As reward for their persistance, and for repairing a couple of shelf strings, the group were rewarded with an interesting mornings ringing. Twenty seven birds were processed of which eleven were new. A Mistle Thrush reflected the upsurge in numbers around this year but the highlight was a Cuckoo. It is a while since one of these was ringed here.
Once the cloud cleared it was suprisingly pleasant before the arrival of the late morning drizzle. The previous nights wet had not encouraged much to stop and the ringing total was just two Willow Warblers in two and a half hours.
The forecast was correct for once and there was no rain until midday. Seven birds were ringed this included a Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler which were both new arrivals judging by their lack of breeding condition. The highlight was yet another new Yellowhammer.
A check of the nest boxes around the obervatory revealed several Starlings and House Sparrows busy with full clutches of eggs. The rest of the boxes were still in the process of having nests built.
The main aim of today was to start checking the nest boxes so as to get an idea what is going on. To be honest we are none the wiser. None of the boxes in middle field had any eggs and most had not completed nest building. However along the road there was a clutch of ten Blue Tit eggs which may already have been deserted as they were cold and another box had a Great Tit sitting very tight. I have heard from nearby sparrows are already on eggs and so it is going to be worth continuing to check. The woodpeckers are still giving the boxes stick, even the reinforced front boxes, but so far they have left the ones with metal plates. It looks as if we will have to try and get some more of these donated.
The net at the back of the ringing room was put up whilst we had a restorative coffee and 14 birds were processed including two more new House Sparrows. Where do they all come from, and go to? A Chiffchaff was probably a new arrival as it showed no signs of readiness for breeding.
Another hot, sunny, day but a breezae got up quickly limiting netting. The finch net was not possible and only six new birds were ringed. This did include the first Whitethroat of the year.
Late news of yesterdays results. Another glorious, calm, morning resulted in 52 birds being processed of which 31 were new. Migrants were represented by six Blackcaps, three Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff and our first Lesser Whitethroat of the year.
BAZ our most frequently seen House Sparrow disappeared at the start of last autumn but BAF still shows up along Sandown Road. He was at least one year old when ringed on May 11th 2015.
A calm, clear, night followed by a lovely, warm, calm morning ensured that no migrants stopped unless they were setting up territory. Although the latter included a few Lesser Whitethroats and a Cuckoo and Whitethroat none of these were caught. Seed-eaters made up the bulk of the catch of 21 new birds and ten retraps.
Goldfinch led the way with eleven new plus a control of a French ringed bird and a couple of retraps of birds not seen since last spring. Five House Sparrows were colour ringed to add to the RAS project.
Having been away for a week it was frustrating that the forecast for this morning threatenned a stiff breeze and so ringing was not on.
Another recovery has come in this time of a Blackbird, ringed here on 4/11/2016, and taken by a cat on 8/4/2018 at Odder,Denmark. A movement of 781 km north-east which is quite typical for thrush wintering here.
Although it was damp and overcast there was none of the heavy rain that fell inland. The overnight rain did reduce the number of new arrivals. Twenty birds were processed of which eleven were new. Migrants consisted of three Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps. A Yellowhammer added colour and variety.
A calm, overcast, start meant there were a few birds around. In the end 27 were processed including 21 new birds. Chiffchaff led the way with eight, half of these were definitely males as their cloaca were developing. Six Blackcaps and a Firecrest joined in the arrival. A Willow Warbler was the first for the year and was also possibly a male as his wing was 70mm. The other new bird for the year, and the ringer, was a Jay.
Although it barely dropped there was enough change in direction to allow a bit of ringing. Out of 22 birds twelve were new. This included fresh arivals of three Chiffchaffs, three Song Thrushes and a Blackcap.
Some more recoveries reflecting the increased activity of ringing and research just across the Channel.
Goldcrest ringed here 18/9/17 and controlled at the ringing station at Dunes du Fort Vert, Pas De Calais on the 29th and 30th of the same month.
Blackcap ringed here 25/9/17 and controlled at the Dunes du Fort Vert on 26/9/17.
Goldfinch ringed at Wirwignes, Pas de Calais on 24/3/17 and controlled here on 10/1/18.
Sparrowhawk ringed here on 23/9/14 and released after entering a building at Les Hemmes d’Oye, Pas de Calais on 23/2/18. Does this bird commute regularly across the Channel or was it moving a bit south following birds pushed out by the cold spell?
We have been fortunate here and avoided the snow, indeed it has been mild if windy. The wind has prevented ringing activity.
A big batch of recoveries has collected with our ringing secretary whilst he was away and I will mention some whilst we cannot ring.
The first group involves Lesser Redpolls. There is a record from 2008 which has come through. It involves an adult male ringed at the observatory on 27/10/2008 and controlled at Hodister, Belgium on 28/11/2008 which is 313 km ESE. The next two are both birds ringed here in autumn 2016. The first was controlled at Swaffham, Norfolk on the 24th March this year, the second was controlled on the same day but at Geddington, Northants.
The last record shows what can be done with a bit of determination. It was ringed as an adult male here on 2/10/2015 and READ IN THE FIELD in the Vendee, France on the 7th January this year.
The wind and rain relented enough for some ringing to be done. Fourteen birds were processed including eight new ones. Another Chiffchaff and Firecrest plus the first Blackcap of the year clearly had not seen tomorrows forecast.