Saturday 29th

We have had notification of some interesting movements. Two were Lesser Redpolls ringed here last autumn. The first was caught at Brandon, Norfolk on May 2nd (142 km NNW). The second was on Bardsey Island, Gwynedd (455km WNW) on April 20th. Two involve birds ringed abroad which we retrapped here last autumn. One was  Blackcap ringed in Belgium on 11/9/19 it was retrapped here a year later on 5/10/20. Was this a bird heading south or a bird heading here to spend the winter? The second might not sound that interesting until you look at the dates. It was a Goldcrest ringed on Zeeland, Netherlands on 16/10/20 and retrapped here the next day at 0755.

The final record is another colour ringed bird, this time a Spoonbill. It was ringed at the nest at Ventjagersplaten, Netherlands on 11/6/20. It was then seen 40 km away amongst a group of 180 Sponbills on 1/9/20. Our sighting was on Worth on May 21st this year, it would be nice if it could bring along some of its 179 friends!

Friday 28th

The group have continued monitoring nest boxes. Unsurprisingly, with the weather, there have been some failures but 24 Blue Tits were ringed on Wednesday and there are certainly good numbers of young Starlings, thrushes, Goldfinches and Wrens around.

Ringing today yielded five new and eight retrap birds. The highlight was a Stock Dove.

Monday 24th

Another very interesting colour mark sighting. This time it is a Teal with a nasal saddle. It had been ringed at Sao Jacinto Dunes Nature Reserve which is 1411 km away in Portugal. It was ringed on 18/2/17, seen there 02/01/18 to 20/2/18, and on 24/1/19, and seen here earlier this year.

Sunday 23rd

Although cool the mornings often start quite pleasant and that was the case today. The unsettled, sometimes stormy, nights are not bringing any new arrivals, Three birds were caught today. The two new ones a Chiffchaff and a Blackbird were both a bit of a surprise as we would have expected to have ringed most of the local adults. There are plenty of young Starlings around now plus Blackbirds and Robins and so things might improve.

Wednesday 19th

Fortunately none of the heavy showers forecast materialised and we were able to continue checking nest boxes. Unsurprisingly, broods are proceeding very slowly with only a few Great Tit chicks ready to ring. We will have to wait until next week for the Blue Tits to start catching up.

At least the Tits are keeping going and not giving up, perhaps the daytime sunny spells are helping. The early House Sparrow broods are not so successful this year with two failing and two surviving nests with one and three chicks only. It does seem there are plenty more getting underway though.

Tuesday 18th

A lovely, calm, sunny morning  provided good conditions for ringing. It was all local breeders with one or two more females showing up amongst the ten retraps and three new birds. The new ones were yet another Blackcap male, a Whitethroat, and a House Sparrow.

Although there are reports of good arrivals of hirundines the House Martins around here remain in very low numbers.

Sunday 16th

No news of ringing today but this week will probably be a crunch week for judging how the local breeders using the nest boxes are doing. Judging by previous visits the Tit chicks should be ready for ringing but who knows in this mixed up year. One species we will not be ringing for sometime is House Martin. We have groups of nine, seven and two nests but although a few birds showed up a while ago there are only four nests being visited regularly and even those are not there most of the day. Let us hope they do return and get at least one brood away.

Friday 14th

Cold, drizzly, and with an easterly breeze getting up – yuck! Gone are the days when these sort of conditions might have brought in items of interest or an arrival of Willow Warblers. Eight birds caught were all retraps and local breeders. The number of Whitethroats seems healthy.

Wednesday 12th

More nest boxes checked today. It would seem that, unlike last year, Blue Tits have a good number of nests but Great Tits are down in number. Most birds are just hatching their young apart from one Great Tit where they will fledge in a week and one Blue Tit observed nest building.

Tuesday 11th

A pleasant, calm, and fairly warm start to the day yielded seven new and seven retrap birds. Two of these were female Whitethroats, plus a female Blackcap, so it would seem the females are showing up at last. Even though the catches are small they keep providing things of interest. This time it was a male Redwing complete with cloacal protuberence (this follows on from the female with a brood patch we caught last year). There was also a female Bullfinch retrap of a bird ringed as a one year old in 2018.

Friday 7th

A cool but bright and calm start seemed to encourage an increase in the number of sylvia warblers singing. Nine new birds including three each of Blackcap and Whitethroat reflected this. Only one of the new birds was a female. I do not think the rest are sitting on eggs yet, they are hopefully still to arrive. A Green Woodpecker ringed in 2014 was an interesting retrap.

Thursday 6th

The slight damp spell has arrived just in time for the Starlings, three broods of chunky chicks were ringed today. Elsewhere on the nest front some noisy young Rooks could be seen standing on the branches next to their nests and exercising their wings. There are finally a few House Martins visiting the nests on Sandown Road and hopefully we will get a bit of warmth and the rest will show up.

Wednesday 5th

Advantage was taken of the shelter from the stiff breeze which is provided by The Elms to check all the nest boxes. Generally it is going to be a poor season, it would appear the constant cold wind has knocked the Tits back. Half of the nest boxes were occupied and most of these were still in the process of laying a full clutch. We were able to ring one healthy brood of Stock Doves.

The importance of the kind contributions from supporters towards the cost of woodcrete nest boxes was clearly demonstrated. A couple of years ago some boxes had reinforced wooden fronts put on and the woodpeckers have now demolished some of these. Last year we added metal nest box hole guards to other boxes and the woodpecker has changed tactic and now drills in through the roof! If a woodpecker can get through the woodcrete ones I am not sure I would want to come up against it!

Monday 3rd

We managed to get a couple of hours in before the forecast increase in wind arrived. Nine birds were caught including three Willow Warblers, two Chaffinches, and single Blackcap, Blackbird, and House Sparrow. Most birds were in breeding condition showing brood patches or cloacal protuberences. Two of the Willow warblers were not ready yet and one of these still had a reasonable amount of fat.