September 30th

A lovely calm morning showed evidence of migrants still not moving on. The Yellow-browed Warbler was retrapped along with a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest from a few days ago. 125 birds were ringed of which 63 were Chiffchaffs and 57 Blackcaps. There was another fat 8 ( on a scale of 0-8) Sedge Warbler.

September 29th

Very unsettled today with a strong westerly although the threatened heavy rain managed five minutes worth. Only a small amount of netting was possible and so another Mistle Thrush was a pleasant suprise. The few warblers caught are clearly hanging around and putting on lots of fat, A Chiffchaff with fat score five (out of eight) is quite unusual.

Ringing yesterday included a Stonechat, a species we have caught very few of recently, and a Chiffchaff ringed the day before a couple of miles south in Deal.

September 27th

A day of quality rather than quality was started by another Spotted Flycatcher, followed by two Song Thrushes ( sadly a much scarcer species these days), and topped off by a Yellow-browed Warbler. It is interesting to reflect on how regular this wanderer from Asia has become with numbers across the country more than doubling each autumn compared to a few years ago. Hopefully the increased numbers ringed will lead to some hint as to what happens to all these birds.

September 26th.

Although it seemed quiet at first a set of showers to the north coincided with a burst of activity. One hundred and twenty nine birds were ringed . Sixty eight Blackcaps and 55 Chiffchaffs led the way but there was added variety with a Tree Pipit, a Firecrest, a Willow Warbler and two Goldcrests.

September 25th

The front that passed through and the increasing breeze ensured there were few new migrants. Eleven Chiffchaffs helped the total reach 24 new birds for the day. A new Garden Warbler was perhaps the most notable as it is getting quite late for these. Yet another Sparrow fell victim to the cars and tractors which steam along the road, This time it was one of our colour ringed ones, ringed in the nest in June.

It is nice to find that at least one person reads this as we have had a kind offer of some spare decking for our walkway. All we need to do is find some scaffold poles or very sturdy wood to support it now.

September 24th

The calm and clear theme continued overnight but a breeze got up mid-morning and migrants became scarce. Only a limited number of nets as only one ringer was available to start with. A total of 74 new birds was made up from two species- 41 Chiffchaffs and 33 Blackcaps. Most of the latter are finding plenty of fruit as fat scores creep up to five. The only lower scores are juvenile birds still completing their postjuvenile moult.

September 23rd

Another calm clear night led to another arrival of warblers on their way out of the country. 145 birds were ringed but there were no controls. 77 Blackcaps led the way followed by 60 Chiffchaffs. There was the second Firecrest of the autumn so lets hope it is another good autumn for this attractive little bird.

If anyone knows where we can get some scaffolding poles from at a reasonable price we would be very interested to hear from you. We need to completely rebuild the walkway into the Haven heligoland and the poles would be good supports.

September 22nd

Slightly more breeze for a while but more cloud did not bring in more birds. With only a small team 71 birds were ringed, again mostly Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, but a Spotted Flycatcher was a nice bonus. Despite all these birds moving over the last few days there have been no controls (birds ringed elsewhere) until today when two Chiffchaffs sported rings from elsewhere in the UK this autumn.

September 21st

Another calm morning led to another busy morning and so the report is a day late. The first rush indicated there might be more birds than two days ago but it slowed more quickly ending up with 223 new birds. Blackcap led the way with 112 followed by 84 Chiffchaffs. The slight slow down meant pipits could be tried for and the reward was 14 Meadow Pipits and a Tree Pipit. Alate Sedge Warbler had a fat score of 8 ( on the scale from 0-8) and weighed more than 20 grams ( newly fledged birds in late July can be less than 10 grams). A Firecrest was the first of the autumn.

September 20th

Hopes were high following another calm night and a good forecast, which proved to be totally wrong. An early burst of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps was quickly washed away when slight drizzle turned into torrential rain for 90 minutes (Forecast- chance of showers!!). Nets were back up as soon as it cleared but there was no fall. In the end an interesting variety of birds were ringed including our first Mistle Thrush of the year. This bird was once common here but has reduced to one or two pairs which rarely venture near the nets. 122 birds were ringed led by 59 Blackcaps and 56 Chiffchaffs.

September 19th

The wind dropped and the morning dawned calm with cloud building. It remained a lovely calm day  This encouraged big numbers of birds to move. We were able to sample some moving through the bushes and a final total of 230 new birds was reward for the effort. 111 Chiffchaffs were probably only a small part of the numbers that were around. 104 Blackcaps were the next biggest catch. Two Goldcrests included an adult which is infrequent at the best of times.

September 18th

A stiff NNW breeze is not condusive to night time migration and so there were not a lot of warblers in the bushes. Fortunately some shelter could be found and 46 birds were ringed including 29 Swallows. It was too breezy in the open to take advantage of the steady visible migration.

September 17th

Today was the first morning this autumn when the weather prevented any ringing.

September 16th

The unsettled weather to the north brought a big movement of hirundines with thousands flying in just ahead of the rain. There were enough ringers to be able to sample these and 149 House Martins were ringed before the nets had to be taken down. There were also 35 Blackcaps, nine Chiffchaffs, two Willow warblers and a Spotted Flycatcher.

September 15th

More birds around today as indicated by 40 new Blackcaps but the only other migrants were five Chiffchaffs.

September 14th

Similar hot conditions with a bit more breeze building up. Thirty two new birds included another flock of eight new Long-tailed Tits.

September 13th

Scorchio! my digital max/min thermometer gave up and fixed on 188°C ! Although it was not quite that warm it was hot, possibly lessened a little by morning cloud. Thirty birds were ringed led by 11 Blackcaps and 10 Chiffchaffs. The Goldcrest from a week ago reappeared.

September 12th

A clear, calm, start quickly disappeared as a thick mist formed. This seemed to have the effect of bringing a quick burst of migrants and 52 birds were ringed, mostly in the first hour. Blackcap led the way with 38. These were accompanied by seven Willow Warblers and three Chiffchaffs. The sun burned the mist off quickly and the migrants moved on just as quickly.

September 11th

The overnight rain barely filled a thimble and it dawned calm and clear. There were one or two suprises amongst the 55 birds ringed. What was a House Sparrow doing first light in the Whitehouse bushes and even more curious what was a Grasshopper Warbler doing there mid-morning? Twenty two Blackcaps were the most numerous but a flock of 12 new Long-tailed Tits added to the list.Once again the fine weather meant there were no hirundines.

September 10th

A steady morning with 32 new birds including 11 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaff, seven House Martins and the first Goldcrest of the autumn.

September 9th

Yet another beautiful, calm, clear start but without the mist. Fifteen Blackcap led the way but three Sedge Warblers were more of a suprise, for this year.

September 8th

It is interesting to look mat some of our migrant numbers. Overall they seem to reflect the trends reported from the north and east of the country. Numbers of some warblers are down others holding steady. Last year in August we rang 224 Sedge Warblers (189 in the maize) and 310 Reed Warblers (165 in the maize). This year, and probably for the future, the farmer is not ‘wasting time’ with maize and so we have caught 59 Sedge and 84 Reed Warblers. Excluding the maize catch Reed Warblers are still well down. Willow Warblers are not a maize catch and last year we ringed 201 this year we have done 252. This increase is explained by the fact we have ringed every morning in the bushes whereas last year we missed some mornings as we were in the maize, at least their numbers are not down.The same probably applies to slight increases in the Sylvia warblers.  More suprising is Blackcap which seemed to be everywhere this spring but the August catch was down by 69 birds. Hopefully they will catch up through September.

The clear out of hirundines was very evident as there were none around this morning. Twenty two Blackcaps contributed to a total of 36 new birds which also included a Sparrowhawk for the second day running. Two new Blue Tits and 2 new Great Tits were a hint that they bred successfully somewhere nearby.

September 7th

Plenty of effort yielded 38 new birds. Once again there was a very slow trickle of migrants and 14 new Blackcaps headed the list. Meadow Pipit was added to the list for the year. In the evening all the hirundines seemed to clear out but a Little Owl was new for the year.

A check of the House Martin nests showed the last two, which had eggs ten days ago, had both failed. At first we thought this might be more Jackdaw predation but the second nest had two eggs on the ground below and so it may be just pressure from the first and second broods, who all gather in the evening, trying to get in to roost.

September 6th

Looking back in the records for this time of year and a calm overcast start would have really brought some birds in. Although there was a slight increase, with small groups of warblers along the shore bushes there was not a big increase in the netting area. Redstart and Pied Flycatcher were once stalwarts of such conditions and so it was nice to at least catch one of each amongst 35 new birds. A control Reed Warbler and a control Chiffchaff were indications of movement however slow.

September 5th

A damp morning did reveal a slight increase in migrants with 44 birds ringed led by 20 Blackcaps and five Sand Martins.

September 4th

Despite forecasts of strong winds, which were accurate!, there was an enthusiastic team ready to ring. However only nine new birds could be caught. This consisted of five Starlings, and single Garden and Reed Warblers plus a Blackcap and a Magpie.

As someone else said I know negative data is important but it can be boring collecting it.

September 2nd

The very settled calm morning continued for a short time before the return of the wind. Despite the sprinkling of migrants along the shore the bushes were very quiet and only 16 birds were ringed, including four Blackcaps, two Whitethroats and two Willow Warblers. There was a control Reed Warbler to add interest.

September 1st

Sixteen Blackcaps indicated autumn on the way and a pulse of House Martins brought 41 to the nets. otherwise it was very quiet.