The unpleasant weather means there was a bit of time to compare some of the October totals with those from the previous year. My hope that things were running a bit later this year seems to be so and lets hope this continues through November. We have not ringed a Sparrowhawk or Rook this year.

The following are the 2019 October totals with 2018 in parenthesis.

Swallow 21 (0), House Martin 65 (0), Robin 143 (44), Fieldfare 10 (17), Redwing 25 (47), Blackcap 349 (290), Yellow-browed Warbler 7 (10), Chiffchaff 581 (207), Goldcrest 402 (80), Firecrest 25 (15), Long-tailed Tit 59 (25), Blue Tit 165 (33), Great Tit 32 (9), Siskin 3 (104), Lesser Redpoll 27 (293).

Obviously a bumper autumn for tits but where are the finches?

In all we ringed 2,221 birds this October compared to 1510 last year and that is despite losing several days to poor weather.

Saturday 30th

The first of the aforementioned colour ring sightings is:

A Mediterranean Gull sighted on Restharrow Scrape on November 11th. It had been ringed at Playa San Lorenzo, Gijon, Spain on November 12th 2016 and subsequently seen at Dungeness on 25/7/18 and at Copt Point, Folkestone (a sight which gets hundreds of these gulls during the autumn and winter) on 24/8/19 and 21/9/19.

Friday 29th

With the wet and windy weather there have been few opportunities to ring and we are starting to get on with maintenance work. However, the wind dropped last night and the cloud hung around long enough to prevent all but a very light frost. Today we caught eighteen new birds and eleven retraps. A few new birds are still appearing and this included two Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps and a Redwing.

Everyone can keep contributing to our information about bird movements by recording colour rings. There have been five sightings of colour ringed gulls on our new, improved, Restharrow Scrape and there will be details of these on quieter days.

Friday 22nd

Two brave souls hung on whilst the wind and heavy showers passed through and then attempted some ringing. There was one new bird, a Blackcap, amongst 26 captures. The tit flock appears to have been well sampled as retraps included seven Long-tailed Tits, six Blue Tits and five Great Tits.

Wednesday 20th

The first work party of the winter got a lot done despite only three of us being able to attend. Work will continue through the winter.

Late news of a Reed Warbler ringed as a young bird here on August 11th 2017, but seemingly moving through, and then retrapped on May 19th this year near Thetford, where the BTO HQ is. It now has an individually numbered colour ring as well and it will be interesting to see if this can add to its story.

Monday 18th

No ringing possible this morning due to the wind.

There is news of an atypical movement involving a Starling. The bird in question was ringed here on March 20th 2016 as a one year old. It was caught by another ringer this year on November 6th in Carmarthanshire, 402 km WNW. It is difficult to interpret this unless we caught it on its first return journey to Wales from further south. Maybe it joined up with a different flock and moved to Wales?

Sunday 17th

Much more pleasant and suitable conditions resulted in a better catch. There were 42 new birds and 22 retraps. Ten Blackbirds led the way closely followed by nine Long-tailed Tits. Where are all these tits coming from and going to? Four Redwings, three Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff showed birds are still moving.

Saturday 16th

A murky, breezy, start meant I was very limited in what could be done. There were eight new birds including a Blackcap.

Friday 15th

There was enough of a lull for some nets to go up and the reward was a Buzzard in the Oasis net!

There were also seven Goldcrests and ten retrap Long-tailed Tits. The latter were interesting because they were a mix of birds from at least three different flocks ringed here over the last year.

Buzzard. 15/11/2019. S. Aubrey-Killen
Buzzard. 15/11/2019. S. Aubrey-Killen

Wednesday 13th

Although there was an unexpected breeze at dawn it soon dropped to give a calm, sunny, morning. Migration seems to be drawing to a close but still had enough oomph to yield eight more Blackbirds, two Fieldfare, two Blackcaps and a control Goldcrest.

It looks like Lesser Redpoll are not going to move through in any numbers, the three today met the average.

Tuesday 12th

The breeze was stiffer than expected but from a direction which allowed some ringing and it was dry.

Forty five birds were caught of which 35 were new. Thrushes showed well with 16 Blackbirds, four Song Thrushes, a Fieldfare and a Redwing. Chiffchaffs (2) and Firecrests (1) continue to trickle through and there were five more Goldcrests.

Sunday 10th

Overnight rain followed by a fresher breeze meant there were not many new birds. Fourteen were ringed including a Firecrest and six Blackbirds.

Saturday 9th

Another clear, calm, and frosty start provided good conditions. Only limited netting was possible as there was only one team member available.  Twenty birds were ringed including seven Blackbirds. Most interesting were the ringed birds. The Yellow-browed Warbler ringed at the end of October was retrapped and now has a fat score of five, I am not sure if I have seen a Phylloscopus with such a high score. There was at last a control Blue Tit, considering the numbers moving along the coast it is a surprise this was the first. There was also a Blackbird from elsewhere but its ring was much older.

Friday 8th

A clear sky led to a frosty start followed by a calm,sunny, morning.

Forty four birds were ringed including the first Sparrowhawk of the year, 14 Blackbirds and four Chiffchaffs. The cooler weather has started bringing finches to the feeders and seven Chaffinches were ringed. It will be interesting to find out where the French-ringed Goldcrest control was ringed. Had it just drifted across the Channel or had it made a bigger movement?

Wednesday 6th

It was breezier than expected and this restricted which nets could be used. A warm sun meant spots out of the breeze were very pleasant. Thirty three birds were ringed. Fourteen of these were Blackbirds nearly all of which were larger than our resident birds, with a male with wing length 142 particularly so. There were also five Chiffchaffs all of which did not show a hint, colourwise, of eastern origin. Redpolls of any kind remain very thin on the ground but four Lessers today did include a bird ringed elsewhere in the UK.

Monday 4th

No ringing today due to torrential showers up to dawn. However there is an interesting story to the latest recovery. It involves a Blackcap ringed here on the 16th September 2018. It was found predated on October 20th this year in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, which are 893km SSW. It had been ringed at SBBO by our only French member and ringer (and no he does not live anywhere near where it was found!).

Sunday 3rd

After yesterdays storm today was a beautiful, calm, mild day. Forty four birds were ringed. Blackbird was the leader with 14 followed by eleven Goldcrests. Four Chiffchaffs, two Redwing and a Firecrest provided variety. A retrap Yellow-browed Warbler was a different one to the one on Friday. How many of the eight ringed so far are still in the area? Maybe they will move on if the weather stays settled.

Friday 1st

It was overcast and damp but a small amount of ringing was possible and worth it. Forty two birds were ringed. Of particular note were two Chiffchaffs who took the year total over 1,000, three more Firecrests and eight more Long-tailed Tits. Unsurprisingly, with the weather not favouring migration, one of the Yellow-browed Warblers was retrapped. A Goldfinch ringed elsewhere in the UK was also caught.