Sunday 19 December 2021

Ken Hill, Bell Mount (Farm) - 19th December 2021

Our last four days of December winter ringing at Ken Hill and it was back to the winter finch flock, in the fog, to try again to capture birds feeding up on the crop margins sown specifically to provide food for wild birds.

This time we adjusted the position of the nets. However, despite a sizable flock the behaviour had changed and most finches managed to evade us. The two nets placed near the farm feeder bucket did much better and we finished on 38 birds processed.

Juvenile Brambling female

Juvenile Brambling male

Jay colour-marked as part of the University of East Anglia study

Totals: 35 (3)

Blackbird - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 13
Great Tit - 0 (4)
Blue Tit - 4 (1)
Coal Tit - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Jay - 1
Chaffinch - 6
Brambling - 6

Saturday 18 December 2021

Wild Ken Hill Fresh Marsh - 18th December 2021

 Another day of very low wind and an attempt to catch Water Pipit. We could see them over the field next to where we had erected nets but they would not be attracted to our catching area and a couple of Meadow Pipits were the only marshland birds to find our nets.

Meadow Pipit

We had also put up a couple of single nets along the line of the old railway line and most of the catch came from these nets. We had a nice mix of thrushes showing some interesting features.

Heavily marked 1st winter Redwing

1st winter Fieldfare male 
(note large amount of dark colouration in centre of crown feathers denoting male)

6 retained greater coverts 
indicating this bird has not yet been through a complete moult and 
was therefore hatched this year.

Ist winter male Blackbird.     
Unmoulted feathers (brown contrasting to moulted black) include all primaries & secondaries, primary coverts, alula and some tertials. All retrices and contour feathers have been changed.

Total: 18

Meadow Pipit - 2
Blackbird - 13
Fieldfare - 1
Redwing - 2

Friday 17 December 2021

Ken Hill, Bell Mount (Farm) - 17th December 2021

 Another visit to Ken Hill, this time to explore part of the working farm arable fields complex. We were hoping to catch some of the winter finch flocks that make good use of the field margins, seeded to provide food for wild birds. This was a first effort and we were also at a distinct disadvantage being unable to observe what was happening much further than a few metres away in the dense fog.

All considered we didn't do too badly, and now having an improved plan for future sessions.

Brambling - 3 male

Brambling 3 female

Totals: 24

Wren -1
Robin - 1
Goldcrest - 2
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 5
Chaffinch -10
Brambling - 4

Thursday 16 December 2021

Wild Ken Hill Fresh Marsh - 16th December 2021

 As soon as the opportunity arose (a forecast for sufficiently low wind) and we were back at Ken Hill trying to mark more birds for the Water Pipit project. The site was considerably wetter than last time, but we were still able to find two suitable areas for combinations of two panel nets. We only caught one bird but it was the target species, bringing the total number of marked birds here to three.

Adult Water Pipit

We were on site to meet LP shortly after 7am. There are some distinct benefits to getting out on the fresh marsh early on a winter's morning.

Pink-footed Geese leaving their roost

Misty morning on the marsh

There were at least up to nine Water Pipits present, with regular pass overs by a pair of Marsh Harriers, which at one stage did some displaying to each other, couple of Ravens over croaking and a day time flying Barn Owl.

Total: 1

Water Pipit - 1

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Cley and Salthouse - 7th December 2021

With Storm Barra approaching from the west, we took the opportunity to get out before the wind and rain set in.

Our first stop was Cley beach where there was very little on the sea and just a few Turnstone and gulls milling along the tideline. There was also a Grey Plover. The Grey seals were close in shore, one even hauled out briefly.

Next stop Arnold's marsh. It was striking how few birds were there, plenty of ducks including Pintail but a lot of the wading birds had moved off. Walking east along the beach, we located the Iceland gull feeding on a seal pup carcass that was down to bare bones.

1st winter Iceland gull

Before setting back home ahead of the rain, a visit to Salthouse duck pond confirmed juvenile Mute swan 4ERJ still present with parents. The gulls were all extremely hungry and amongst the melee competing for a few scraps that we'd brought was a colour ringed gull. The code J925 was on a white plastic ring showing signs of wear with a section missing from the lower edge. The metal ring was also observed in entirety, 6205267, Stavanger, Norway. This is the first time it has been recorded here this winter and it is a regular at the duck pond with records dating back to 2014.

The darvic was applied in 2013 so a little wear is not surprising.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Barred Warbler, Wiveton - 5th December 2021

 A quick run out, hoping to view the Barred Warbler through the rain showers, actually worked out. It hadn't been seen for a while when we arrived, but Chris checked a little further up the lane and having seen what we thought was the bird flit across the lane, we eventually managed to get on to it in one of the magnificent Spindle berry,  Euonymus europaeus   bushes along that stretch of road. The plant looks quite exotic with its vibrant colour and four-lobed fruits, so unlike our other native shrubs. It was the perfect perch for the stunning, stocky warbler on a dull winter’s day.

As for the Barred Warbler, it just goes to show, even in what's been somewhat less than a classic autumn, you can never tell what's about. This is a really late date for Barred Warbler.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Wells-next-the-sea - 30th November 2021

 We only stopped for a latte, but as I scurried through the rain with disposable cups in hand, I just happened to notice the glint of a metal ring on a Black-headed gull perched on the guard rail. Swiftly I left Chris with the beverages, and camera in hand set about capturing the entire number sequence.



      Black-headed Gull
       (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)    


Ring no:


Ringing details
Age: 3 Sex: U Sex meth: U P.ringed: 0 P.alive: 0 Condition: U
Colour marks added: - Metal marks added: N Act1: U Act2: U
Ringing date: 23-Nov-2013 12:30:00
Reg code: - Place code: WES Site name: Westport LakeStaffordshire, UK
County code: GBSTA Grid ref: SJ8550 Accuracy 0 - Co-ords: 53deg 2min N -2deg -13min W 

Biometrics: Wing: 302.0 mm. Weight: - g. Time: 12:30:00hrs

Finding details
Ring not Verified Age: 8 Sex: U Sex meth: U
Colour marks added: - Metal marks added: - Act1: U Act2: U
Finding date: 30-Nov-2021 12:00:00
Reg code: - Place code: - Site name: HolkhamNorfolk, UK
County code: GBNOR Grid ref: TF9143 Accuracy - - Co-ords: 52deg 57min N 0deg 51min E Accuracy -
Hab1: H3 Hab2: H1
Biometrics: Wing: - mm. Weight: - g. Time: -hrs
Finding condition: 89:28 Movement: 9
Sight record by a ringer Metal Ring Read In Field
Remarks: -
Duration: 2929 days Distance: 206 km Direction: 94deg (E)

It's nice to get a bird ringed in 2013 that has no other observations.