Ringing: September 2019
A beautiful, calm, morning yielded 29 new birds to a very small team of ringers. This included three Song Thrushes and a Firecrest. The Yellow-browed Warbler calling nearby was not tempted to visit the catching area.
The night sky remained clear as the wind shifted to SE and this continued to limit what was around. Twenty eight birds were ringed. Goldcrest (8) nearly caught up with Blackcap (8). The highlights were three Firecrests one of which was a glowing adult male.
The cool, clear, north-easterly conditions restricted the catch to 47 birds. This did include a Lesser Whitethroat and the first Firecrest of the autumn.
The main migration through here at this time of year is of UK birds heading south and therefore the breeze shifting to north-east actually often brings a fall in migrant numbers . It felt almost autumnal again this morning and the catch was down to 60 birds.
The vast majority of birds we catch are birds of the year but today we caught more adults (still in single figures) than we have in the last couple of weeks.
It turned overcast overnight and so with a calm and muggy start it was good conditions for continuing arrivals. An even smaller team had to restrict to three net rides but still ringed 210 birds. 136 Blackcaps (plus another control) led the way followed by 53 Chiffchaffs. Thirteen Goldcrests were of note as we rarely get into double figures before October.
The few ringers able to help today benefited from a calm start developing into a lovely day. Over 170 birds were ringed, mostly Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. Of note was a Blackcap with a ring from somewhere else in the UK. These have been extremely thin on the ground this autumn.
After the excitement of last night when 10’s of thousands of Swallows were swirling around before roosting in the maize (too windy to ring) it was surprisingly quiet first thing, most of the hirundines must have left by first light. Despite the wind getting up it was possible to get some nets up and 83 birds were ringed. They were mostly Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs but six Goldcrests and a Garden Warbler were of note.
Late news from yesterday when 88 birds were ringed with the undoubted highlight two more Cetti’s Warblers.
Today the wind restricted what could be put up but it was still worth doing with 98 birds ringed. Blackcaps continue to lead the way, this time there were 70. These birds seem to be in good condition with plenty of fat scores of four or five and weights above 18 grams. Two Coal Tits added variety.
Frustratingly the forecast got it wrong. The day started calm and overcast as forecast but dark clouds gathered followed by rain. A meteorologist obviously put their head out of the window and where, last night, it had been 20% chance of rain it changed to 90%. Fortunately the calm start meant it was well worth putting the nets up until the rain arrived. One hundred and nineteen Blackcaps and 23 Chiffchaffs made the the bulk of the 164 new birds but the highlight was a Wryneck.
It felt like autumn this morning and with the breeze stronger than expected a total of 30 new birds was not too bad. The day started with a Cuckoo, much to the joy of one patient A ringer, and finished with a Redstart. Sixteen Blackcaps and seven Chiffchaffs made up the majority.
After two mornings when the wind was too strong a small team was available to put a few nets up. They were rewarded with 72 new birds – probably a small sample of what dropped in. A Wood Warbler was a surprise and there was the 4th Cetti’s Warbler of the autumn. Blackcap (42) made up the majority followed by 13 Chiffchaffs and four Willow Warblers.
With unsettled weather approaching it was quieter this morning. Fifty-two Blackcaps and 19 House Martins helped increase the total to a respectable 91 new birds. There was also another Grasshopper Warbler.
The dam burst at last and it was the best mornings ringing of the year. One hundred and sixteen Blackcaps (68 males and 48 females) contributed to an overall total of 164 new birds. The missing Grasshopper Warblers appeared with four actually beating last years total. Kingfisher was also new for the year. A Redstart and another juvenile Cetti’s Warbler added further interest.
No-one available yesterday but if the two previous days and today were anything to go by not a lot was missed. Today 33 new birds relied on 22 Blackcaps to get well into double figures.
It is interesting to look at the monthly total for August this year compared to last year. This year it was 1,029 and last year it was 1,309. This surprised me as I thought this year would have been even worse. The biggest differences were in the warblers – the number in brackets is last year’s total. Sedge Warbler 32 (139), Reed Warbler 87 (139), Lesser Whitethroat 26 (38), Garden Warbler 34 (49), Willow Warbler 177 (213). The other species were all slightly up this year e.g. Whitethroat 74 (60) and Blackcap 262 (226). There have been no Grasshopper Warblers this year.