Monday, 26 December 2016

26th December

Walked the long walk down to Ironbridge, along the river to Cressage and back along the lanes through Sheinton; it was unfortunately pretty unremarkable with a calling Peregrine somewhere around the cooling towers at Ironbridge Power Station and the 2 wintering Common Sandpipers on the river (one at Buildwas and the other in front of Leighton Hall).    Other totals included my first Red Kite for the river, 21 Goosanders, 2 Kingfishers, 4 Mandarin, 2 Teal and c100 Skylarks – c30 at Buildwas and c70 at Cressage Bridge.

Red Kite


Common Sandpiper


Saturday, 24 December 2016

SPURN; 19th - 23rd December

I arrived at Spurn at lunchtime and a quick walk round produced 7 Pink-footed Geese on Holderness Field along with 158 Wigeon, 3 Goldeneye, 12 Little Grebes, 8 Teal and a few Red-throated Divers on the sea plus a Fox along Beacon Lane.  Put up a couple of nets on Kilnsea Wetlands just before dark and a few hours later as the tide came in we caught 13 Knot and 2 Redshank.

Caught a Song Thrush and a House Sparrow at Kew Villa in the morning but there wasn’t much happening really so I headed over the Welwick Saltmarsh and after a long, very cold two hour wait had good, if a bit distant views of the wintering juvenile PALLID HARRIER over the marsh at one point having a bit of a tussle with a male Marsh Harrier; a ringtail Hen Harrier was also floating around.

A pleasant day with a walk round the wetlands / ponds in the morning as the tide was rising producing a Purple Sandpiper on Beacon Ponds (probably the first I’ve seen at Spurn!) along with 266 Wigeon, 17 Teal, 8 Pink-footed Geese in fields behind the Obs, an adult male Kestrel on the listening dish and one wintering Greenshank.

A walk along the Humber to Sammy’s Point and back along the lanes in the afternoon then produced a Merlin which missed a Dunlin by inches over the mud, 2 more Sparrowhawks, a Stonechat, 3 Black-tailed Godwits also on the mud and the regular Black Brant with c500 Brent Geese a couple of fields west of Sammy’s carpark while there was a monster adult female Peregrine sat in the next field along.

The only birds today were a nice selection of Geese in the fields along Easington Straight with 3 Tundra Bean Geese the pick along with 14 Pink-footed Geese, 7 White-fronted Geese and the Black Brant with 600+ Brent Geese.   Just before this another group of 21 White-fronted Geese flew south over Kew Villa where there was also 2 Sparrowhawks but nothing in the nets.

Much stronger, howling winds today and a half-hearted wander around produced an increased 349 Wigeon, 3 Gadwall and 14 Teal around the wetlands, another Kestrel (and a Weasel!) at Beacon Ponds, a Gannet and a few Red-throated Divers offshore while an odd looking Common Gull floated down the beach with very dark heard markings but I couldn’t really turn it into anything else.

Purple Sandpiper on Beacon Ponds

Kestrel on the listening dish

Pink-footed and White-fronted Geese

Little Egret

1st winter Great Black-backed Gull over the dirty North Sea

Very well marked Common Gull; just a canus with a very dark head!


Slightly arty Curlew on the Humber

Thursday, 15 December 2016

14th December

There was a single Jack Snipe at Benthall Pools in the afternoon along with 2 Snipe and 20 Mallard; the usual route round Wyke and Benthall yielded 42 species.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Wyke Ringing (part two)

Just some more details of the series of unremarkable recoveries I've had of birds ringed here at Wyke since I began in 2006 with a couple of nets around the bird tables.


06.01.16     5F     Wyke
05.02.16     X      Buildwas, Shropshire     [Hit window]
                                                               2Km N

My only Chaffinch recovery despite ringing nearly 600!


12.01.11     5F     Wyke
14.01.11     R      Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
                                                                10Km S



26.11.06     3     Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
14.01.07     R    Wyke
                                                                10Km N

13.11.10     3     Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
03.01.11     R    Wyke
                                                                10Km N

21.11.10     3     Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
09.01.11     R    Wyke
                                                                10Km N

09.08.10     3J    Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
14.02.11     R    Wyke
                                                                 10Km N

A series of recoveries from a ringing site near Bridgnorth following a similar pattern, being ringed in the autumn and re-caught here in the new year.

19.08.10     4     Machrihanish, Argyll and Bute, SCOTLAND
23.11.10     R    Wyke
                                                                  376Km SE

This was my first out of Shropshire bird - I was so happy!   Ringed at a migration point on the Mull of Kintyre near Cambeltown and re-caught here during winter (or possibly on route somewhere else given the date).

02.09.10     3J     Higher Bebington, Wirrel, Merseyside
18.02.11     R     Wyke
                                                                  89Km SSE

18.12.12     4     Wyke
28.12.12     X    Benthall, Shropshire    [Hit window]
                                                                  3Km E


02.06.10     3J    Llandegai, Gwynedd, North Wales
21.01.11     R    Wyke
                                                                  122Km ESE

25.02.09     5M     Wyke
12.03.11     R       Low Waters, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, SCOTLAND
                                                                   362Km NNW

Two good Siskin recoveries nicely illustrating the marked difference in recovery rates for certain species, having only ringed 55 Siskins here compared to hundreds of other Finches.


02.02.09     5     Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
11.03.09     R    Wyke
                                                                     10Km N

12.10.08     3     Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
26.11.08     R    Wyke
                                                                     10Km N

19.02.10     5     Wyke
17.05.10     R    Cross Lane Head, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire
                                                                      10Km S

27.02.10     5     Wyke
10.12.13     X    Much Wenlock, Shropshire
                                                                      3Km SW

The numbers of Greenfinches caught each year has massively declined since I started as I caught 30-40 Greenfinches each winter from 2006 - 2010 after which it dropped off dramatically to just 1-7 birds from 2011 onwards.


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Wyke Ringing (part one)

Since 2006 I have ringed 6,276 birds at Wyke; the ringing is primarily undertaken in the winter, usually between sometime in November to sometime in March when I am between contracts elsewhere in the world with only the odd other session at other times in the year.   Below are the totals (not including this current winter);

Sparrowhawk                8
Lapwing                        1 (pullus)
Woodpigeon                  3
Stock Dove                   3
Collared Dove              8
Tawny Owl                   2
G. S. Woodpecker        43
Swallow                        8 (pullus)
Grey Wagtail                1
Wren                             69
Dunnock                       172
Robin                            209
Blackbird                      447
Song Thrush                 22
Redwing                       21
Fieldfare                       33
Mistle Thrush               18
Lesser Whitethroat        1
Blackcap                       13
Chiffchaff                     7
Willow Warbler            1
Goldcrest                      64
Long-tailed Tit             107
Marsh Tit                      57
Coal Tit                        194
Blue Tit                        2,075
Great Tit                       1,037
Nuthatch                       52
Treecreeper                   41
Jay                                 15
Magpie                          9
Jackdaw                        13
House Sparrow             293
Brambling                     16
Chaffinch                      587
Greenfinch                    151
Siskin                            55
Goldfinch                      320
Lesser Redpoll              4
Bullfinch                       63
Yellowhammer             24
Reed Bunting                4

Despite good numbers caught over the years the recovery rate from my birds (and the capture of birds from elsewhere) is very low, not really surprising given that most of the birds caught are local and naturally won't travel too far to get lost in the black hole of birding that is Shropshire but below are the few recoveries that I have received.



04.01.15     6F      Wyke
23.04.16     X       Benthall Edge Wood   [hit power lines]
                                                       3Km E


10.01.16     6M     Wyke
26.05.16     X       Oude Deventerweg, THE NETHERLANDS     [Road casualty]
                                                        602Km E

My one and only foreign recovery, it got me very excited!   Now I just need to catch another 450 Blackbirds to get another one!


29.09.14     3     Dukes Warren, Surrey
05.04.16     R    Wyke (The Vineyards)
                                                        220Km NW


31.01.10     5     Chelmarsh Reservoir, Shropshire
02.03.10     R    Wyke
                                                        18Km NNW

27.11.07     4     Wyke
02.05.09     X    Woodhouse Farm, Wyke, Shropshire     [Caught by cat]
                                                         1Km SW

14.01.06     5     Prees, Shropshire
25.11.07     R    Wyke
                                                         31Km SE

07.07.03     3J    Venusbank, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire
23.01.08     R    Wyke
                                                          11Km E

23.05.10     1     Much Wenlock, Shropshire
03.01.11     R    Wyke
                                                          5Km NNE

11.03.10     5     Wyke
06.02.11     X    Bulkington, Devizes, Wiltshire     [Hit a window]
                                                           148Km SSE

Perhaps my most impressive recovery; a huge distance for most of the UK's resident Blue Tits!

23.01.11     5     Much Wenlock, Shropshire
11.02.11     R    Wyke
                                                            5Km NNE

22.05.11     1     Wenlock Edge, Shropshire
31.12.11     R    Wyke
                                                             7Km ENE

18.01.11     5     Wyke
24.11.11     R    Much Wenlock, Shropshire
                                                             5Km SSW


30.01.07    6     Wyke
23.02.07    X    Woodhouse Farm, Shropshire     [Only leg and ring found]
                                                             1Km SW

13.09.12     5     Walcot, near Wellington, Telford, Shropshire
03.01.13     R     Wyke
                                                              11Km SSE

01.01.13     5     Much Wenlock, Shropshire
05.01.13     R    Wyke
                                                              5Km NNE

07.07.15     3     Somerford Hall, Staffordshire
27.02.16     R    Wyke
                                                              27Km WSW 


17.12.12     4     Wyke
15.05.13     R    Farley, Much Wenlock, Shropshire
                                                              3Km SSW

This Magpie was caught in some netting as it went wandering into an outbuilding and released alive!

One of the more crazy birds I've caught - it was originally ringed as a normal Coal Tit one winter and re-trapped the following winter with this mad deformed bill, he seemed healthy enough!

Friday, 9 December 2016

GEDSER - Some results....

On 27th October I extracted an Eastern-type Lesser Whitethroat from a net; the late date alone would have suggested that it was one of the eastern forms but the tail pattern and the overall cold, brownish plumage tones further pointed this direction.    Proving it would be a different kettle of fish but some feather samples were taken and sent to Prof. Martin Collinson at Aberdeen University for DNA analysis and the results confirmed that it was indeed a SIBERIAN LESSER WHITETHROAT of the subspecies Sylvia curruca blythi.
This admittedly is the commonest eastern form that is seen in western Europe in the autumn and is almost certainly annual in the UK but still, its great to get confirmation!

Siberian Lesser Whitethroat
We also caught a selection of birds with rings from elsewhere; most of the details have come back now (hopefully there will be a bunch of our birds subsequently caught elsewhere!) but below are the details of the ones I've had back so far (with a few from my first spell at Gedser - spring 2014 thrown in).
290245 (A286)
02.06.16               1              Wallnau Wasservogelreserat, Ostholstein, GERMANY
05.08.16               VV          Gedser Odde
                                                                                2 months, 3 days              62Km E
29.06.99               1              Storeager, Holeby, Lolland & Falster, DENMARK
12.06.14               X             Lindholm, Nysted, Sjælland    [found long dead]
                                                                                14 years, 11 months, 13 days      10Km ENE
07.08.12               5              Gedser Odde, Sydfalster, DENMARK
03.09.16               VV          Gedser Havn
                                                                                4 years, 27 days                                3Km WNW
6237693 (EF717)
04.02.12               6              Vinkelvej 1B, Gedser, Sydfalster, DENMARK
01.02.15               R             Binnenalster, Hamburg, GERMANY
03.09.16               VV          Gedser Havn
                                                                                4 years, 6 months, 28 days           1.6Km NE
29.04.14               5M         Gedser
22.08.14               X             Mörlundavägen, Kristdala, Kalmar, SWEDEN    [caught by cat]
                                                                                3 months, 23 days            411Km NE
18.10.13               3              Beaufays, Liege, BELGIUM
30.03.14               R             Gedser
                                                                                5 months, 12 days            617Km NE
02.04.16               5              Eemshaven-oost, Groningen, THE NETHERLANDS
20.09.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                5 months, 18 days            355Km ENE
20.09.15               4              Espoo, Uusimaa, FINLAND
03.10.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                1 year, 13 days                  991Km WSW
01.04.14               5              Gedser
04.10.14               R             Zuiderzeeweg, Naarden, Noord-Holland, THE NETHERLANDS
                                                                                6 months, 3 days              514Km WSW
25.03.14               6              Gedser
06.06.14               X             Skovvænget 18, Falster, DENMARK   [hit window]
                                                                                2 months, 12 days            2Km WNW
18.09.13               2              Keldsnor, Sydlangeland, DENMARK
14.04.14               R             Gedser
                                                                                6 months, 26 days            83Km ESE
19.09.13               2              Keldsnor, Sydlangeland, DENMARK
30.03.14               R             Gedser
                                                                                6 months, 11 days            83Km ESE
09.10.12               3              Sint Huibrechts-Hern, Limburg, BELGIUM
08.04.14               R             Gedser
                                                                                1 year, 5 months, 30 days             604Km NE
18.04.14               6              Fyren, Falsterbo, Skäne, SWEDEN
23.04.14               R             Gedser
                                                                                5 days                                   106Km SSW
27.03.14               5              Fyren, Falsterbo, Skåne, SWEDEN
23.10.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                2 years, 6 months, 27 days           106Km SSW
04.07.15               4              Renstad, Tåkern, Ӧstergötland, SWEDEN
12.08.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                1 year, 1 month, 8 days                 451Km SSW
24.08.13               3              Bröttopsören, Ӧland, SWEDEN
30.05.14               R             Gedser
                                                                                9 months, 6 days              377Km SW
02.06.14               4              Fyren, Falsterbo, Skäne, SWEDEN
05.06.14               R             Gedser
                                                                                3 days                                   106Km SSW
31.07.16               3              Grönvik, Skåne Län, Skåne, SWEDEN
21.08.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                21 days                                 183Km SSW
04.09.14               3F           Bingsmarken, Skurup, Skåne, SWEDEN
17.10.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                2 years, 1 month, 13 days             134Km SW
21.05.14               4              Gedser
07.08.15               X             Birkemosevej 15, Gedser, DENMARK   [hit window]
                                                                                1 year, 2 months, 17 days             0.9Km NNE
23.07.16               3              Bingsmarken, Skurup, Skåne, SWEDEN
27.09.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                2 months, 4 days              134Km SW
11.10.15               3              Torreberga, Skåne Län, Skåne, SWEDEN
27.09.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                11 months, 16 days         142Km SW
30.04.14               4              Utklippan, Blekinge, SWEDEN
16.08.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                2 years, 3 months, 16 days           283Km WSW
20.09.16               3F           Lista Fyr, Farsund, Vest-Agder, NORWAY
27.09.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                7 days                                   516Km SE
26.09.16               3M         Kyrkbacken, Ӓssön, Ӧrebo, SWEDEN
16.10.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                20 days                                 562Km SSW
10.10.16               3              Rönnfällan, Norsjö, Västerbotten, SWEDEN
07.11.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                28 days                                 1,219Km SSW
03.10.16               3M         Mynämäki, Varsinais-Suomi, Turku & Pori, FINLAND
08.11.16               R             Gedser
                                                                                1 month, 5 days                                891Km SW
 Codes;   R - Recaptured by ringer, X - Found dead, VV - Ring read in field, 1 - Ringed as a chick, 3 - Ringed in the birds first calendar year, 4 - Ringed as an adult
Most of the birds follow the same kind of pattern with birds ringed Sweden, Norway and Finland passing through Gedser in the autumn on their way south and birds ringed further south (The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium etc.) either on migration or during winter and a few (not shown here) caught further south in France, Spain etc. either still on migration (in terms of African wintering species) or on their winter quarters (in terms of species which just go as far as southern Europe to winter)