Tuesday 30th

No ringing today but a busy morning replacing the last of the woodpecker damaged boxes in the Elms plus the rotten boxes along Guilford Road. Once again a big thank you to those who helped with kind donations. The boxes came last spring but with Covid and things we had to wait to get them up. We hope to continue replacing wooden boxes so as to out do the woodpeckers.

Monday 29th

Although it was a bit more breezy than forecast this kept the temperature just above 0°C first thing and we were able to get some nets up. It was an interesting session with 37 birds caught of which 14 were new. These included single Magpie, Blackcap and Chiffchaff of note. One of the retrap Chaffinches was at least six years old. A Song Thrush with a wing of 126mm drew attention but did not have any cold, grey, tones typical of continental origin birds.

Friday 26th

Although we are not getting the weather some are it is definitely not suitable for ringing. We have recently had notification of three movements. The first was a Firecrest ringed here on October 11th this year and controlledat Icklesham (65 km SW) three days later, especially notable considering how scarce crests have been this autumn. The second is a Lesser Redpoll ringed here on September 28th, during last years big movement, and contolled this year in Pamber Forest, Hampshire  (174km W) on November 14th. Finally the Norwegian ringed Blackbird we caught on October 16th was riged two months previously in Olen, Hordaland a movement of 967km SSW.

Wednesday 24th

Calmer than expected and very overcast. Seventeen birds were caught of which 11 were new- four Blackbirds, a Song Thrush, another Chiffchaff, two Goldcrests and three Chaffinches. One of the retrap Blue Tits had been ringed in a nest box on Middle Field six years ago.

Tuesday 23rd

After some difficulty getting on to the site I can update you about Tuesdays ringing. Weatherwise it was an interesting start with a big bank of cloud approaching from the south, against a gentle northerly breeze, and stopping overhead leaving clear and cold to the north and clouidy and murky to the south. Although there was no obvious movement some Blackbirds had arrived overnight. In the end a total of 30 new and 18 retrap birds was good. Four Chiffchaffs were the most interesting. There were also 11 Blackbirds, a Dunnock, a Song Thrush, five Chaffinches, a Goldfinch, four Siskins and three Lesser Redpolls.

Sunday 21st

A faint hope that the wind moving northerly might bring a last flush of migration was quickly dashed. Despite a stiff breeze eight birds were ringed – a Dunnock, three Blackbirds, three Chaffinches, and a Siskin.

Saturday 20th

It started mild and murky again and a first round with a Fieldfare and two Redwing raised hopes. However a gentle breeze got up and guided seemingly thousands of leaves into the nets. A Blue Tit, four Chaffinches, and five Blackbirds brought the total to 13 new birds.

Friday 19th

More mild conditions but this time seventeen birds were ringed and 19 retrapped. New birds included only the third Fieldfare of the autumn and another Chiffchaff. Three retrap Great Spotted Woodpeckers were of note.

Thursday 18th

It was still mild and fairly calm. Thirteen birds were ringed and nine retrapped. Another Blackcap and eight Chaffinches were of note plus the control Blue Tit from last week reappeared.

Tuesday 16th

The weather was the same as yesterday but with less drizzle and barely any breeze. This produced a good morning with 82 new birds, nine retraps and a control. Blackbirds increased to 21 and there were two each of Song Thrush and Redwing. Four new Robins were of note and there was another Blackcap. The steady trickle of new Chaffinches continued with eight more. Although we heard several groups of Siskin only two were caught, conversely we heard very few Lesser Redpoll but caught 38 new birds, plus a Belgium ringed control. There were also three Goldfinches and a House Sparrow.

Monday 15th

The dull, overcast, and mild conditions continue this time there was only a bit of drizzle. Thirty-six birds were ringed with Blackbird continuing to lead the way, this time with 16. Chaffinches (8) continue to support. Two each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were interesting in that the latter were both fat score 5 which is higher than those we get earlier in the autumn. A Starling in the Heligoland was unusual and the first ringed for a couple of months.

Sunday 14th

They forecast dull and overcast but not strong drizzle. Despite the wind being NE the only notable increase in the nets was Blackbird with 17 ringed. The supporting cast was three Chaffinches and singles of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Brambling and Siskin.

Friday 12th

The team gave it a go despite the strength of the breeze. There were still enough leaves on the bushes (at least at the start!) to give the nets some shelter. They were rewarded with 57 birds, 26 of which were new. This included a Dunnock, three Blackbirds, a Blue Tit, a House Sparrow, 11 Chaffinches, seven Goldfinches and two Lesser Redpolls. Tits put in a strong showing in retraps with six Blue (+ a control) and nine Great, an increase on the last few weeks.

Thursday 11th

Fascinating news from Landguard Bird Observatory. The latest download of data from the Motus system shows that a Blackcap tagged at Landguard in early October spent eight minutes in SBBO airspace later that evening. As always this is raw data and will need final confirmation.

We have also had a number of Blackcap movements in the last batch of recoveries. This includes;

A bird ringed at the obs on 30/9/19 and controlled in Ursel, Belgium ( 147km east) on 21/7/20 and then again on 24/4/21.

A bird ringed at the obs on 13/9/18 and taken by a cat in France at Alpes-Cote de Azur on 12/4/21.

Two involved birds ringed inland and then presumably leaving via here-  one was ringed at Wraysbury on 15/9/21 and retrapped here on 21/9/21 ( 135km east) and the second was ringed near Tring on 12/9/21 and retrapped here (155km east-south-east) on 2/10/21.

A similar direction of movement involved a bird ringed at Longham Lakes, Dorset on 16/9/21 and retrapped here on 21/9/21 237km east-north east.

The last two involve birds ringed this autumn  which then wandered around the coast- one was ringed here on 5/9/21 and retrapped 62km WNW at Lodge Hill, Medway on 28/9/21. The second was ringed at St Margarets, just along the coast on 3/8/21 and retrapped here on 19/9/21.

They emphasise the importance of this corner of the country for birds funnelling across the channel on their journey south.

Sunday 7th

A very quiet morning not helped by a stiff breeze picking up from the west. Twenty birds were caught of which 12 were new – a Wren, five Blackbirds, two each of Song Thrush and Redwing, and singles of Chaffinch and Siskin.

Saturday 6th

Good conditions to start with until the westerly wind increased mid-morning. It sounded as if plenty of Blackbirds had spent the night in the bushes and 27 were ringed. Most of the birds were on the large size as expected of birds from a more northern origin. Two males had wings of 142 and 140 mm respectively and weighed more than 100 grams. There were also the first Fieldfares to be ringed this autumn with two new birds plus two each of Redwing and Song Thrush. Four Chiffchaffs all looked typical west European but was the Blackcap on its way out or coming in from the continent – with this strange year it could be either. A single Goldcrest helped drag their total closer to double figures for the autumn. A flock of Long-tailed Tits included birds ringed this year, last year, two years ago, and three years ago.

Wednesday 3rd

A crisp, calm and frosty start provided good conditions until a stiff northerly breeze got up. Thirty three birds were caught of which 24 were new. These consisted of six Blackbirds, two Song Thrushes, five Redwing, two Chiffchaffs, one Long-tailed Tit, one Blue Tit, one Chaffinch, the first Siskins this year (three) and three Lesser Redpolls. The thrushes were all at the low end of the weight range suggesting fresh arrivals.

A look at the totals for October make worrying reading. In all 705 birds were ringed with 202 Blackcaps just pipping 201 Chiffchaffs for top spot. There were just three Wrens, one Dunnock, 29 Robins, 44 Blackbirds, and nine Redwings. Three Firecrests (expect double figures) equalled three Goldcrests (expect three figures in good years). Notable absentees were Woodpigeon, Siskin, Coal Tit, and Fieldfare with actually none of any of these this year so far.


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