August 31st

Another calm start but this time without the fog. As autumn creeps in the number of Blackcaps slowly increases (eleven ringed). Hirundines were widespread in the morning but by evening the majority of Swallows seemed to have moved on leaving plenty of local House Martins of which 93 were ringed.

August 30th

Low thick fog can often result in few migrants as they are reluctant to drop into the ‘unknown’. However today there was a slight increase in migrants and 37 birds were ringed including nine Willow Warblers, six Whitethroats and five Blackcaps.

August 29th

A very brief lull in the breeze helped two Redstarts and a Pied Flycatcher be caught. One of the former was an adult male which for us is unusual as the vast majority of such migrants are birds of the year.

August 28th

Another hot sunny day with light rain mid-morning and an increasing breeze. Once again migrants were noticeable by their absence- lets hope they are just overflying in all this good weather.

A big effort produced 49 new birds and 33 retraps and these provided lots of discussion points for all the visitors on our open day.

On a separate point if there are any ringers out there who want a bit of observatory experience they should contact us. We are particularly low in volunteers mid-September.

August 26th

Thunder showers before dawn did not deliver much water nor any birds. Twelve were ringed with no warbler more than one!

This gave some time to prepare for the Observatory Open Day this Sunday.

August 25th

The heatwave continues and migrant numbers get lower. Just to show that it is always worth keeping going – an Icterine Warbler was caught first net round.

Age 3 Icterine Warbler August 25th 2016
Age 3 Icterine Warbler August 25th 2016

August 24th

Another hot sunny day yielded very little apart from a hint of approaching autumn with the first anointing of clothing with blackberry juice from a Blackcap. Hopefully Blackcaps will make up for the dearth of other warblers.

August 23rd

A glorious, hot, calm day meant there was no reason for migrants to stop and so the dearth of warblers continues. Twenty two birds were ringed headed by five Willow Warblers and four Lesser Whitethroats. A night attempt for various species yielded a Hedgehog and superb views of the rings around Saturn.

August 22nd

The overnight showers and wind did not stop yesterdays chats, which showed up after ringing, departing and there were no new arrivals. Nine new birds were ringed- four Sand Martins, three Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler and a Robin.

Frustratingly a leg flagged Spoonbill in Pegwell could not be read but maybe someone else will have better luck.

August 21st

The wind dropped enough first thing for a brief ringing session which yielded 20 new birds. A Sparrowhawk found its way into the heligoland. Greenfinches appear to have had a successful breeding season and seven more were ringed. Hopefully this will start filling the hole left by the depradations of disease

August 20th

Despite the imminent arrival of gales the sheltered net sites were fine for a couple of hours.  Fourteen new birds were ringed including a Spotted Flycatcher, four Garden Warblers and a Sand Martin.

August 19th

Early cloud and a calm start resulted in a few new arrivals starting with a Spotted Flycatcher and followed by a smartly plumaged male Redstart. A few light spots of rain resulted in the appearance of a few flocks of hirundines and 77 House Martins, 11 Sand Martins and four Swallows were ringed. Interestingly there were also 3 retrap House Martins. One had been ringed in a nest on Sandown Road this year and one last year.

A key way of ageing House Martins is the presence of broad white tips to the dark tertials in first year birds. The bird from last year still had white fringes but checking the reference book states that they can still show narrow white edges but we have rarely seen it here.

August 17th

A Nightingale was todays highlight amongst a varied mix of common migrants.

August 15th

As often happens when the wind shifts to the eastern side of the vane and the sky is clear the number of migrants drops. There were no new Willow Warblers but there were three Reed Warblers and three Whitethroats.

August 14th

Very similar to yesterday but this time the new species for the year was a Grasshopper Warbler in the heligoland.

August 13th

As often happens when the weather sticks in one pattern bird movement gets quieter. Twenty one birds were ringed with a nice highlight of a Tree Pipit, a species which is not frequent.

August 12th

A very early stiff breeze stuck two fingers up at the forecast before realising it was not supposed to be there and dying away. This was too late for there to be much of an influx of migrants. Fifty one birds were ringed once again led by Willow Warblers with 23.

August 11th

It was no consellation to look at the reports and forecasts and to find the wet stuff falling on the ringers did not exist. Fortunately it was light and 39 birds were ringed including 23 Willow Warblers and three Sand Martins.

August 10th

A suprisingly fresh and still breezy pre-dawn did not deter an early start from the ringers but the birds did not follow suit. However they did get going eventually and 114 birds were ringed. This included eight species of warbler unsuprisingly led by 34 Willow Warblers. As often is the case they were all juveniles. There were also 25 Sedge and 13 Reed Warblers. Garden Warblers continued their strong showing with seven more.

August 9th

Frustratingly the strong breeze continued and there was little evidence of new migrants arriving. Twenty six birds were ringed, ten of these were Willow Warblers.

August 8th

The breeze continued but 55 birds were ringed. Sand Martin led the way with 21 new plus one from another ringing group. There were also 17 Willow Warblers and seven Reed Warblers.

Further indication of the topsy-turvy breeding season was a House Martin nest which has just started its third brood with two eggs so far.

August 7th

Despite the increasing wind 44 birds were ringed. Twenty six Willow Warblers were joined by 5 Reed Warblers, 3 Swallows and 2 House Martins. The return to Africa is definitely underway.

August 5th

An early start was rewarded with 67 new birds. Although 12 Starlings led the way there were 11 Sedge Warblers, 10 Willow Warblers and 6 Garden Warblers. Four juvenile Great Tits and a Blue Tit were indicative of late fledging.

An indication of the pressure young birds face was a retrap Jackdaw which weighed 70g less than two weeks ago. The dry ground makes it difficult to find grubs.

August 4th

The strength of the overnight wind detered migration and so only 12 birds were ringed but this did include a Sand Martin and 2 Swallows.

August 3rd

The damp drizzly weather did not clear this corner until 0700. It had obviously stopped birds setting off from north and west of here as it moved this way as the only migrants caught were 3 Willow Warblers. Twenty Starlings provided plenty of experience of recording moult as  both adult and juveniles are going through this process at the moment.

August 1st

The settled start to the day helped produce a catch of 57 new birds. Willow Warbler was the most common with 29 ringed, reflecting the increase in numbers around the area. A significant number had wing lengths of less than 64mm and were probably females, males tend to be longer winged.