Wednesday 24th

Warm and calm to start with and the slow trickle of migrants continues. Ten birds were ringed. This included the first Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat of the autumn. The other birds were two Robins and singles of Green Woodpecker, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. No hirundines or Swifts could be tempted in though.

A Robin retrapped in the Whitehouse was from the nest ringed in the Observatory garden. It was nice to know at least one got away from the attentions of the local cat.

Tuesday 23rd

After a very windy night it calmed down enough to try some ringing first thing. After a while drizzle and rain arrived (but no Swifts) to stop our activity for a while. In the end there were seven new birds - two Blackbirds, two Blackcaps (both of which seem to be enjoying the damper weather), and singles of Reed, Garden and Willow Warbler.

A check of boxes on Sandown Road showed House Martins starting second broods and three small broods of House Sparrow.

Saturday 20th

Whilst most of us are hoping for hot sunny days like this to show that summer can happen, the first birds are heading home to Africa. Amongst a catch of 19 new birds was the first Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler of the autumn plus a juvenile Cuckoo, the first of the year. The other birds were locally bred. Namely two Dunnocks, a Robin, four Blackbirds, three Whitethroats, two Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs and a Chaffinch.

Friday 19th

Hot, calm, conditions yielded another 18 birds. Best of all was a Sand Martin. The others were all local young birds - Wren 2, Dunnock 1, Robin 3, Song Thrush 1, Whitethroat 2, Blackcap 5, Chiffchaff 2 and Great Tit 1.

The House Sparrow struggles continue. There were two nests to check today and in one the eggs had disappeared but the other had three healthy chicks. There are still some eggs being laid though.

Wednesday 17th

Well, it had to be done. We started checking the nest boxes to see how the tits had faired and so far it is not good. Out of ten occupied boxes in the Elms and Guilford Road two successfully fledged all the chicks, two failed completely, and the others only had partial success. In one there was even a dead adult.

Lets hope Middle Field boxes fair better.

Tuesday 16th

Sunday was a successful mornings ringing with 30 new birds. Singles of Swallow and Starling were notable and a juvenile Bullfinch was good news. Blackcaps appear to be bucking the unsuccessful nesting trend with another nine ringed.

A check of the sparrow boxes last week showed just one brood to be ringed - they are having a terrible year.

It would be great if members could help by recording any colour ringed birds. Has there been a die-off of adults or are they just not finding it suitable to nest.

Sunday 7th

After a very windy night the day started very calm. The sprinkling of fledging birds continues and eleven were ringed. Blackcaps continue to suggest they, at least, are doing well with six more ringed. The other new birds were two Chiffchaffs and singles of Blackbird, Song Thrush and Whitethroat.

Friday 5th

Five movements of birds ringed at the Observatory have been reported to us. The furthest was a Blackbird ringed as a juvenile female on November 25th 2022 and taken by a cat in Finland (1813 km NE) on June 16th this year. The second demonstrates the value of checking any dead bird you find. It was a House Martin ringed as a chick at the Sandown Road colony on June 15th 2022 and found dead on a lawn on the Estate on May 25th. The third was a Chiffchaff ringed here on April 21st and holding territory 93km to the north at Witnesham, Suffolk in May and June. The other two were returning birds which passed through here as juveniles. A Blackcap here on September 8th 2023 and near Southend on June 30th, and finally a Reed Warbler here on August 12th 2022 and in breeding condition near Slough (143 vkm WNW) on May 1st.

Monday 1st

Nesting birds continue to find conditions challenging. A check at the weekend showed one of the Barn Owl nests had gone from four chicks and two eggs to one, at least fat, chick. Today there were no House Sparrows ready to ring and a couple of failed nests.