October 31st

Not too breezy to start with and so 47 birds were ringed. Blackbirds were joined on the leader board by Chaffinch, with 11 each.There were six Goldcrests and a Firecrest but no Chiffchaff. Tits continue to trickle through with four new Blue Tits and two Great Tits. The hoped for increase in Redpolls has not materialised yet and only four were ringed.

October 30th

A cold but clear start before dawn meant that the large number of thrushes moved straight over, mostly before the sun was up.I did manage to catch 16 Blackbirds, five Redwing, three Fieldfare and a Song Thrush, nearly all first round. A Brambling, a Siskin and five Goldcrests added more autumnal colour.

October 29th

Apparently it rained at dawn just to the south  but here it remained dry and there was just the strong breeze to contend with. Thirty-seven birds were ringed helped by 20 Lesser Redpolls and six Chiffchaffs.

October 28th

A much cooler night with a slight ground frost in the lee of the trees.The north westerly freshened through the morning and put a stop to ringing mid-morning. There were more birds around and 71 were ringed.The first round included a Cetti’s Warbler and a Brambling. Then there were some thrushes including 13 Blackbirds, most with wing lengths more than 134 ie bigger than our residents, and eight Redwing. The Lesser Redpolls showed up later with 37 new birds before the wind interfered.

October 27th

It would seem autumn is on its way back. A clear sky led to a cooler start aided by the northerly wind. Suprisingly there was no evidence of finches dropping in and although there was thrush activity before dawn the only Blackbirds were retraps. Around mid-morning seven Redwing and a Fieldfare were ringed. Twelve new Goldcrests were perhaps moving a head of the cooler weather.

October 26th

A damp, grey but mild, morning with barely any breeze. We checked forecasts and rainfall radars very regularly but were clearly imagining the drizzle all morning. It was still mild and 46 birds were ringed. Migrants were probably of fairly close continental origin with a very grey Great Tit and Blackbird. Chiffchaffs seem to have almost stopped and the Blackcap was a retrap which is continuing to put on fat. There was another Firecrest and single figures of Goldcrest.

October 25th

The breeze stiffened but it remained mild despite the sky clearing first thing. There were  a few migrants around and 22 birds were ringed including six Goldcrests and five Blackbirds. The latter were larger than our resident Blackbirds with wings up to 140mm and one weighing over 100g.

October 24th

The breezy westerly conditions returned and that is not condusive to migration. Fifteen birds were ringed including a Firecrest and four Chiffchaffs.

October 23rd

The wind dropped enough for some nets to be put up. Thirty two birds were ringed including the first Fieldfares (two) of the autumn.There were eight Chiffchaffs, six Goldcrests and two Firecrests. The trickle of tits continues and five Blue Tits were ringed.

October 22nd

A valiant attempt was made to defy the breeze, which is slowly decreasing. Ten birds were ringed and all were probably migrants- Robin 2, Blackbird 1, Redwing 1, Blackcap 1, Chiffchaff 2, Goldcrest 2, Great Tit 1.

October 21st

Intense rain squalls driven on by a strong wing steamed out to sea and prevented any ringing. It was fascinating to see a few groups of migrants battle ashore into the teeth of this.

A couple more recent recoveries- Lesser Redpoll adult male SBBO 4/11/16. Shotleyfield, Northumberland 6/7/17 and 26/8/2017 459 km NNW and presumably near it breeding grounds?

Blackcap Stockton on Tees 9/9/17, SBBO 22/9/17- 408km SSE.

October 20th

No ringing possible this morning this time due to the strength of the wind and the first damp stuff for a few weeks, it also does not look good for tomorrow.

There has been a steady feedback of where some of the birds we have caught already ringed came from. I will mention Chiffchaffs today. I have already mentioned a couple from Worcestershire way and here are two more from almost opposite corners of England.

One was ringed at Birtley, Tyne and Wear on 5/8/17 and caught here on 27/9/17–451km SSE. The other was ringed at Nanjizal, Cornwall on 19/9/17 and caught here 9/10/17–517km ENE. Interestingly there have not yet been any from Scotland, Wales or Ireland.

October 18th

High hopes for the morning were quickly squashed. Although the wind was East to South East it was stronger than forecast and the dense cloud clearly dtered many migrants. Forty one birds were ringed but only Goldcrest, 15, made double figures. Twenty one Long-tailed Tits were caught and they were all ringed, including most of the 16 new yesterday. Another was a regular first ringed in 2014.

October 17th

What a strange morning. We were clutching our cameras in the hope of a dramatic, dust filled, sunrise but it was not to be. The dust and cloud was so thick we did not see the actual sun until 0900. However it remained calm.  Fifty three birds were ringed led by 17 Goldfinches and 16 Long-tailed Tits. The highlight was the retrapping of the Dusky Warbler which had put on fat and 1.2g in weight.

Sun at 10am through Ophelias dust and cloud. 17/10/17. I Hunter
Sun at 10am through Ophelias dust and cloud. 17/10/17. I Hunter

October 16th

Although it started overcast and calm the threat of the storm out to the west seemed to have detered birds from migrating. Only ten birds were ringed but one of the first of these was a Yellow-browed Warbler. Increasing wind saw the nets come down early leaving a long gap until a dust filled sky revealed a very orange football in the sky followed by an equally orange sunset.

October 15th

Clear and very warm again. Although breezy before first light it dropped completely for a short time. The first round delivered the goods with Dusky Warbler in the Whitehouse and some thrushes suddenly appearing. In the end we did 39 birds led by 12 Blackbirds and four Song Thrushes. A second Cetti’s warbler of the year was a bonus.

Dusky Warbler. 15/10/17. I Hunter
Dusky Warbler. 15/10/17. I Hunter

October 14th

A beautiful calm, warm, sunny morning followed a calmer night. There were no noticeable arrivals  and 39 birds were ringed. The most numerous were Lesser Redpolls (nine). The last round ended on a blue note with eight new Blue Tits (indicative of the continuing movement along the coast) and our second Kingfisher of the year.

October 13th

It was much more windy than forecast and so only a limited amount of ringing was possible. This yielded 24 birds with ten Goldcrests the most numerous.

October 11th

Conditions overnight did not encourage migration and a strong breeze in the morning meant only limited effort was possible. However it was worth it as 36 House Martins were ringed.

October 10th

The start of ringing was delayed by rain that was not even on the rainfall radar until after it started. With the winds from the SW this did not result in any notable arrival. Seventy eight birds were ringed including 38 Chiffchaffs. The most notable bird however was a Turtle Dove, we see less of these than Yellow-browed Warblers these days! There was also another UK ringed Goldcrest.

Turtle Dove 10/10/2017. J. Buckingham
Turtle Dove 10/10/2017. J. Buckingham


October 9th

A clear start to the night followed by a calm, overcast start, led to a successful mornings ringing. One hundred and forty seven birds of 16 species were ringed. Although Chiffchaffs  (66) led they were less than half the total. Six Redwing ( all low in fat), a Brambling and a Dutch ringed Robin indicated a more continental origin than up until now. Twelve Lesser Redpoll and seven Siskins are hopefully the start of a good passage. A Yellow-browed Warbler was a pleasant surprise.

October 8th

Eighty four birds ringed this morning again bulked up by Chiffchaff (56). Two Firecrests and another Bullfinch added colour.

October 7th

The clear, calm, start to the night clearly got birds moving and we continue to say goodbye to warblers heading for warmer climes. By morning the wind was strong but fortunately from a direction which allowed a couple of net rides to be used. One hundred and twenty Chiffchaffs made up the bulk of the 160 birds ringed. All of them were this year’s birds and none of them were already ringed.

The ringed Goldcrest from yesterday showed up again.

October 6th

After yesterdays wash and blow out the wind dropped enough to allow some ringing. There were clearly some birds moving through and it was possible to ring 61 before the wind intervened again. The first Lesser Redpolls ( three ) and Redwing of the autumn were ringed amongst a total of 61 new birds. Two Firecrests added colour and a Goldcrest with a ring had been ringed two days earlier at Kingsdown by the same person who took it out of the net here.

October 4th

The wind was a lot lighter than expected first thing and the birds clearly benefitted from this and there was quite a rush of departing warblers. One hundred and seventy nine birds were ringed including 115 Chiffchaffs and 45 Blackcaps. There were no birds retrapped from some of the earlier movements nor were there any birds bearing rings from elsewhere.

Two Greenfinches were the first since spring.

October 3rd

It actually felt a bit like autumn first thing as the sky had cleared overnight. But it was still breezy from the NW limiting catching opportunities. Blackcaps are still coming but were down to 34 out of 54 birds ringed. Siskin was a new species for the year and there was another Firecrest.

October 2nd

After yesterdays wash and blow out the rain stopped today and it was possible to get a bit of ringing done in sheltered spots. Twenty-two birds were ringed including seven Chiffchaffs and seven Goldcrests. An indication of how successful a breeding season Blackcaps had  was that the total ringed in September ( which was just short of 2,000) was more than the total in the best ever year up until now.

Details of another Chiffchaff we controlled came through today, it was another bird ringed in Worcestershire.


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