Once again it is interesting to compare this November with November 2018. This year we ringed 357 birds and retrapped 239. Last November we rang 471 and retrapped 298. This years unsettled spell played a big part in this along with Lesser Redpoll not moving south (15 this November and 102 last November). Blackbirds were slightly up this year with 102 compared to 80 but the biggest difference was that they did not hang around this year – only 22 retraps compared to 83 last November. The lower crop of berries on Hawthorn might explain this in part. Chiffchaffs were well up with 21 this November compared to four last November.

December 18th

A break in the wind and rain allowed a few nets to be put up. Fourteen birds were caught of which six were new. This included another House Sparrow for the RAS project. From re-sightings it does seem that they are very site faithful, though a few have turned up some distance away. Amongst the retraps from today was a Coal Tit from earlier this autumn.

December 15th

Great reward for the effort. Despite the wind the Heligoland, which is at its wettest for at least a couple of years, caught a Grey Wagtail.

This is only the 6th of these to be caught on the Estate and the first since 2005. The first was in 1959- 60 years ago!

Seven other birds were ringed including another Cetti’s Warbler making it the best year on the Estate for these.

Grey Wagtail. 15/12/2019. Sue Smith
Grey Wagtail. 15/12/2019. Sue Smith

December 8th

Although it was stormy last night there was a slight drop and a bit of ringing was possible. Seven birds were caught of which two were new. One of these was a Blackcap, we have not had one overwinter in the Whitehouse area but they do so in more wooded, sheltered areas nearby.

December 6th

Strong wind looks like it is setting in for the next week and so ringing is unlikely if the forecasts are correct.

Some other colour ring sightings from Restharrow Scrape involve Herring Gulls and thanks to North Thames Gull Group for the details.

The first bird was ringed at Pitsea, Essex on March 12th 2016, seen on Worth on January 29th 2017, on the Scrape April 10th 2017 and again on the Scrape on November 11th this year.

The second was ringed at Pitsea on March 21st 2015, seen in London on February 5th 2017 and here on 6/5/17, 5/11/18, 1/11/19 and 8/11/19.

December 4th

Another frosty start, but not quite as cold as yesterday, -1.5°C compared to -2.4°C. Not a breath of wind again and thankfully none of the threatened fog. This time eleven birds were ringed and 13 retrapped. There were two more Chiffchaffs and seven Goldfinches.

Frosty Haven Stream. 4/12/2019. I Hunter
Frosty Haven Stream. 4/12/2019. I Hunter
Frosty Oasis field.4/12/2019. I Hunter
Frosty Oasis field.4/12/2019. I Hunter

December 3rd

A cold and frosty start with not a breath of wind yielded ten new birds and fifteen retraps. Two more Chiffchaffs and a Fieldfare were the highlights.

Frosty morning sunrise. Ian Hunter
Frosty morning sunrise. Ian Hunter