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Our Treasurer, is moving from the area and so is stepping down from his post. We need somebody to step up to the mark. Bo has prepared a short manual to describe what he does and how it is done and would like to help ease a new person in if possible. Contact email@example.com
As the named storm draws closer the forecasts proved even more unreliable. Nets were put up and then closed as rain set in but not before yielding another Firecrest and an adult male Blackbird with a Danish ring. Once the rain passed through the day developed into a nice, mild, one. Nets were opened again and 43 birds were ringed. Lesser Redpoll continued to provide the bulk with 31. The highlight was, at last, a Yellow-browed Warbler.
The weather is proving unpredictable but we did manage to grab an hour before the heavens opened again. It remains mild and it was possible to see Swallows flying around above a couple of Fieldfares. Fourteen birds were ringed-six Goldcrests, four Lesser Redpoll and singles of Robin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Great Tit. Of particular note was a Firecrest retrap which had been ringed a month before but not caught inbetween time.
Once early rain cleared we hoped to get three hours in but in the end it was just an hour. It did not need a meteorologist to look to the west and see dark clouds heading towards us. There is still migration going on with a sprinkling of Goldcrests and Swallows around.
We ringed eight birds- five Goldcrests ( all pleasingly with a bit of fat),two Chiffchaffs and a Song Thrush.
Having being mislead by earlier forecasts we decided to give it a go this morning and , although the ringers ended up wet, it was worth it. Before hjeavy rain brought an end to proceedings 78 birds were ringed. Lesser Redpoll remained top species with 41 and there were 11 Blackbirds, nine Goldcrests, six Redwing, four Blackcaps, two each of Robin and Chiffchaff, plus single Wren, Song Thrush and Firecrest.
The morning started fairly calm but the breeze picked up strongly by late morning. It was another busy morning with 184 birds ringed. Lesser Redpoll was the main feature again and 149 were ringed, despite the number ringed yesterday there were no retraps and there were also no controls.
The other species ringed were also typical autumn species, namely two Robins, one Blackbird, six Chiffchaffs, 16 Goldcrests, and a Goldfinch.
There were still some Swallows around but the breeze meant the nets were visible to them.
A beautiful sunny day. Quite a few of the thrushes and crests which were around seem to have moved on but there was still a nice selection around. The main feature was the Redpoll and Siskin passage. We were able to sample a section of the many moving over. One hundred and fifty three Lesser Redpolls (plus one control) and nine Siskin were ringed. Chiffchaff was next most frequent with 39. The rest of the 233 birds were singles of Wren and Firecrest, two each of Fieldfare and Blue Tit, three each of Robin and Song Thrush, five Blackcaps, six Goldcrests and nine each of Goldcrest and Blackbird.
Unlike the warblers passing through which are nearly all juveniles there are about a quarter adults amongst the finches.
We have been relatively fortunate here but there has still been plenty of strong wind and rain to prevent ringing. This has given time to catch up on some of the reports of our rings.
The most notable is a Black-headed Gull we ringed as an adult in Ramsgate on November 23rd 1999. The ring was read in the field in Denmark on June 29th this year. The ring itself is now 8619 days old and the bird at least a couple more years old. Looking at the sites it was presumably wintering in East Kent but breeding somewhere to the north-east in Denmark.
The forecast for the wind increased over the last few days and indeed it was strong. Fortunately there was just a hint of south in the easterly meaning we could run a few nets for a while (it does not look as if we will be so lucky over the next couple of days). Twelve birds were ringed. Five Robins and three Song Thrushes suggested some birds had mover despite the wind strength. There were also singles of Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff and Blackbird.
The first frost of the autumn welcomed us and with fairly calm conditions plus thick cloud approaching from the south we were hopeful. It was not to be, even some light showers did not help. There was an autumnal mix in the 23 birds ringed. This included the first Fieldfare (2) and Brambling of the year. Other migrants included five each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff, two greyish Blackbirds, two Goldcrests, a Siskin and a Firecrest.
Cool and breezy with a warm sun. Thirty eight birds were ringed, 20 of these were Lesser Redpolls. There was an increase in Blackcaps with 10 ringed, followed by four Chiffchaffs, three Siskins and, new for the year, a Magpie. Unlike yesterday there were only 3 retraps - all local birds.
The forecast talked of the drop in temperature and this was noticeable but only bringing us to average October conditions. The breeze was the cooling factor and it also limited which nets were effective. Twenty six birds were ringed and 17 retrapped. The new birds were ten Chiffchaffs, eight Lesser Redpolls, three Blackcaps two Siskins, two Goldcrests and a Redwing.
As often happens the Redpoll showed up mid-morning and the wind limited what could be caught by then. One of the Redwing from a few days ago was retrapped.
For once it was less breezy than expected and with thick cloud conditions were good. Sixty-six birds were ringed 39 Lesser Redpoll, 19 Chiffchaffs, seven Blackcaps and a Song Thrush. There was also a Redpoll control.
With only a small team it was not possible to have a try for the groups of Swallows which appeared just to prove my comment yesterday wrong.
The forecast for the next couple of days is not favourable and we might even get some rain.
Calm and mild again but unsettled weather is approaching. The catch reduced to 68 new birds - 30 Chiffchaffs, 22 Blackcaps, four Goldcrests, three each of Song Thrush and Lesser Redpoll, two each of Robin and Blue Tit plus single Wren and Blackbird. A typical autumn catch with wind from the south-west.
It seems unlikely we will get a chance to ring many, if any, more hirundines. Although I heard one early yesterday there have been no more since.
A calm, mild, morning with high cloud building. This led to a catch of 128 birds. Both top species were down by two on yesterday-53 Chiffchaffs and 33 Blackcaps. Lesser Redpoll were next with 25. More signs of autumn were six Redwing, two Song Thrushes and a Blackbird. Unlike the departing Blackcaps the thrushes were all low fat scores, this as a result of their journey across the North Sea. The highlight in the heligoland was the first Sparrowhawk of the year. This is a late first as Sparrowhawks are around most days and have 'bounced' from nets a few times.
There were 12 retraps, including eight Long-tailed Tits, and a UK ringed Lesser Redpoll.
This time it was much calmer, it remained warm and dry. One hundred and three birds were ringed. Chiffchaff reached 55 and Blackcap 35 plus there was a Reed Warbler. More reflective of this date in October were singles of Song Thrush, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker and five Long-tailed Tits. A reminder of autumn heading this way were the first Redwings of autumn with three ringed.
Another breezier than expected morning. Thirty five birds were ringed - 23 Chiffchaffs, nine Blackcaps, two Goldcrests and a Blue Tit. It would appear that birds are continuing on their journey south as there were no retraps.
The mild, dry, spell continues but it was breezier than expected. This meant one or two sites could not be used. The catch was still 96 new birds plus a control Blackcap. The morning started with another Cetti's Warbler, this one flew into the net as it was being put up. The other new birds were 75 Chiffchaffs, 13 Blackcaps, four Lesser Redpoll and singles of Goldcrest, Firecrest and Blue Tit. The Redpolls were the first to be ringed this year.
A fresher feel to the breeze but high cloud helped improve early conditions. As often happens in October there is an increase in species variety. Today there were 104 new birds of seven species. Blackcap and Chiffchaff both reached 46 but there were also four Long-tailed Tits, three Siskins, three Goldcrests, a Song Thrush and a smart looking first-year male Redstart.
A bit more breeze today but not enough to deter the flow of migrants. One hundred and forty-five birds were ringed and two retrapped. Chiffchaff was again most numerous with 82 followed by 57 Blackcaps (plus a retrap). There was also a retrap Cetti's Warbler plus three new Blue Tits and two Blackcaps.
With this number of birds being caught in a small number of nets it emphasises just how many birds are along the coast each morning.