October 31st

The calm theme continues and a warm sun burnt through the mist to give a mild day. Forty five birds were ringed. Blackbirds again led the way with 16 and there were three Fieldfares and three Redwings.

October 30th

The slight drop in temperature and the lack of wind meant fog came and went all morning. Forty two birds were ringed but only Blackbird made it into double figures with 14 ringed. Although we are not getting the rare Siberians which seem to be everywhere else we continue to get some very interesting common bird records. Today it was a Robin with a Moscow ring, a quick check on the BTO website showed that there have been no others moving in that direction ever before 2016.

October 29th

A calm misty morning did not reveal a great deal apart from a few thrushes arriving but it was only possible to put up a few nets and 19 birds included six Blackbirds and three Fieldfare.

October 28th

Another calm, misty start followed by a sunny mild day. The Willow warbler was still around and 42 birds were ringed including nine Blackbirds, nine Lesser Redpolls and a young male Sparrowhawk.

age 3 Willow Warbler October 27th 2016 I Hunter
age 3 Willow Warbler October 27th 2016 I Hunter

October 27th

The continuing calm seems to be helping the last departing migrants move quickly on but there is still a trickle of wintering birds arriving. Three Firecrests and ten Chiffchaffs probably fall into the first group and 15 Blackbirds into the latter. The biggest suprise was a very late Willow Warbler which had no hints of any northern race.

October 26th

Another lovely start  with a touch of mist. The main arrival was of Blackbirds and 27 were ringed contributing to a total of 82 new birds. A special effort was made to catch and colour ring the House Sparrows and 19 new and 14 retraps were caught. Lets hope people start looking for the colour ringed birds on the feeders. Also of note was a retrap Yellow-browed Warbler which was first ringed on October 9th and had not been reported since but it must have been somewhere on the Estate.

October 25th

What a beautiful day! Calm, sunny and mild. The ringers who made it were pleased to get 94 new birds of 17 species. Lesser Redpoll led the way with 42 including a high proportion of adults. There was also one Common Redpoll and another Firecrest.

Lesser and Common Redpoll 25 October2016 I Hunter
Lesser and Common Redpoll 25 October2016 I Hunter

October 24th

Continuing breezt easterly conditions are not delivering a great deal but persistence paid off and 49 birds were ringed. This included 16 Goldcrests and three Firecrests to add a splash of colour to the morning.

October 23rd

No doubt today the wind was from the East but the first round of three birds suggested there was still no migration of note. Thankfully things did improve a bit and 53 birds were ringed led by 15 Goldcrests, who brought along three of their snazzier relations the Firecrest. A Kingfisher in the Haven bushes was the biggest suprise of the day.

October 22nd

The breeze dropped a little but migration was still at a low ebb and still managed to throw up the suprise of a very late Garden Warbler.

October 21st

Definitely a north wind with even the occasional hint towards a bit of east. The clear out continues and there were only 23 new birds. A couple of recent controls involve a Sand Martin ringed as a pullus at Locherbie, 536 km NW of here, on 24th June and controlled here on its way to Africa on August 8th. The other is a Chiffchaff ringed at Beachy Head, 99 km SW, on september 30th and controlled here, as it wandered along the coast, on October 3rd.

October 20th

The wind shifted more to the north but remained strong and there were no obvious arrivals calling from the bushes. It is suprising how few Goldcrests there are we normally associate these with northerlies at this time of year. Thirty two birds were ringed. Sixteen Blackbirds led the way, most were long winged and had colours suggesting continental origin. A Coal Tit was new for the autumn but was of standard British colouring.

October 19th

Despite resolutely trudging around the nets there was little reward for the effort and 30 birds were ringed including six Lesser Redpolls and four Siskins.

October 18th

More cloud seemed to result in a few more birds. I have not seen the list yet but it included the eighth Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn. The Redpoll conundrum continues with two apparently normal coloured and proportioned Lesser Redpolls, not a hint of grey or white anywhere, no thick-set head, no deeper bill, but each had a wing of 76mm which is above the given range for Lesser. One was an adult male so should have shown some Common features if it was one.

October 17th

Once the cloud moved on the wind dropped and it was a clear late night sky. This seemed to be a cue for night migrants to move on, Disappointingly finches did not take advantage of the sunny, calm, start and there was no movement of these to tap into. Fifty new birds were ringed with only Chiffchaff making double figures with 10.

October 16th

Some dramatic skylines as first a very bright moon, then a colourful sunrise followed by rainbows and interesting clouds hid the fact that there were not many new arrivals. A small amount of ringing was possible before the wind was too much and 28 birds were ringed including another Brambling and a Fieldfare.

October 15th

A lovely sart to the day was slowly pushed away by increasing wind and the threat of rain. Only a small team today and so 72 birds ringed was not bad from a limited number of nets. Chiffchaff was upto 21 but we needed a retrap Firecrest to get our daily dose. There was another Mistle Thrush and eight Siskin to add variety.

You may have noticed the occasional comments about small teams etc. This is not refering to stature but to number. We are very low on trainees at present. If you think you would like to learn and have the basic id skills and time why not come and chat with us?

Mistle Thrush.15 October 2016. I Hunter
Mistle Thrush.15 October 2016. I Hunter

October 14th

The wind dropped enough for more ringing to be done and 106 birds of 19 species were ringed. We seem to be getting the dribs and drabs from the edge of the number of migrants turning up further north. Robins increased to 25 but Goldcrest only reached nine and Chiffchaff dropped to two. Three Fieldfare and our daily new Firecrest added some colour. The seventh Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn made this our best year for this species. Most discussion centred around a Danish ringed adult male Redpoll. It appeared to be a Lesser Redpoll, with no grey wash, but it was quite long winged-73mm and the undertail coverts had just a thin but very clear black streak.

It will be interesting to hear what our Danish colleagues made of it.

Danish ringed adult male Redpoll 14 Oct 2016 I Hunter
Danish ringed adult male Redpoll 14 Oct 2016 I Hunter

October 13th

Despite the wind strength we were able to use a few nets and 41 birds of 15 species were ringed. This included the first Common Redpoll for a couple of years, a Firecrest and two very smart adult Fieldfares.

October 12th

Hopes that a shower at dawn would deliver extra arrivals were not realised and in fact the number ringed dropped to just over 80. Once again Chiffchaff was the most common and there was a light sprinkling of thrushes but numbers of Goldcrests remain suprisingly low. Our sixth Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn equalled our best total for this species from two years at the end of the eighties.

October 11th

A beautiful calm start followed by warm sun resulted in a good mornings ringing. One hundred and one birds were ringed, 54 of which were Chiffchaffs. There was also one Chiffchaff which had been ringed somewhere else in the UK.

Eastern Lesser Whitethroat 10th October 2016 by Ian Hunter
Eastern Lesser Whitethroat 10th October 2016 by Ian Hunter


October 10th

The breeze restricted the number of nets but we were still able to catch 74 new birds. The highlights were another Ring Ousel and this eastern Lesser Whitethroat.








October 9th

As we cowered beneath the shelter of a few bushes we were able to reflect on the fact that the rain radar showed no rain in the area! We were also able to anticipate if the showers would bring much in on the Easterly. Once the rain cleared it was apparent that there was a good variety of birds taking advantage of the warm sun. One hundred and fifty six birds were ringed from a range of 23 species. Chiffchaffs were most common with 52. Two Yellow-browed Warblers took this years total to five so far. Further variety was added by a Ring Ousel (rarely ringed here), a Swallow, a Redstart, our first Lesser Redpoll of the year and two Mistle Thrushes.

Ring Ousel. Imm male 9th October 2016. I Hunter
Ring Ousel. 9th October 2016. I Hunter

October 8th

As we went out in the dark the hedges were full of the sound of ticking Robins. It was therefore a surprise that out of 108 new birds only 11 were Robins. This was compensated for by the 12th Robin which had a Helgoland ring on.

The rest included 30 Chiffchaffs, six Blackbirds, seven Song Thrushes, five Redwing, four Firecrests, a Siskin and our third Yellow-browed Warbler.

October 7th

The wind did not drop as quickly as forecast and so a total of 74 new birds was very satisfying. The steady trickle of Robins continues with 32 today, none of the recently ringed ones have been retrapped so there must be good numbers moving through. Other birds included six Blackbirds, four Redwing and three Firecrests.

October 6th

The wind was the limiting factor again and so it was pleasing to ring 50 birds. Robin led the way with 21 and three Firecrests and an acredula Willow Warbler added variety.

acredula Willow Warbler 6 October 2016 I Hunter
acredula Willow Warbler 6 October 2016 I Hunter

October 5th

Despite the Easterly increasing it was possible to find some sheltered spots and 62 birds were ringed. Robins led the way with 31 and there was another Redwing and a Firecrest.

October 4th

Breezy from the start and increasing all day but there were pleasant sunny intervals. It was possible to get some nets up and unsuprisingly, considering the good numbers around the Estate, 25 Robins were the most numerous of 46 birds ringed. An hint of where they might have started last nights journey was the capture of a Dutch ringed bird. It will be interesting to hear if it is another rapid journey like last year’s one day Goldcrest or a more leisurely journey.

Following the more leisurely route we have had news of two Blackcaps and two Chiffchaffs we controlled in September. All had been ringed in the south-east and had taken one to two weeks to reach us.

October 3rd

Once we got over the suprise of the frost forming after the nets were put up it was a pleasant sunny day. A good variety of birds were ringed giving a total of 115 of 16 species. This was led by 56 Chiffchaffs and 32 Blackcaps but included six Goldcrests and the second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn. Three Redwing were the first this autumn. It was noticeable that the fat scores, particularly on the Blackcaps, were lower, reflecting new arrivals.

Age 3 Yellow Browed Warbler 3rd October I Hunter
Yellow Browed Warbler, bird of this year note slight notching on some tail feathers and tertials 3rd October I Hunter

October 2nd

No showers to dodge but an increasingly strong breeze limited which nets could be used. A final tally of 33 Blackcaps and 25 Chiffchaffs was quite good.

October 1st

Only one ringer today who still managed to ring 19 Blackcaps and 38 Chiffchaffs whilst dodging the showers.