Monday 28 February 2022

Kelling Heath - 28th February 2022

 A morning out in search of Dartford Warblers turned out to be quite successful. We started off enjoying the song of several Woodlark across the heath, then saw a Woodcock cross the railway line, apparently having been disturbed from its daytime roost.

Finding the correct area for the Dartfords took a while and as we spotted Linnets, then a Stonechat we began to wonder whether we'd catch up with one at all. But Chris heard the distinctive song and the bird was soon located.

Dartford Warbler


Male Stonechat

Gorse begins its flowering season

Other sightings included 7 Red Deer and Buzzards.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Brewery Farm Little Stonham and homeward birding - 23rd February 2022

The alarm went off at 5:30am to make the very most of the brief window in the extremely windy and often wet weather that we've been experiencing, starting off with a session at Brewery Farm, Little Stonham hosted by BW, aka Beaker Baz. The purpose, to conduct a permit upgrade for ERB. The day proved an excellent opportunity for the assessment with 153 birds captured and processed.

First Siskin of the year, photograph by BW.

Total:86 (67)
Wren - 7 (2)
Dunnock - 13 (2)
Robin - 4
Blackbird - 8
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (6)
Blue Tit - 21 (38)
Great Tit - 7 (6)
Coal Tit - 1
Chaffinch - 2 (2)
Brambling - 2
Goldfinch - 6 (^)
Greenfinch - 9 (5)
Siskin - 1
Yellowhammer - 7

 Thanks to Graham (site owner) and BW for hosting the day. All went well and all that it remains for ERB to do is ensure the admin is completed by her trainer in a timely manner.   

Next a visit to see this Glossy Ibis, seen from a close distance and extremely easy to find.    

Glossy Ibis - Rockland, St. Mary  

Then on to Whitingley CP for some late lunch, a check through the birds for ring markings, and a look at two Bitterns, with incidental Ring-necked Parakeet and Barn Owl seen in the failing light as we left the car park.

Last task for the day was to do the shopping, finally returning home by 19:50 at the end of a lengthy and enjoyable day.              

Saturday 19 February 2022

Sheringham - 17th February 2022

 We took an early trip to Sheringham and met up with GDA and M to try out the prototype ground trap for catching Turnstone. There were a few accessories that we tried in various combinations. We'd brought some bait, but weren't prepared for two women that apparently feed the birds regularly. The first left dried meal worms in the trap. They were fine, but the next brought half a loaf, broken into crumbs and dumped them in the mouth of the trap, and that really was just too much - the entrance was blocked! Neither asked first but at least we had no complaints from the sea-watching birders, dog walkers or general pedestrians. We even managed to catch a bird despite the wind, waves and busy promenade.

By the time the final trap is complete we should have the inscribed flags ready for our project on Turnstones that frequent seaside towns and live closely with humans.

Total: 1

Turnstone - 1

Sunday 13 February 2022

Wild Ken Hill, Heacham Bottom West - 11th February 2022

We spent the morning at the feeding site set up for BBC Winter watch. All captures came from a single 12m net that gave us close to 50 captures by the end of the morning. There were fewer birds visiting than on our last session here, possibly due to marginally milder weather or due to a change in feeding habits in preparation for the breeding season.

Adult Blue Tit

5F Brambling

Total: 35 (14)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Wren - 1
Dunnock - 5 (1)
Robin - 2
Blackbird - 2 (1)
Blue Tit - 12 (9)
Great Tit - 6 (3)
Brambling - 6

A flock of Curlew had flown in during the morning and a close check as we left the site revealed 5 of the birds to be flagged. 

4L ringed under the Headstart scheme.

AA - Wash Wader group study, ringed 23/08/2020 at Ken Hill
5 re-sightings prior to ours that becomes the first for 2022.

4V Wash wader group and ringed on the same catch as 3U (see below) in 2017. 
A host of local sightings to help the group understand the survival rates and use of 
the Wash during the non-breeding season.
3U Wash wader group ringed 23/08/2017. This bird has over 
50 re-sightings around the A149, Ingoldisthorp, Snettisham, 
Heacham and Ken Hill areas with all resightings between 
August to March.

A fifth bird A4 was ringed as part of the Wash wader group study on 12/08/2014 and has a record of over 40 subsequent re-sightings around the local area.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Swan ringing, Hoveton and surrounding area - 8th February 2022

The Mute Swans in this area of the broads have not been the subject of ringing attempts for a couple of years now due to the restrictions imposed during the pandemic and the usual routine for marking sessions becoming disrupted as a result.

The session required liaison with the broads authority and local parish council, and the site is also extremely busy with members of the public coming to feed the swans. Quite a bit of organisation was required to assemble a team and arrive at a suitable date and time. So, today was the day and we started at 8:30am before the Swans had had too much to eat and while general footfall around the catching areas was still minimal. We were very fortunate to have MR, the project coordinator, join us with MHE, JM, CL and DKL making up the team.

We tried three separate locations and finished just after 1pm having used up all our metal rings and darvics. It's fortunate that MR was on hand to issue more darvics (as we ran out) and an order for metal rings will soon be on its way to the BTO as the latest order of 50 rings were all used.

The session proved very successful, with 52 new birds marked, three previously ringed birds having darvics added and a further three birds recorded from darvics and in one case a metal ring.

Swan ringing can be expensive, taking the cost of the BTO metal rings and the darvics together we used up around £300 worth of rings this morning.

Catching up didn't seem to put the birds off much

A pair at Ludham Bridge are marked.

Total: 52 (3)

Mute Swan - 52 (3) & a further 3 birds identified in the field.

Friday 4 February 2022

Wild Ken Hill, Heacham Bottom West - 2nd February 2022

 We spotted an easing of the westerly winds to do a ringing session at the feeder site. As expected the morning was dominated by tits with a few Robins, two Brambling, some Goldfinch and singles of Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Dunnock (already showing preparedness for breeding with a brood patch clearly defined (BP2)) to complete the record sheet. Two Woodlark singing directly overhead were quite unexpected.

Blue tit

Adult male and 1st winter female Brambling.

A good demonstration of difference in feather quality between renewed adult and unmoulted post juvenile feathers, with the adult bird's feather condition looking more lustrous and robust.

Total: 97 (1)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 4
Blackbird - 1
Blue Tit - 60 (1)
Great Tit - 25 
Brambling - 2

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Finch House Garden - January 2022

 An increase in numbers for January, mostly driven by more Blue Tits visiting the feeding station.
It was pleasing to find Greenfinch in the position of next most frequently captured species and an unexpected male Brambling was the star bird of the month.

1st winter male Brambling

Totals: 85 (34)

Woodpigeon - 1
Dunnock - 4 (5)
Robin - 4 (6)
Blackbird - 6 (2)
Goldcrest - 1
Long tailed Tit - 1 (2)
Blue Tit - 47 (19)
Great Tit - 4 
Coal Tit - 1 
House Sparrow - 2
Brambling - 1
Greenfinch - 13