Tuesday 27th

After a run of mild, damp, and/or windy days this morning dawned clear and a frost formed. It only lasted a couple of hours as cloud rolled in. The bushes were very quiet and only eight birds were caught. Two of these were new, firstly a Chaffinch and finally a Redwing. This could be the last bird ringed this year as the forecast for the rest of the week is very unsettled. The retraps were a Goldcrest, a Dunnock and four Robins.

Sunday 18th

The reward for the small team who got out this morning was a Teal. This is only the third to be caught on the Estate and the first to be ringed since 2009. The other new birds were a Wren, a Blackbird, and a Redwing.

Saturday 17th

Although there was no snow the strength of the frost during the last week was impressive. This morning there was a strong frost to start with but it did recede. There was a bit more breeze than expected but not enough to prevent ringing. Thirty-three birds were caught of which 15 were new. It was an interesting mix with two more Blackcaps and single Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Starling and Chaffinch. There were two House Sparrows and four Redwings. Best of all was a Snipe in the Heligoland. This is the first to be ringed by the Observatory since August 2006 - before one our Trainees was born! The Starling is sadly a scarce bird these days apart from the pulli we do in the summer. A retrap Blue Tit had been ringed here in 2016 and so is doing well for around here.

Saturday 10th

It was very calm and the frost remained all day in any spot out of the warm sun. A morning session yielded 28 birds; 17 of which were new. Redwing led the way again with 12 birds, all juveniles. Two new Robins and single Blackbird, Blackcap, and Blue Tit were the other new birds. By now the Blackcap is probably an overwintering bird rather than a very late migrant.

A Snipe was still around and even went into a net but left as quickly as it arrived.

Friday 9th

Some sessions now are being used to get on with essential maintenance but today was used for ringing. Thirty-four birds were caught of which ten were new. Seven of these were Redwings, plus two Song Thrushes and a Chaffinch. Chaffinch was the most numerous retrap with seven birds. Robins were keeping warm by chasing each other around and six were retrapped.

Two Snipes in the Whitehouse paddock were an unusual record but were not interested in being ringed.

Tuesday 6th

The forecasts was hopeful with the wind due to drop and the sky clearing. As it happens conditions were nearly the opposite with heavy rain overnight and still going before dawn and a stiff breeze. Fortunately the rain stopped but the breeze greatly limited what could be done. Seventeen birds were caught of which eight were new. The highlight was a Grey Wagtail in the crow trap. We have ringed less than 20 of these in the last 70 years. The other new birds were two Blackbirds, two Chaffinches and single Fieldfare, Goldcrest and Goldfinch.

There are plenty of winter thrushes flying around but they are busy feeding in the outlying hawthorns as the cold conditions approach.

Sunday 4th

The wind dropped enough for a bit more ringing and 21 birds were caught of which 12 were new. No more Swallows but there was another Chiffchaff. The rest were more typical winter fayre - a Wren, five Blackbirds, a Song Thrush, two Redwings, a House Sparrow and a Goldfinch.

Saturday 3rd

After a week of frustration with mostly bad weather we were able to get one or two nets up out of the strong easterly. The first bird into the net was a Swallow! The only other new bird was a Blackbird. Five retraps consisted of a Goldcrest, two Blue Tits and a Great Tit