may catch one of the recently arrived Water Pipits, but that was not to be. Our total of 19 Meadow Pipits was a respectable number, a couple of Blue Tits flew in at random, a single Goldfinch was attracted to the audio-lure and the Goldcrest was least expected of all.

Meadow Pipit age 3

Total: 23

Meadow Pipit - 19
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Goldfinch - 1

Stanwell Moor GP - 22nd October 2019

We kept the nets confined to the spoil heaps with two in the reed-bed. The wind was very low and we hoped to get a few Meadow Pipit, but few came in and only one was captured.

Throughout the morning there were hundreds of Wood Pigeon passing over head with some flocks of thrushes and a few Redwing were tempted down into the nets in the track ride.

The total was further increased by Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and some Long-tailed Tits that found the track nets as they worked their way along the vegetated banks of the spoil heaps. Goldcrest LJK045, a 3M, had only been ringed two days before so we anticipate that it was ringed at Queen Mary reservoir on Sunday, but we await confirmation.

Juvenile Goldcrest

Cetti's Warbler

Total: 46 (3)

Meadow Pipit - 1
Blackbird - 1
Redwing - 3
Robin - 3 (2)
Wren - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 5
Goldcrest - 10  (1 control)
Long-tailed Tit - 9
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 4
Chaffinch - 1
Goldfinch - 3
Linnet - 2

Monday 21 October 2019

Wraysbury GP - 20th October 2019

We haven't visited this site since the end of August and didn't expect a great deal at this time of year. There are not many thrushes on site yet and Goldcrest and tits are likely to make up the bulk of the catch. We erected seven nets and were surprised to take a most respectable first round including three Redwing, a Reed Bunting and a number of Goldcrest. There were more birds over the next two rounds, but it went very quiet after that.

Female Reed Bunting age 3

Cetti's Warbler 3F
Total: 51 (7)

Blackbird - 2
Redwing - 3
Song Thrush - 1
Robin - 1 (1)
Dunnock - 2
Wren - 4
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - 15
Long-tailed Tit - 5 (2)
Blue Tit - 13 (4)
Great Tit - 2
Reed Bunting - 1

We are seeing Roe Deer increasingly often at this site

Black Park Country Park and Mute swans at various locations - 17th October 2019

On the first session of the autumn here, we hoped to target mainly Redwing and Redpolls. There was a large flock of Redwing, but they remained at the tops of the tall trees although we did manage to catch one of them. The Redpoll tape played to itself as there was only a couple of birds present and they didn't respond. We did get some Goldcrest, as anticipated. However, the leading species of the morning was Blue Tit. There were several groups through the site and we had no same day retraps. This appears to reflect reports that Blue Tits have had a good breeding year and numbers are up on what we would usually expect.

A couple of Crossbill flew over late morning.

Total: 50

Robin - 4
Wren - 4
Dunnock - 1
Redwing - 1
Goldcrest - 15
Blue Tit - 22
Coal Tit - 1
Great Tit - 2

We saw the ranger and he told us that a young swan with a darvic had been collected by a swan rescue organisation on the 16th after a 'crash landing' on a grassy area. He didn't know the ring code and we don't expect the organisation to report it as in our experience, the tend not to.

We then went and checked the Langley Park lake, finding an adult and two juvenile swans. They were not members of the family that had spent the summer there. The adult and one juvenile were not ringed. When we captured the previously ringed juvenile and added 4DHM darvic, the metal ring, W47488, was not one of ours. Having reported the ring, we now know that the cygnet was ringed on 17th July at Wargrave, near Henley.

We then tried for the four cygnets on Harmondsworth lake that, capturing just one to fit darvic 4DHQ and metal ring W41993. These cygnets have yet to start any post juvenile moult and appear to be managing alone, without the presence of adult swans.

Finally, we spent a little time at the River Thames. Here there were very few birds with darvics, just three issued by the Edward Gray Institute and one from Mike Reed's scheme. We also recorded another eleven metal ring numbers. There is an increasing number of Black-headed gulls on the river but none checked carried any form of ringed identification.


Wednesday 16 October 2019

Stanwell Moor GP - 15th October 2019

We planned to target Meadow Pipits, expecting the walk-in trap and 5 nets arranged to maximize captures to produce the most birds. The morning didn't go as planned and pipit captures were disappointingly low. However there was a control, S685425 among the nine birds.

Adult Meadow Pipit control S685425

The two nets on the spoil heap track were much more productive, due in part to a number of Redwing that were attracted down. There were some quite large flocks and only a faction of the birds were caught.

We don't catch Chaffinch often and some of those can't be ringed due to 
infections on the legs - but no this bird had no such problems.

Juvenile Green Woodpecker

Total: 50 (2)

Meadow Pipit - 8 (1 control)
Redwing - 18
Song Thrush - 2
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Blackcap - 3
Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - 4
Blue Tit - 4
Great Tit - 3
Goldfinch - 2
Chaffinch - 1

Saturday 12 October 2019

Stanwell Moor GP - 7th October 2019

A day when the forecast that promised dry conditions failed to deliver. The light precipitation seemed to be easing up, so we put up nets for Meadow Pipits and a couple of nets on the track, keeping the set up confined in case of heavier rain. As it happened we never actually needed to furl, but the birds were elusive and four hours effort amounted to fewer than 30 captures.

Total: 24 (1)

Meadow Pipit - 1
Wren - 1
Dunnock - 3
Robin - 1
Wren - 1
Blackcap - 5
Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - 4
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 3 (1)
Goldfinch - 1

Chobham Common - 5th October 2019

It's been a while since we worked on the common, now that we no longer have access during the breeding season, so this visit came having not seen the site for many months.

We got 5 nets up and played for Redwing, Redpoll, Meadow Pipit and Goldcrest. We had varying degrees of success, Meadow Pipit and Goldcrest both caught birds, Redwing attracted but failed to catch any birds, while there was no sign of any Redpolls being present at all.

The numbers got a considerable boost from the addition of a large tit flock.

Juvenile Meadow Pipit

Coal Tit

Totals: 63

Meadow Pipit - 14
Robin - 2
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 11
Blue Tit - 16
GreatTit - 4
Coal Tit - 3
Long-tailed Tit - 12

Friday 11 October 2019

Stanwell Moor GP - 3rd October 2019

Recently back from Mongolia, it wasn't long before we realized that the weather in the UK has been less than favorable for ringing, and noticing an up and coming quieter spell in the forecast we took time out from bringing the blog up to date and loaded the kit into the car, and went to work Stanwell.
We erected 7 nets and decided to play audio lures for three of our key autumn migrants.

The Meadow Pipits were our most successful effort, coming from three nets arranged as a box with one side left open.  We got some Goldcrest, although we expected to catch more, and surprisingly the Redwing lures that were a bit of a punt at this early stage in the month managed to bring in several small groups with two birds being caught.

The most unexpected capture was a Stonechat that found its way into the Meadow Pipit nets.

3M Stonechat

Juvenile Meadow Pipit

Greater and median covert patterns of Meadow Pipits, 
juvenile above, adult below

Redwing - hopefully the first of many this autumn

Totals: 76 (4)

Meadow Pipit - 28
Redwing - 2
Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 2
Dunnock - 2
Robin - 1 (1)
Cetti's Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 11
Chiffchaff - 6
Goldcrest - 3
Long-tailed Tit - 5 (3)
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 6
Goldfinch - 2
Linnet - 2
Stonechat - 1

Monday 7 October 2019

Khovd, Mongolia - First Black Stork ringed in Mongolia 25th September 2019

Another first, and an unexpected one at that! The bridge net proved its worth once again, intercepting a juvenile Black Stock as it flew up from the river. It certainly would not have stayed in the net for long, but DKL was close enough to see the bird heading for the net and was able to get a hold of the bird before it escaped.

This bird was fitted with a satellite tracker. It nearly got a coloured darvic from the crane project, but this was avoided once we explained how any report could never be linked to the established project if fitted to a different species. There is a strong element of training of Mongolian ringers when visitors volunteer at Khovd.

Satellite tracker 171288

Khovd, Mongolia - Laughing Dove 4th record for Mongolia 25th September 2019

This bird had been seen outside the ringing station a few days earlier, but the observers, not realising how few times the species had been seen in Mongolia, took no photographic evidence at the time. It wasn't seen again until it reappeared in the net set up across the bridge. This net was only there for catching Nightjar at dusk, but being in a position where it was safe from the many cows that wander about the site, it was left open on a few of the later dates of our stay.

Adult Laughing Dove

Khovd, Mongolia - Koslov's Accentor 22nd September 2019

This was the first of three Koslov's Accentors captured during our two week stay at Khovd ringing camp. We were very pleased to catch some of these birds as there are still a great many gaps in our knowledge of these birds as demonstrated by these comments on information pages.

Distribution: Poorly known. Mountains and semi-deserts of West, Central and Southern Mongolia (including Gobi-Altai) ans North Central China (Helan Shan and Zhongwei region, in Ningxia-Inner Mongolia border).
Habitat: Thin scrub in semi-desert and dry mountains. No information on altitudinal range.
Food and feeding: No information on diet.
Forages in skulking manner close to or beneath bushes.
Breeding: Two records; nest placed close to ground; 4-5 eggs. No other information.
Movements: No information,although reported as returning to breeding ground near L Orog Nuur in mid-May.

Koslov's Accentor

This young bird has retained juvenile retrices on the right hand side 
while changing the left hand side to adult shaped feathers, 
probably as a result of accidental loss.

Khovd, Mongolia - Mugimaki Flycatcher - 22nd September 2019

Weather conditions produced a push from the East and one very welcome addition to the species list was the Mugimaki Flycatcher, another first record for Western Mongolia.