Saturday 31st October

23 new Goldcrests helped build a total of 47 new birds. A Firecrest meant we have equalled the best year ever for these little gems.

Friday 30th October

For the first time for a few months retaps outnumbered new birds ( 30 to 18). 6 Chaffinches were the most numerous new bird.

Wednesday 28th October

Migration is definitely slowing down. 49 birds were ringed today mostly made up of 19 Lesser Redpolls and 13 Goldfinches.There were still a few new Goldcrests (9) plus a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff.

Tuesday 27th October

The conditions were good with very little breeze. As one would expect migration is slowly drawing to an end but there were still 94 birds ringed. 42 Goldcrest were probably remnants of yesterdays arrival. There were also 34 Lesser Redpoll new, plus 3 controls which is a suprisingly high ratio. Colour was added by a male Brambling, a Redwing and a Fieldfare.

Monday 26th October

Today was a clear lesson in looking at the wider weather picture. Conditions started fairly benign, after a clear night, before murk and breeze set in followed by sun. As all this was coming from between west and south I would not have predicted an arrival of Goldcrests.However there is a high lurking to the east which just clips the tip of Scandinavia. This might explain the 78 new Goldcrests and only one retrap that were caught. 28 Lesser Redpoll and a Swallow contributed to the final total of 128 new birds.

Sunday 25th October

With weather still coming from the west side of the compass there were no great expectations and this was proved correct. 48 birds were ringed. Lesser Redpoll was most numerous with 23. Retrap Goldcrests outnumbered new ones by 13 to 6. An interesting trend is developing with Blackbirds where adult birds far outnumber juveniles. For other species it is as expected and juveniles are by far the most frequent.

Saturday 24th October

Typical westerly conditions, mild but murky, but at least the rain held off. 112 birds were ringed. Goldfinch led the way with 43 followed by 16 Lesser Redpolls, 14 Goldcrests and 12 Blackbirds. It will be interesting to see if we get any returns from the 11 Swallows ringed, particularly as one was an adult female. We normally expect adults to have gone before the late juveniles.

If you are interested in how ringing can contribute to our understanding of birds then come along to the BTO conference at the observatory on November 28th.  Talks vary from Red Kites to Wood Warblers. The full programme and booking form can be found on the BTO and SBBOT events website.

Friday 23rd October

Another relatively calm morning resulted in 123 birds being ringed. 52 of these were Golfinches which is only a small fraction of the numbers moving along the shoreline. There were also 25 Goldcrests and the daily Firecrest reappeared.

Thursday 22nd October

Much better conditions resulted in a good session. 128 birds were ringed the bulk of which were 83 Lesser Redpoll. There were 13 more Goldcrests and 4 Redwing. We continue to consult with colleagues at Ottenby Bird Observatory about the age and sex of the Red-flanked Bluetail.

Wednesday 21st October

The weather chose to ignore the forecast resulting in a breezy,drizzly morning. Only a small amount of ringing was possible but the reward was a Danish ringed Blackbird.

Tuesday 20th October

Good conditions meant we could be busy for the whole session and we even found 2 cherries on the cake!

205 birds were ringed including 77 Goldcrests, 37 Lesser Redpoll, 28 Blackbirds and 3 Firecrests. A Blackbird was also caught with an Arnhem ring on.

Red-flanked Bluetail by Andrew Lipczynski
Red-flanked Bluetail by Andrew Lipczynski

The cherries were a fantastic Red-flanked Bluetail, our first live record, and a fiesty Great Grey Shrike.

Great Grey Shrike by Maria Himsworth
Great Grey Shrike by Maria Himsworth











Monday 19th October

Fortunately the rain radar was consulted rather than the weather forecast. We knew that we would only get a couple of hours but it was worth it. 105 birds were ringed, 62 of which were Goldcrests.The daily Firecrest was joined by our fourth Yellow-browed Warbler of the year. We even mahaged to catch one of the many Swallows that were moving past.

Sunday 18th October

Excellent conditions and a keen team allowed the best sites to be run. 214 birds were ringed. Goldcrests led the way with 115. There were also 14 Blackcaps, 14 Lesser Redpolls, 9 Song Thrushes and the now daily Firecrest.

An unusual Lesser Whitethroat photo by Sally Hunter
An unusual Lesser Whitethroat photo by Sally Hunter

A Lesser Whitethroat stirred extra interest as it’s plumage was not typical curruca.

6 Great Tits were noticeable because of the grey tones of their backs. The first Reed Bunting of the autumn turned out to be a control.







Saturday 17th October

A brief interlude between showers and wind allowed a couple of nets to be erected. 44 birds were ringed including 22 Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackbirds and 2 Redwing.

Thursday 15th October

As anticipated the wind and rain relented briefly and a busy day was enjoyed. 181 birds were ringed including 98 Goldcrests, 25 Robins and 10 Redwing. Siskin reappeared and 14 were ringed, these birds had clearly been busy feeding and had fat scores of 4 or 5. Interestingly the new wave of Goldcrests were much thinner than previous waves and the Redwing were fresh in and very light. 3 Brambling were new for the year, the first one was a very smart male.

Adult Male Brambling photo by Ian Hunter
Adult Male Brambling photo by Ian Hunter

Unfortunately the next two days do not look promising.







Tuesday 13th October

A short but very sharp shower around 0500 did not produce many new arrivals and the stiffening north-easterly meant netting was very restricted. 42 birds were ringed including 25 Goldcrests, the daily Firecrest, 3 Blackbirds and 2 Redwing.

Monday 12th October

With only a small team available we were not able to take full advantage of the calm start to the day before the North-easterly slowly picked up. However in just two net rides we still ringed 125 birds. Goldcrest again led the way with 99 but Chiffchaff ( 5 ) and Blackcap ( 4 ) seem to have moved through. 3 Firecrests added colour and 2 Redwing were joined by the first Fieldfare of the autumn.

Sunday 11th October

Yet another busy day with 201 birds ringed. 95 Goldcrests and 68 Lesser Redpoll led the way. Variety was added by 2 Firecrests, a Coal Tit and a late in the season Redstart and the first Redwing of the autumn. However the highlight by far was a Goldcrest with a Latvian ring. A quick scan of the wonderful BTO Migration Atlas suggests this is a good record nationally with most controls coming from Scandinavian countries.  It is fascinating to think of the journeys these 4 to 5 gram birds undertake.


Saturday 10th October

Despite the north-easterly freshening 133 birds were ringed. This time Goldcrest led the way with 69 followed by 21 Lesser Redpoll.The daily new Firecrest put in its appearance, fortunately in a different net to a new Sparrowhawk.


Friday 9th October

This is looking like it is going to be one of the best autumns we have ever had. The only group noticeably down in numbers has been the acrocephalus warblers. We have not ringed as many hirundines or Meadow Pipits as in recent years but that is because we have been too busy with other groups.

Today 187 birds were ringed. Once again Chiffchaff was the most numerous with 74 followed by 39 Blackcaps and 29 Goldcrests. 25 Lesser Redpoll reflected the increasing number being noted on visual migration. Siskin passage is much quieter and this is reflected in only 3 being ringed.

It will be interesting to see if any of these birds are recovered as there are hardly any controls and it would be informative to know more of their origns.

Thursday 8th October

Only a couple of the regulars could make it today but they were well rewarded with another busy day after calmer overnight conditions. 199 birds were ringed ( it is quite impressive how we are regularly one short of a nice round number!) including 95 Chiffchaffs, 69 Blackcaps and 22 Goldcrests. Tits continue to trickle through with 5 new Great, 5 new Blue and another Coal Tit.

Wednesday 7th October

The ringing team was nearly back to full strength but conditions overnight were not condusive to much movement. In all 86 birds of a nice variety of common species were ringed. Goldcrest led the way with 30 followed by 15 Chiffchaff and 11 Chaffinches.Some of the earlier Goldcrests are still hanging around and 11 were retrapped. Conditions over the next two nights look much better.

Monday 5th October

The weather forecast was not good and although we were able to start ringing heavy drizzle, which was not forecast, soon put an early end to proceedings. 4 Goldcrests, 2 Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff were ringed.

The blackcaps in particular are carrying plenty of fat and fat scores of 4 and more are frequent. The only exception being some young birds which are still using energy to complete their post-juvenile moult.

Sunday 4th October

Goldcrest numbers continue to dwindle and only 21 were ringed today. 58 Chiffchaffs, 40 Blackcaps and another Lesser Whitethroat helped make up the total of 141 birds ringed. As there was only a small team the pipits and hirundines moving were not targetted.

Saturday 3rd October

Another forecast of good overnight weather had us wondering what will happen next. As it turned out 279 birds were ringed . This time it was Blackcaps on the move with 114 ringed followed by 91 Goldcrests and 60 Chiffchaffs. Variety was added by a Cetti’s Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and a control Reed Warbler.

It would seem that a good number of the Goldcests from yesterday have moved on as there were only 13 retraps, some of which were from 2 days ago.

Friday 2nd October

With the wind continuing from the east but moderating hopes were high for today, despite the lack of cloud, but we could not have anticipated just how good it would be. As we arrived there were plenty of Goldcrests calling from the bushes even in the pre-dawn. The appearance of the nets on the first round indicated just how busy we might be, they were full of crests. In the end 443 birds were ringed. 351 of these were Goldcrests and 7 were Firecrests. There were also 38 Blackcaps and 28 Chiffchaffs. Another Yellow-browed Warbler was ringed, this one had a clear, but faint central crown stripe. A Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat were late in the season. Two of the Goldcrests were controls, one from the UK and one from Holland.

A day all those lucky enough to be there will remember and thanks to all those who chipped in and helped.


Thursday 1st October

Another clear breezy night and so it was a suprise to hear lots of crests calling from the bushes. 99 birds were ringed and 70 of these were Goldcrests, this is only 2 less than were ringed in total last year. There was yet another Firecrest and a Siskin.