Monday 30th

The mild weather continues to suppress migration. Nine birds were ringed. These were a Robin, two Song Thrushes, a Great Tit, two Chaffinches and three Lesser Redpoll.

Saturday 29th

The very mild spell seems to have put a stop to typical migration, indeed there were several Swallows which we might have caught if the breeze had not picked up again.

Fourteen birds were ringed - four Lesser Redpolls, three Chiffchaffs, two each of Song Thrush and Goldcrest, and single Blackbird, Blue Tit and Great Tit.

Apart from a few Song Thrushes there was no thrush activity first thing. It was noticeable how the Chiffchaffs were all carrying lots of fat and obviously enjoying this weather. The same cannot be said for a Chiffchaff ringed here on September 28th which managed 526 km south before flying into a window in Poitiers, France.

Friday 28th

This time the breeze increased from a reasonable start and meant ringing was curtailed. Twenty-seven birds were ringed and 12 retrapped. The best of the new birds were 15 Lesser Redpolls, a Siskin and a Fieldfare.

Wednesday 26th

The wind was much stronger than expected and so only a few rides were suitable. It was noticeable that there were not lots of Blackbirds calling as we headed out this time (and indeed we only caught one). In all there were 43 new birds, 34 of which were Lesser Redpolls.

Tuesday 25th

After two unringable days the wind dropped and it was a mild, clear, morning. Before the sun rose we could hear Blackbirds in the bushes and so to catch only six was a bit of a surprise. In all 73 birds were ringed the main part of which were 40 Lesser Redpolls (plus a control). The other new birds were seven Goldcrests, four Song Thrushes, four Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, and single Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Firecrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, and Chaffinch, plus the first Fieldfare of the autumn. A retrap Blue Tit had been ringed six years ago which is not bad going for our Blue Tits.

Saturday 22nd

A rollercoaster with the wind but still mild. It started much breezier than forecast, then dropped, and then picked up again. All from the south-west.

A slight increase to 48 new birds but less thrushes. The new birds were Blackbird 13, Long-tailed Tit eight, Robin five, Chaffinch four, three each of Redwing, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, two each of Song Thrush, Blackcap, Firecrest and Lesser Redpoll plus one Blue Tit.

Although the thrushes were new in with low fat scores the chiffchaffs and crests had plenty of fat with scores up to 5 (out of 8).

Friday 21st

It remains very mild and before the wind got up conditions were good for ringing. An interesting variety of birds were caught. These were 12 Blackbirds, nine Redwing, seven Robins, four Blackcaps, three each of Song Thrush and Goldcrest, two each of Chiffchaff and Firecrest plus a Sparrowhawk.

Thursday 20th

No ringing possible as heavy squalls passed through from the west. There have been a number of Blackcap movements of late shown up by rings to and from here. Four birds arriving here had moved in a roughly SE direction ( from Rutland-221km SE, Stanford Reservoir,Northants-214km SE, Hollesley Heath, Suffolk-88km S, and Menthorpe, North Yorks-324km SSE). A fifth bird had come 131km ENE from Worthing, West Sussex. All this is what might be expected for birds gathering in this corner before hopping across the Channel on their way south. Another bird ringed here was just 17km away to the north-west eight days later and may have just being buliding up stores and waiting for the best conditions to head off. But this may not have been the case as a second bird ringed here was caught in Cambridgeshire six days later, 161km NW. Was it lost or an example of the Blackcaps arriving in the UK to winter?

Wednesday 19th

Considering the strength of the easterly it was pleasing to get a few, low, nets up.A catch of 17 was not bad considering. This included three Redwing, four Song Thrushes and the surprise of a very late Garden Warbler.It was a young bird with a wing of 84mm, right at the top of the range.

Tuesday 18th

A clear, calm, start to the morning with a bit of mist floating around. An interesting mix of birds made up the fifty-two new ones. It included the first Lesser Redpolls (2) of the year plus the second Yellow-browed Warbler. Blackcap just outnumbered Chiffchaff 17 to 16. Other new birds included single Woodpigeons, Blackbird, Redwing and Goldfinch, two each of Firecrest and Goldcrest, three Blue Tits, and five Song Thrushes.

Unlike a couple of weeks ago a few of the Chiffchaffs (2) and Goldcrests (3) are staying around and being retrapped. The blackcaps continue to show good levels of fat. The fact that the Yellow-browed Warbler also had a good fat score indicated it had not just dropped in from across the sea.

Yellow-browed Warbler. October 18th 2022. R. Johnson

Sunday 16th

Although conditions were good for ringing the overnight rain seems to have deterred new arrivals and there were just 19 new birds - one Blackbird, two Blackcaps, seven Chiffchaffs, three Goldcrests, three Blue Tits, two Great Tits and a Chaffinch. The weather also deterred birds from moving on and there were four retrap Chiffchaffs.

Saturday 15th

It was another morning when forecasts could not agree. It started overcast and damp and the rain did arrive by 9.30. Just a few nets were used and 24 birds were ringed- one Blackbird, six Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs and four Goldcrests.. As the rain approached a swirling flock of House Martins appeared and then moved quickly on without stopping.

Friday 14th

Very good conditions with cloud and no wind led to a catch of 125 new birds. This consisted of a Robin, three Blackbirds, four Song Thrushes, 28 Blackcaps,78 Chiffchaffs, nine Goldcrests and two Blue Tits.

Wednesday 12th

A cold, clear, start to the night encouraged more birds to head south. By dawn thicker cloud gathered preventing any frost and it was also calm giving good ringing conditions. There were 87 new and eight retrap birds. Chiffchaff is now the most numerous with 52 followed by 13 Blackcaps, eight Blue Tits, five Blackbirds, three Goldcrests, two each of Song Thrush and Great Tit, plus single Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Whilst the Blackcaps continue to have good fat scores a good number of the Chiffchaffs were fresh in and had lower scores.

Tuesday 11th

A calm, clear, start with the first ground frost of the autumn. Although we managed to catch a bird with a crown stripe and clear eye stripe, this time it was a Firecrest. In total there were 47 new birds four retraps and a control. The other new birds were very much standard autumn fayre - 18 Blackcaps, 17 Chiffchaffs, four Blackbirds, three Goldcrests, two Chaffinches, and single Song Thrush and Redwing.

Monday 10th

Last week the forecasts for today had been quite good but suddenly the threat of rain appeared on the forecast at the weekend. We went for the most optimistic forecast which gave us until 10 and it paid off. The highlight appeared in a net just before the rain appeared on the horizon - our first ever Yellow-browed Bunting. The slight wear on the tail indicated it was a bird of the year.

The supporting cast was another Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Goldcrests, single Firecrest, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, 12 Chiffchaffs and 14 Blackcaps.

Yellow-browed Bunting. October 10th 2022. I Hunter


Sunday 9th

It calmed down and cleared overnight and this encouraged lots of migration. One hundred and forty-four birds were ringed before the wind got up. The catch reflected the number of Chiffchaffs which could be heard in the bushes and 83 were ringed. Next were 45 Blackcaps followed by four each of Blue Tit and Goldcrest, two Song Thrushes, and singles of Blackbird, Dunnock, Firecrest, Great Tit and Goldfinch.

Saturday 8th

With the forecast of a belt of rain and wind sweeping across from the west overnight it seems that few birds moved. Thirty two were ringed - 17 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, four Goldfinches and a Goldcrest. I think today was the first day when I have not seen a single hirundine around the trapping area.

Friday 7th

A calmer night and start to the day before the breeze picked up allowed more birds to move. Eighty-three were ringed. It was a typical autumn mix with singles of Robin and Song Thrush, two Blackbirds, three each of Goldcrest, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Greenfinch plus eight each of Blue Tit and Goldfinch.

It is a sad reflection of the plight of Greenfinches that these are the first to be ringed this year.

Thursday 6th

With yesterdays gales continuing into the evening there seems to have been no incentive for migrants to get going. Twenty three birds were ringed - a Great Spotted Woodpecker, nine Blackcaps, ten Chiffchaffs, a Blue Tit, and a Siskin. The latter have been in short supply so far this year. The Firecrest caught the other day was retrapped

Tuesday 4th

Overcast but breezy conditions meant hirundines were flying low and we actually managed to catch some before they moved on. In all, 92 birds were ringed and for the first time for a few weeks Blackcap was not the most numerous species. The catch was made up of the first Sand Martins (4) for the year, 37 Swallows, 10 House Martins, a Robin, two Blackbirds, a standard Lesser Whitethroat, 12 Blackcaps, 24 Chiffchaffs and a Great Tit.

Unlike previous days the warblers were low in fat but there are still plenty of aphids and Blackberries around.

Monday 3rd

A calm, clear, start with thin cloud developing gave good ringing conditions. One hundred and seventy birds were caught of which 163 were new. The mix included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Robin, a Firecrest, a Blue Tit, two Chaffinches, three Song Thrushes, three Great Tits, 51 Chiffchaffs and 94 Blackcaps.

Once again the warblers mostly have lots of fat. There was a retrap Great Spotted Woodpecker which decided to emphasise how rotten some of the wood in the Heligoland is by tapping holes in it.

Sunday 2nd

At least one of the forecasters was honest enough to say that they got it wrong. Instead of rain arriving late morning it was raining before dawn and then cleared. The overcast conditions were good but the rain had deterred migrants. Forty-four birds were ringed; 23 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs, six Goldcrests, a Swallow, and a Blackbird.

Saturday 1st

After the storm swept through last night it was pleasing to be able to get a couple of nets up before the wind returned. There were 27 new birds - 15 Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs, two Blue Tits, four Great Tits, and best of all a Firecrest. Most of the birds had plenty of fat suggesting they had arrived before the storm and not risked moving on.