Despite a totally unexpected and unforecast outbreak of rain around 7am the rest of the morning provided good conditions for ringing until the wind picked up and brought proceedings to a halt.
One hundred and ninety four birds were caught of which 183 were new and three had BTO rings on from elsewhere. There was a bit more variety than of late with 13 species. Fifty seven Chiffchaffs (plus two controls) led the pack followed by 50 Lesser Redpoll (plus one control), 42 Blackcaps, 13 Goldfinches and six Dunnocks. Rather amusingly the prefix on one of the Chiffchaff rings was LBJ! The Redpoll total could have been much higher but they showed up in numbers just as the wind picked up and the nets had to be taken down. A Blackcap retrap was of note because it had been ringed here in 2016.
It is interesting to compare this month with September last year when the weather was more unsettled. This month we rang 2,305 birds, up 400 on last year. Both Blackcap (1293) and Chiffchaff (591) were much improved and Lesser Redpoll with 162 have started early this year. Only the down side we did not ring any House Martins (probably the first September for some time) and Swallow (3) and Robin (22) were down.
Hopes were high after good forecasts on Monday. However there was light rain as we arrived before dawn and the radar implied more was to come which it did. Most of the morning was damp on and off and this limited the amount of ringing. There were clearly new birds in as 36 Chiffchaffs and three Goldcrests suggested. The rest of the 70 birds were made of 25 Blackcaps, two Song Thrushes, two Robins and a Dunnock. There was one new Lesser Redpoll but it seemed they had roosted in the area as they were heard first thing but not afterwards.
The wind dropped enough for ringing to restart and after a steady start it got busy by mid-morning with plenty of Lesser Redpolls. 153 birds were caught of which 138 were new and one Chiffchaff a control. Ninety four Lesser Redpolls and eight Siskins were ably supported by 18 Chiffchaffs, 11 Blackcaps, two Redwings, two Goldfinches, and singles of Goldcrest, Blue Tit and Great Tit.
A small number of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were ringed yesterday before things were hastily wrapped up ahead of a torrential shower. Today was wetter and windier and although there still seem to be plenty of Chiffchaffs around no ringing was attempted. The outlook is not good for the next few days with winds up to gale force at times.
It is a risky business predicting what wild organisms will do but expectations were high for this morning after the wind almost dropped completely and shifted south-west. For those who were there it was an exciting and busy morning. You did not have to be a ringer to appreciate the number of warblers shifting through the bushes, Siskins flying overhead and Swallows moving along the shore. Two hundred and twenty six birds were ringed exactly half of which were Blackcaps. Ninety two were Chiffchaffs and nine Lesser Redpolls. There were also three Siskins, two Goldcrests, two Blue Tits and singles of Dunnock, Robin (a bit of a surprise there were so few ringed as there seemed to be plenty ticking from the hedges), Song Thrush, Chaffinch and Greenfinch. Only two of the warblers were adults and out of yesterdays and todays birds only one a control (of a BTO ring).
The north-easterly fell away and it was a calm, clear, start to the morning. Migration returned to full strength and there were lots of warblers in the bushes plus Siskins flying over. A small team were able to ring 151 birds. This included 97 Blackcaps, 36 Chiffchaffs, seven Lesser Redpolls and five Siskins. Only one of the warblers was an adult.
No change in the conditions so no real change in the catch. There were nine new birds- six Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldfinch.
The wind persisted but it was possible to get a few birds ringed before it increased further. There were 10 new birds consisting of three Blackcaps, two Dunnocks, two Chiffchaffs and singles of Robin, Blue Tit and Goldcrest- a truly early autumnal mix.
With a drop in the wind for a couple of days forecast there could be a significant movement of later departures and early arrivals.
The wind continued and no ringing was possible today.
There has been a bunch of movements reported for birds ringed here. These include a Goldfinch ringed here on 31/10/18 and found dead in Northants on 11/9/20 showing some Goldfinch still head south for the winter.
Secondly a Reed Warbler ringed as a young bird here on 20/8/14 and retrapped in the Gironde, France, on 24/8/20 754 Km SSW. This is now on its 7th journey down to West Africa.
Thirdly a Garden Warbler ringed here on 29/8/17 (on passage as they do not breed here) and retrapped at Shotleyfield in Northumberland on 25/6/20, 459 km NNW, presumably near its breeding site.
Finally a Blackbird ringed here as an adult on 07/11/17 and retrapped at Poole Harbour, Dorset, on 26/8/20, 247 Km WSW. Not so easy to explain unless it ranges across the South coast in the winter.
The strength of the north-easterly meant only a small amount of activity was possible and seven birds were ringed. This did include the first Lesser Redpoll of the year.
As often happens at this time of year when the wind heads towards north-east, before Northern European migrants arrive, the number of migrants decreases. Despite a calm start only 56 birds were ringed. Blackcaps reduced to 30 and Chiffchaffs to 13. Hopefully a hint of things to come there was a Goldcrest and five Siskins.
A calm, warm start revealed the continuing movement of Blackcaps and Chiiffchaffs which formed the majority of the 98 birds ringed. There were also four Willow Warblers but no other warblers.
It was calm and misty again to start with but this time a bank of fog rolled in before being burnt off by the hot sun. There was not as much Chiffchaff activity apparent first thing and with the big movement yesterday of hirundines along the shore and further inland the sky was a lot quieter. We still ringed 93 birds, as usual mostly Blackcaps (47) and Chiffchaffs (38) but although there were more retraps (11) there was not another control. Other birds ringed included Goldfinch (3), Reed Warbler (2), Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and Garden Warbler.
Very calm and misty to start with. There were Chiffchaffs calling from every bush but with a small team ringing it was a case of not overstretching. Fifty eight birds were ringed made up of a Dunnock, two Blackbirds, 37 Blackcaps, 17 Chiffchaffs and a Siskin. The breeze got up quickly and brought an early finish to proceedings.
Not quite as calm but still warm and dry. It seemed to be a day for the ‘vis. mig’ aficionados starting with Siskins and helped by House Martins. None of these were interested in stopping to collect a ring. Seventy eight birds were ringed including 40 Chiffchaffs and 33 Blackcaps. Two Willow Warblers, two Blue Tits and a Reed Warbler made up the rest. As is often the case at this time of year all of them were juveniles.
A calm autumnal morning with a bit of early mist. Again the limit on the number of birds ringed was the number of available ringers. The team today ringed 144 birds. Ninety six of these were Blackcaps and 38 were Chiffchaffs. Variety was provided by a Sparrowhawk, a Siskin and a Goldcrest. There is a slow trickle of new Blue Tits with two more today.
A calm night with patches of cloud at times was followed by a beautiful warm, sunny, day. Blackcaps continued to move with 74 of the 88 birds ringed being this species. Eleven Chiffchaffs and singles of Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Goldfinch made up the rest.
There were clearer skies at times last night and so more birds arrived. There was little variety but 113 were ringed. Fifty five were Chiffchaffs and 54 Blackcaps.
Members who have read our regular newsletters or anyone who has read through our excellent 2019 annual report will have noted that we are taking part in an international collaboration using very small tags which can be detected by a network of aerials down the North Sea coast. Although the UK members have not yet sorted out the licence to fit them here colleagues in Germany and Holland are fitting them to migrating birds and bats. Heligoland Bird Observatory is aiming to fit 140 Wheatears and 140 Robins with tags and are well on the way to achieving this. Hopefully our aerials will detect some of these.
A thick layer of cloud meant it was a warm start to the day. Migrants appeared not to have started off in these conditions and we were not accompanied by the ticking of Blackcaps as we set up. In fact Chiffchaffs were more noticeable and this proved to be so in the final totals. Seventy five birds were ringed of which 33 were Chiffchaffs and 25 Blackcaps. The next highest were seven House Sparrows. Lesser Whitethroats continued their good showing with another two.
A check of the House Martin nestboxes the other day showed that most had fledged, as expected, but two nests still contained chicks. These were not big enough to ring yet but should be ready by the end of the week.
Calm and clear overnight followed by a bit of autumnal mist which was quickly burnt off by the warm sun. With a smaller team in today there were slightly less birds ringed in total. Blackcaps increased to 127 (plus a second control) but Chiffchaffs reduced to 19. Two Lesser Whitethroats, a Swallow and a Goldcrest added variety. Only two of the Blackcaps were adults.
The birds undertaking visible migration such as hirundines and Siskins did not pause in the ringing area.
Another calm night and with the skies clear to the north Blackcaps continue to pour through. Today was the first day this year a single species has passed the one hundred mark with 125 Blackcaps being ringed. The final total of 182 new birds was also helped by 30 Chiffchaffs, six Siskins, five Blue Tits and four Robins- a real early autumn mixture.
It will be interesting to see if this sort of passage continues as the weather seems set to remain fairly benign this week.
After a clear start to the night a band of rain swept through followed by more clear, calm, weather. Although it did not look busy there was a steady flow of birds and a limited number of nets produced the first 100+ new bird morning. In all there were 106 new and five retrap birds. Eighty nine of these were Blackcaps and 12 were Chiffchaffs. The Blackcaps were in good condition with more than half weighing between 20 and 23 grams. A Siskin flock of 60+ were too busy feeding on the opening Birch seed heads to come and get a ring.
A good, calm, start resulted in an improved catch of 64 new birds. Siskins have been teasing us for a while but 14 were caught today. There was also the second Spotted Flycatcher of the year, 38 Blackcaps, three Reed Warblers and one each of Redstart, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.
As usual this neck of the coast did not quite match the forecast but it was still windy. There was enough shelter to get a bit of ringing done and the effort was rewarded with the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year There were also ten Blackcaps, a Swallow and a Willow Warbler.
A lovely, if cool, calm start to the morning resulted in more arrivals. Amongst 80 new birds were 64 Blackcaps, four Lesser Whitethroats, Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest, Coal Tit, and the first Goldcrest of the year.
Tuesday September 1st
A calm overcast start following a clear calm night and it was not a surprise that birds were on the move. One hundred and nine birds were caught of which 99 were new. Eighty five Blackcaps were the bulk of this and there were plenty more around at first. When we get movements like this it is often rare to get any adult birds but today there were at least six.
The next top species was Lesser Whitethroat with three. A Redstart and a Pied Flycatcher added more variety.