The wind continued to restrict what nets could be used and it appeared to limit new arrivals as well. Birds ringed were a Magpie, two Blackcaps, a Robin and a Willow Warbler. The best was left to the very last when a Common Rosefinch was found in the Whitehouse nets. This is the first record here for 54 years. It was an an immature bird as shown by the fresh plumage amongst other things - adults do a winter moult and so look worn at this time of year. It had a fat score, on a scale of 0-8, of 5 and so had clearly been finding plenty of food. There are photos on our main sightings page.
The weather stuck two fingers up at the forecast. A breeze was actually a very stiff breeze, there was a light shower early and 20 minutes of what could almost be described as rain late morning. This all served to make ringing very difficult and there were only eight new birds - two Long-tailed Tits and singles of Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and Goldfinch, plus, amazingly, the second Redwing of summer. It was another moulting adult.
It looks as if it will be too breezy tomorrow.
A week ago showers were forecast midmorning but they disappeared from the forecast midweek. Much to our droughty surprise it rained for 20 minutes. In the 'olden days' of migration this might have brought a few birds down with it. There was no noticeable arrival and the morning ended with 37 new and 16 retrap birds. A sure sign of approaching autumn was that Blackcaps outnumbered Willow Warblers 12 to 11. Reed Warblers continued their steady trickle with another five and there was a new and retrap Lesser Whitethroat - these have been thin on the ground so far.
Just for a change it was hot and sunny. New Willow Warblers remained the same at 12 birds but there were no retraps so maybe they have moved on now. Reed Warbler increased to six and Blackcap to eight. There were also two Chiffchaffs and singles of Robin, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat.
It would be interesting to have a way of working out just how many House Sparrows are around. On Sandown Road I counted a maximum of 23 but I read four colour rings, none of which were there at the same time as the other.
Hot and sunny again. Twenty-two new birds were caught - 12 Willow Warblers, two each of Robin, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff and single Swallow, Wren, Reed Warbler, and Blue Tit.
There are still some mixed warbler/tit flocks in the area but it was quieter in the ringing area. This was compensated for by the capture of two Tree Pipits. The other new birds were two Robins, one Reed Warbler, two Whitethroats, one Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, and 19 Willow Warblers. A layer of cloud built up bringing a couple of hundred House Martins into the area but it then cleared and the wind got up so none were caught.
At one time they were forecasting showers for today but that disappeared off the map, and it was warm and dry with little breeze to start with. Eighty-three birds were caught of which 73 were new. There were 35 new and six retrap Willow Warblers. The other new birds were eighteen Blackcaps, two each of Swallow, Robin and Lesser Whitethroat, four each of Reed and Sedge Warbler, and single House Martin, Whitethroat and Treecreeper, plus three Chiffchaffs.
It will be interesting to see if Blackcaps keep going, September is normally the peak for them but they have got going already.
Warm. calm and dry again. It was another Willow Warbler morning with 23 new and four retraps. Other warblers included a Sedge Warbler, seven Reed Warblers, two Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, eight Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff. Further sign of the approach of autumn was the first Jay and five new Robins.
Thirty-nine birds were ringed of which 26 were Willow Warblers. Other migrants included the first Spotted Flycatcher this year, another Pied Flycatcher, two Reed Warblers, two Blackcaps, and Chiffchaff.
Whilst warblers are moving in good numbers there are one or two other species that are missing. Tree Pipit is heading for a second year with none and one Swallow is not a good hirundine return considering the number that are around feeding. The chance of no Sand Martins is becoming a real possibility.
Nobody available yesterday but the good run continued today with 42 new and 14 retrap birds. Although it was overcast at times the rain did not arrive until a few spots around midday. Willow Warbler led the way with 16 plus five retraps and it would seem the mass of aphids on the willows is keeping them interested in the area. There were also three Sedge Warblers, seven Reed Warblers, four each of Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat, plus two each of Garden Warbler and Blackcap, plus a Chiffchaff.
With a full team and excellent ringing conditions continuing it was another successful morning until the heat closed activity down.
There were 120 new birds and 12 retraps. Migrants were led by 46 Reed Warblers along with 15 Sedge Warblers, six Lesser Whitethroats, eight Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, 12 Blackcaps, 21 Willow Warblers, another three Pied Flycatchers, and the first Swallow of the autumn.
This time the Reed Warblers were a mix of birds with lots of fat and obvious juvenile ones still to put fat on.
Saturday 13th August
Similar state of play as to yesterday but not as many birds. We still managed 78 new birds of 19 species. The highlight was the first and only, so far, Wood Warbler of the year; about 12 days later than usual. This time Reed Warbler was the clear leader of the migrants with 30, followed by 11 Sedge Warblers (we only ringed eight in the whole of last year), ten Willow Warblers, two Lesser Whitethroats, five Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, a Blackcap, and a Chiffchaff.
The willows and sallows are covered in aphids, plus their associated wasps harvesting the sugar, and this seems to be reflected in the good fat scores of the migrants we are catching.
Friday 12th August
Things aligned and we had a full team, a calm start, and the breeze did not get up too quickly. This meant we could get everything up. One hundred and fifty one birds of 19 species were caught. One hundred and twenty nine of these were new. Migrants included the first Redstart of the year, 27 Reed Warblers, 26 Sedge Warblers (+1 control), 24 Willow Warblers (+ three retraps), two Lesser Whitethroats (+1 retrap), ten Whitethroats, two Garden Warblers, 11 Blackcaps, and four Chiffchaffs.
Wednesday 10th August
Similar hot conditions but no Pied Flycatchers this morning. There were 15 new and 13 retrap birds. A flock of Long-tailed Tits was the main event with six new and nine retraps. One of the retraps was ringed five years ago and another four years ago, not record breakers but still doing very well.
The morning had a calm start before the expected easterly got up. The highlight was the ringing of three Pied Flycatchers, the first for the year. Other birds included singles of Robin, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Great Tit and Goldfinch plus four Willow Warblers and two Reed Warblers.
A Green Woodpecker re-trap had been ringed eight years ago in 2014.
We seem to be settling in to a pattern of clear, cool, nights and hot sunny days. There were 22 new birds - 13 Willow Warblers, two Whitethroats, two Blue Tits and singles of Wren, Dunnock, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and House Sparrow.
An almost cool start did not deter the gentle trickle of birds and 43 were caught of which 31 were new. Thirteen Willow Warblers, five Reed Warblers, three Blackcaps, two Sedge Warblers, a Whitethroat and a Chiffchaff were the birds migrating.
Totally unexpected , but most welcome, there was a short shower overnight. It did not bring a fall of migrants however. Twenty four birds were ringed, 13 of which were Willow Warblers. There was also another Green Woodpecker plus four Reed Warblers, two Chiffchaffs and singles of Wren, Blackbird, Whitethroat and Goldfinch. Judging by the noise from the sparrow nest boxes the latest broods are nearing fledging.
A further slight increase to 24 new birds. Willow Warbler led the way with another 10. Other warblers included four Whitethroats, three Reed Warblers, two Sedge Warblers and a Chiffchaff.
The upward trend continues and nineteen birds were ringed this morning of which 11 were Willow Warblers plus singles of Robin, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Great Tit and Chaffinch, plus three Blue Tits. In addition six more House Sparrow pulli were ringed.
A quieter morning, perhaps last nights unexpected rain diverted migrants away from the area. There were nine new birds - three Reed Warblers and singles of Green Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, and Blackcap.