It was very windy but there are enough leaves on the bushes to allow some nets to be used. Fourteen birds were ringed two of which were Garden Warblers. Blackcaps continue to show they have had a successful season with another four young ringed. Probably as a result of the very unsettled weather to the west there were no Willow Warblers.
Frustratingly this windy spell looks set to continue and although we are ready and the trap is repaired it looks as if there will be few opportunities to ring this week.
Despite all the work needed on the heligoland we took a break today as conditions were so settled. Autumn is definitely on its way, we ringed a mix of local breeders and migrants on their way south. There were 31 new birds. Warblers included the first Sedge Warbler of the year, three Reed Warblers (plus a retrap of an adult from three years ago), three Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, four Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs and four Willow Warblers. The only things we could not tempt were Swifts and hirundines.
With a calm and overcast start forecast some of us took a break from repairing the Heligoland to do some ringing. Seventeen new birds were caught. We were able to make a start on our participation in the national project studying some common garden birds such as Blackbirds. It aims to look at survival and the effect of disease and involves colour ringing local Blackbirds. We rang and colour ringed three Blackbirds. The other birds ringed were two Robins, four Whitethroats, five Blackbirds, two Chiffchaffs and a Blue Tit. The warblers were all young birds still developing their plumage.
A check of House Sparrow nest boxes on a local house revealed that they are trying to make up for the slow start and still busy nesting. There was one brood of recently hatched chicks, a nest with four eggs and one with three eggs. The House Martins are also still busy.
Apart from some pulli there has been very little activity in terms of actual ringing. It is very difficult to know what is happening with the House Sparrows. Although there are plenty of birds around there are only a few active nests, the delay during the long, cold, north-easterly spell seems to have continued into the current hot spell. It would really contribute a lot if everyone started recording colour-ringed Sparrows, are the adults actually surviving?
The main thrust has been the on-going repairs to the Heligoland. These are taking much longer than hoped due to the amount of rotten wood.