Wednesday 30th

Overnight rain seems to have prevented migration and there were just five new birds. Four of these were Blackcaps and the fifth was the first Swallow we have ringed this year.

A quick comparison of the monthly total for August this year and for August last year shows a total of 758 new birds this August and 828 last August. Most of the regular species have fairly similar numbers apart from Sedge Warbler, down from 70 to 30 and Reed Warbler down from 150 to 108. This comes as a bit of a surprise to me as there were certainly plenty of Reed Warbler territories in the surrounding area.

Tuesday 29th

A calm start with cloud increasing. Despite this we still have only caught three hirundines and we could not add to this today. Twenty-five birds were ringed with seven Willow Warblers indicating a gentle trickle of migrants. The other birds were: seven Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs, two each of Robin, Reed Warbler and Whitethroat and one each of Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat.

Most of the Robins are now well advanced, if not complete, with their post-juvenile moult.

Sunday 27th

Today was unusual in that it was breezier in the morning than mid-afternoon. With our Open Day going on we had enough of a team to keep the nets going until late afternoon when showers arrived. We caught 40 new birds and 24 retraps. A Linnet was new for the year and a Sand Martin was only the third adult hirundine to be caught this year on the Estate. The rest of the cast of new birds was; Green Woodpecker 1, Dunnock 2, Robin 2, Reed Warbler 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Whitethroat 4, Blackcap 11, Chiffchaff 3, Willow Warbler 7, and Great Tit 4.

Saturday 26th

It was an unsettled night and we arrived to a light shower. Very little had moved overnight although we had hoped the shower might deliver more than wet stuff. Nineteen birds were ringed. As normal Blackcap was most numerous with seven. The following were also ringed - Wren 1, Reed Warbler 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Whitethroat 2, Chiffchaff 1 , Willow warbler 3 and Chaffinch 1.

Friday 25th

Although there was little of the threatened thunder there was definitely rain yesterday extending into the evening. It seems to have deterred birds from moving and it was fairly quit this morning. Twenty birds were ringed with a more autumnal feel to the total Blackcap was most numerous with six, followed by Chiffchaff with three. There were no Garden Warblers and just two Willow Warblers.

Wednesday 23rd

A lovely calm, clear, morning. Thirty-six birds were ringed. These were 12 Willow Warblers, six Blackcaps, five Whitethroats, three Reed Warblers, two each of Robin, Garden Warbler and Blue Tit, plus singles of Dunnock, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler and Chiffchaff.

It is noticeable that the migrants hanging around are starting to lay down more fat stores.

Tuesday 22nd

A nice, fairly calm, clear morning provided a few new arrivals but I suspect many birds are just continuing south. Forty six birds were ringed - 20 Willow Warblers, seven Long-tailed Tits, five each of Reed Warbler and Blackcap, three Chiffchaffs, two Lesser Whitethroats, and singles of Robin, Garden Warbler, Blue Tit and Chaffinch. The season is advancing as evidenced by Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs starting to show up.

Elsewhere though the House Martins are busy making up for the late start and several are starting their next brood. Out of nine nests three were stating new clutches and three had recently hatched chicks. How they do will depend on Septembers weather. We have not had many sets of eggs at this time in recent years.

Sunday 20th

The warm sunny weather continues and migrants continue to fly south rather than stopping here. There were 16 new birds the highlight of which was the first Spotted Flycatcher for the year. Three Blackbirds added to the number of red colour-ringed birds out there. Local birds are being colour-ringed as part of a national survey into what diseases some birds carry and how this affects their population.

Saturday 19th

Breezy again but from the opposite, westerly, direction and it was not quite as strong. Again there was no sign of much arriving with just two new Willow Warblers. So it was a pleasant surprise to find an Icterine Warbler in the net. There were fifteen new birds I total, a family group of four Whitethroats was the most numerous species.

Friday 18th

A very fresh easterly welcomed the ringers first thing. Not conducive to migrants arriving in good numbers but there is always the hope of something out of the ordinary. This proved to be the case with just 14 new birds. However, one of these was our first Red-backed Shrike since 2000.

Red-backed Shrike. August 18th 2023. R Stevenson

Wednesday 16th

A completely calm start seemed to result in a lot of migrants just continuing on their journey. There did seem to be a small increase around 0900. Thirty-four birds were ringed most of which were migrants. The highlight was two Pied Flycatchers. The others were six Reed Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, four Whitethroats, three Garden Warblers, two Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs and 12 Willow Warblers.

It is pleasing to note that more birds are gaining fat stores with a couple of warblers up to fat score 5.

Tuesday 15th

A lovely, calm, morning in fact it was so nice it appeared most birds had kept going overnight. With only a small team the amount of nets was limited. Twenty-nine birds were caught of which 20 were new. These were single Sedge Warbler, Great Tit, and Chaffinch, five Whitethroats, two Garden Warblers and eight Willow Warblers. Some of the Willow Warblers that came in over the last few days are still hanging around, mostly within a large mixed tit flock, with five retrapped.

Sunday 13th

This time there was a breeze to start with and it picked up through the morning resulting in a mid-morning finish to proceedings. We still managed 67 new birds and 15 retraps. We finally managed to catch a couple of Sand Martins - the first this year! A Jay was another highlight. The rest were 1 Wren, 3 Robins, 2 Sedge Warblers, 17 Reed Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Whitethroats, 3 Garden Warblers, 3 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs and 27 Willow Warblers.

Saturday 12th

Another calm start but the wind got up by mid-morning and rapidly slowed things down. A catch of 86 new and 10 retraps was good in the circumstances. Willow Warbler retook the lead with 34. A nice variety was provided by 2 Wrens, 4, Dunnocks, 1 Robin, 1 Blackbird, 8 Sedge Warblers, 10 Reed Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Whitethroats, 10 Garden Warblers (they are having a good autumn), 1 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blue Tits, 1 Great Tit and 3 House Sparrows.

Friday 11th

The first day of our intensive ringing weekend and the weather was kind to start with. It was a mild, calm, start with cloud gathering.

One hundred and forty birds were ringed and 20 retrapped.

The new birds were Woodpigeon 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Dunnock 3, Robin 5, Sedge Warbler 14, Reed Warbler 49, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Whitethroat 7, Garden Warbler 3, Blackcap 4, Willow Warbler 43,Chiffchaff 3, Great Tit 3, Chaffinch 1 and, new for the year Treecreeper 1.

It was pleasing to note that some of the warblers are laying down good layers of fat.

Thursday 10th

A check of a different set of House Martin nest boxes, just 25 meters across the road showed a different picture with several broods nearing fledging.

Wednesday 9th

We were able to muster a small team today but with rain, not the predicted drizzle, into the night there were no obvious new arrivals around the ringing area. Twenty-five birds were ringed of which 14 were Willow Warblers. They had probably been around a day or so as they had some fat stores. There were also two Reed Warblers, two Garden Warblers and a Blackcap amongst the migrants.

Monday 7th

After two mornings written off due to wind and/or rain, this morning was better, although more breezy than expected.

Fifty-one birds were ringed. Willow Warbler was most numerous with 32. Other warblers included an adult Sedge, a Reed, three Whitethroats, three Garden warblers and a Blackcap. The local Whitethroats are busy moulting as illustrated by a retrap adult.

Friday 4th

The birds and the ringing team chose to ignore the forecast. The day started calm and sunny and stayed that way all morning-great conditions.

Seventy-eight birds were ringed with 41 Willow Warblers and 13 Garden Warblers of particular note. There was also the first Cetti's Warbler for the year and there could be more to come as there are lots in the nearby ditches. A reflection on how below-average the year has been was that we had the first two controls, apart from a couple of Blue Tits, for the year. One was a Reed Warbler and the other a Green Woodpecker.

Thursday 3rd

A check of some of the local House Martin nest boxes showed they are still trying to catch up with four out of nine nests starting new clutches and one nest with newly hatched chicks.

Tuesday 1st

The wind did not drop as much as forecast but it was still down enough for ringing. Birds were on the move and the reward was a Wood Warbler. Twenty one birds were ringed with seven Willow Warblers leading the southward passage. Other warblers included three each of Garden Warbler and Blackcap plus two each of Whitethroat and Chiffchaff.

Wood Warbler. August 1st 2023. I Hunter