Thursday 31st March
Only 6 birds today but they were all new migrants consisting of a Firecrest, a Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap and a Chaffinch.
Wednesday 30th March
A prompt start was rewarded with the first Willow Warbler of the spring. 2 Blackcaps were the first migrant ones to be caught this spring. Another Firecrest, 3 Chiffchaffs and 3 new Long-tailed Tits added variety.
Friday 25th March
A stiff breeeze and early light rain limited catching but the Sandwich titfest continued! This time a continental Coal Tit was caught. The mantle colour is different to the British race being blue-grey rather than brown-grey. 3 Firecrests, a Chiffchaff, a Redwing and a Fieldfare also added to the pleasing variety.
Wednesday 23rd March
The favourable conditions continued and this time there was a bigger team and so more nets. They were rewarded with a good variety of birds. It will probably never happen again but when the highlight of 59 new birds, including 2 Firecrests, 2 Siskin and a Brambling, is a Blue Tit with a ring on then you know the earth moved!
This particular Blue Tit was not sporting a BTO ring but a Lithuanian ring. Sadly it put our Blue Tits to shame in more ways than one. The blue was a stunning bright colour with light sky-blue edges. Its wing was 70mm whereas ours very rarely get above 68mm.
Tuesday 22nd March
In quiet conditions one ringer was able to get a few nets up and was rewarded with the first Firecrest of the spring.
Sunday 20th March
The two traps around the observatory delivered the goods with 30 Starlings and 4 Rooks being ringed.
Friday 18th March
Overcast conditions and a drop in the wind (for a while) meant a few more birds were caught. In total there were 45 new birds plus 8 retraps. It would seem the cold,dry, conditions are making the Rooks bolder and 15 were ringed. This is more than we ring in total most years. There were 11 more Chaffinches and 5 Great Tits (2 with high fat scores of 5).
Regular readers may remember that in autumn 2015 we ringed more Siskins than we had in total for the previous 60 years. A few of these birds had already been ringed elsewhere (mostly the west and north of the UK). I hoped at the time some more would be picked up on their return journey. We have just been notified of 2 such birds from early March. One sadly crashed into a window in Selling, 33 km away, and the other was caught near Towcester, Northants.
Wednesday 16th March
Despite the stiff, cold, easterly a couple of nets went up and the 10 new birds presented some interesting points. The 3 new Great Tits all had high fat scores of 4,4 and 5 respectively. Scores of above 2 are not regular for this species here. This would support the view of those observing visible migration. It is not uncommon to see or hear small parties of tits flying off high. The new Chaffinches were not quite as fat (4,3,2 and 2) but would still tie in with the numbers being observed flying over.
Sunday 13th March
Despite an increasingly strong and cool easterly breeze it was possible to get some nets up and the regular feeding of birds paid dividends as 16 new Chaffinches were ringed.
Friday 11th March
The early heavy frost and thick fog put paid to hopes of getting some nets up but the traps yielded a few birds. Most of us used the time to continue the essential repairs to the Haven heligoland trap where the weldmesh is starting to split up.
In the afternoon some nets were put up to try and catch the small flock of Fieldfare which gathers in the Oasis field preroost. Although interested they were not going to be lured completely and so they left to go their roost.
Overall 5 new and 9 retrap birds were caught including a new House Sparrow and a new Collared Dove for colour ringing.