Calm, frosty, conditions welcomed us to the ringing site. Sixteen birds were caught of which six were new. This did include the first Sedge and Reed Warblers to be ringed this year.
The wind fell over night and it was a frosty, calm start allowing good coverage by the nets. Eleven birds were caught including another new Robin, a Song Thrush and two Whitethroats.
Despite the cold easterly an attempt was made to ring yielding a new Chiffchaff and Robin.
More interesting news shown by ringing was pleasing. The first involved a colour ringed Mediterranean Gull which was observed during the week. It had first been ringed in Flanders, Belgium on June 16th 2019 as a pullus. It quickly moved to Titchwell, Norfolk where it was seen on July 24th 2019. There were no more sightings until two separate sightings around Cardiff on April 10th this year and then it showed up on the Scrape on the 23rd.
The second involves a Lesser Redpoll. Having commented on a couple of previous ones which headed due west rather than north we now have a third from Hampshire this time at Stockbridge on April 16th.
Clear sky at night migrants delight,
As is often the case when the night sky is clear migrants make haste for their breeding sites and it is quiet here aside from the birds who stop here to breed. Four new birds were caught this morning- singles of Wren, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. One of our colour ringed House Sparrows was retrapped but it still remains a mystery where else they go. They still hang out at the Observatory and the start of Sandown Road but nobody else has ever reported one of the 500+ colour ringed birds.
Two brave souls ignored the early fog but finally had to admit defeat as a cold and strong easterly picked up. The three birds they caught did include the first Whitethroat of the year.
Once the net poles were sorted a start was made and 21 birds were caught. Eight of these were new – two Chiffchaffs and single Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush, and Great Tit.
A retrap Blackcap was one of last years young birds and a very blue Blue Tit had been rung five years previously.
No chicks around the Observatory but some House Sparrows have eggs and there is also a Blackbird nest with eggs. Elsewhere a Stock Dove is on two eggs.
Now that restrictions are slowly lifting a small group were able to get back into our ringing area and clear the trees which had fallen across the rides in the storms.
The next thing will be to check the nest boxes as, despite the bitter wind, the days are sunny and warm out of the wind and birds are nesting. One of our House Sparrows was on newly hatched chicks yesterday and Starling and Blackbird are on eggs.
Last month we had a recovery of one of the Lesser Redpolls from last autumn in Hampshire, sadly it was killed by a cat. However today we have received news of another one in Hampshire this time it was caught by a ringer on April 7th. Both birds were roughly due west from here and presumably on their way back to breed. Although west is often part of the direction birds moving through here come from they are usually from Wales or north-west England and Scotland.