November 30th

A small amount of ringing was possible before we got on with dismantling the broken boardwalk. Fourteen Starlings and four Goldfinches made up the total.

Interesting but sad news of a Mediterranean Gull. It was ringed at Copt Point on February 12th 1999 and found dead at Wimereux, across the Channel, on December 15th 2015. 6,150 days might be a longevity record for a British Mediterranean Gull.

November 23rd

Got an update on the ringing and although there have been some very wet and windy days ringing has been possible on others. Today twenty five new birds werec ringed. There are still a few new thrushes showing up with two Fieldfares and two Redwing the highlight. Two other species pose questions which we will have to wait and see if we get the answer. There were six Collared Doves colour ringed but apart from the one to Chislett we still do not know where they go. Certainly very few are read around the observatory. There have been four new Blackcaps ringed in the last five days. Are they birds being pushed out by the cold conditions further north or are they birds from the east which ringing has shown head this way for the winter?

November 18th

The unpleasant weather continues but we have news of some interesting movements involving Redpolls. The first involves the bird with a Danish ring I mentioned in October. I went for Redpoll sp.. Although its wing was 73mm and weight 13 grams its appearance was of a Lesser Redpoll with no grey wash etc. It was ringed in Viborg, Denmark ( 814 km NE ) on April 27th 2015 as a Common Redpoll. The other four were all Lesser Redpolls ( although one had a wing of 74mm) but unlike last years movement, when the majority of birds had been ringed to the SW or NW, three were ringed in Suffolk/Norfolk.

November 16th

It was tipping it down first thing but it did lift enough for a bit of ringing but only seven birds were ringed before the wind put a stop to proceedings. For the first time for a while there were no Blackbirds.

November 15th

Much better conditions allowed some ringing this morning. Fifteen Blackbirds and a Firecrest took star billing. Of interest were two retraps, one a Lesser Redpoll and one a Goldcrest, both of which had been ringed more than a week ago suggesting some birds are not in a great hurry to move on until the colder snap gets closer.

November 13th

Twenty one new birds and 12 retraps this morning. As per recent days mostly thrushes including 7 retraps, but not of birds from the last week. A Firecrest added some colour but there were no Redpolls.

November 11th

It is a regular theme but at least the forecast got the date correct. After that it was fairly downhill. The wind was NE not NW, there were no early showers but it did drizzle on and off from mid-morning. This curtailed ringing a bit and 22 birds were ringed with nine Lesser Redpolls leading the way. Variety was added by two Fieldfare, a Bullfinch and a Common Redpoll. There are still plenty of Blackbirds around and they continue to gain weight.

November 10th

Another calm start to follow the heavy rain of yesterday. More new Blackbirds were around but netting was limited and 14 were ringed along with 14 Lesser Redpolls and two Redwing. There were also signs the thrushes are begining to benefit from the plentiful crop of Hawthorn berries with one reaching fat score 4, which we do not often record.

November 8th

After yesterdays storms the calm, cold, morning today revealed another arrival of Blackbirds, with more than 30 ringed, followed by more Lesser Redpolls. The attached photos show a young male Common Redpoll which was the palest example I have seen. If there is anybody out there who can let us know more do contact via the warden.

immature male Common Redpoll 8 Nov 2016 I Hunter
immature male Common Redpoll 8 Nov 2016 I Hunter
imm. male Common Redpoll 8 Nov 2016 I Hunter
imm. male Common Redpoll 8 Nov 2016 I Hunter


November 6th

The increasing wind meant the main catch in the few nets which could be used was leaves. Fourteen birds were ringed with four Starlings leading the table. A Redpoll caused much head scratching before being recorded as sp. . Its wing was 76 mm, well above the stated range for Lesser, but the bill depth was 5.2 mm, well out of the range of the other races particularly rostrata. There was no grey hints on the plumage which if anything was darker brown streaked on the flanks, It did not appear ‘big headed’ often a feature of Common Redpoll. Birds like this must add ammunition to those who propose lumping them again. It is suprising with the advances in DNA and similar technologies nobody has come up with a definitive answer yet.

November 5th

Lots of rain last night followed by a cold, frosty, dawn. There were not as many thrushes calling and only one ringer around and so a catch of 17 new birds was not bad before the wind got up. Thrushes were the bulk with 11 Blackbirds, two Redwing and single Fieldfare and Song Thrush. A large, female, Sparrowhawk ensured no other birds ventured near the Crow Trap.

A feature of the Blackbirds arriving is the high proportion of adults, 79 out of 139 so far this month. With the warblers leaving us earlier in the autumn  less than one in three hundred is an adult.

November 4th

Some rain last night meant there was very little frost and once again there were lots of Blackbirds in the Oasis/ Whitehouse area. Including the 42 ringed there were at least 120 in that area first light. Another 45 Lesser Redpoll helped the total to 105 new birds.

November 3rd

The wind dropped as quickly as it got up leaving a calm but very frosty morning. There were lots ot thrushes around first light and a very small team were able to get a sample of these with 125 birds ringed. This included 39 Blackbirds, five Fieldfare and eight Redwing. Two of the latter were of the Icelandic race, a quick check of the records did not reveal any of this race recorded here this century! Lesser Redpoll made a welcome show with 63 birds ringed and two British controls. There was also one Common Redpoll.

Icelandic (coburnii) race Redwing 3 Nov 2016 I Hunter
Icelandic (coburnii) race Redwing 3 Nov 2016 I Hunter

November 2nd

A total of 60 birds were ringed before the first wind for a while started filling the nets with leaves which have only just started falling in numbers. Lesser Redpoll led the way with 21 followed by 13 Blackbirds and another five Chiffchaffs.

Best news of the day was confirmation that the DNA of the Lesser Whitethroat from last month does match blythii, one of the Siberian races.

November 1st

A successful mornings ringing partly reflecting the number of thrushes seen around the estate. Eighty five birds were ringed including 28 Blackbirds and 32 Lesser Redpolls. There are still a few warblers, presumably heading south ahead of the approaching colder weather, with five Chiffchaffs and five Blackcaps ringed.

For those who have not seen the colour rings on the House Sparrows here is a nice photo from A.Lipczynski of one on the feeder outside the observatory window. So even if you do not have your binoculars you can simply take a photo and let us know. This bird was ringed on 25th September this year. The project is designed to run for five years so that we can generate valid data to contribute to the national picture.

House Sparrow BPI A. Lipczynski 1 Nov 2016
House Sparrow BPI by A. Lipczynski 1 Nov 2016