Monday, 31 October 2016

GEDSER - October Ringing Totals

An awesome 9,131 birds were ringed during this record breaking October with many species appearing in the nets in unheard of numbers - Goldcrests spring to mind as does a day with 189 Wrens (which, looking back is a great new record but it was not really much fun taking them all out of the nets!).    It just needed that one mega, stonking rarity to round it off, perhaps November will produce......

Anyway, here is the list;

Sparrowhawk            10
Buzzard                     1
Grey Partridge          1
Tawny Owl               1
Long-eared Owl        1
G. S. Woodpecker    1
Swallow                    1
Tree Pipit                  1
Yellow Wagtail         1
Wren                         489
Dunnock                   125
Robin                       1,810
Redstart                     8
Ring Ouzel                2
Blackbird                  112
Fieldfare                    3
Song Thrush              90
Redwing                   15
Mistle Thrush            3
Reed Warbler            2
Lesser Whitethroat    1  (eastern)
Garden Warbler         1
Blackcap                    54
Pallas`s Warbler       1
Yellow-browed W.    4
Chiffchaff                  416
Willow Warbler         2
Goldcrest                 4,956
Firecrest                    16
R. B. Flycatcher        1
Northern L. T. Tit      25
Long-tailed Tit           19
Coal Tit                      12
Blue Tit                      309
Great Tit                     62
Treecreeper                19
S. T. Treecreeper       1
Great Grey Shrike      2
House Sparrow          1
Tree Sparrow             13
Chaffinch                   116
Brambling                  15
Greenfinch                 26
Goldfinch                   8
Siskin                         226
Linnet                         1
Lesser Redpoll           64
Mealy Redpoll           23
Northern Bullfinch     51 (probably all of them were northern)
Hawfinch                   2
Yellowhammer          2
Reed Bunting            13

GEDSER - 31st October

A perfect ringing day, calm and completely overcast but it was unfortunately pretty quiet in the garden as we only managed 50 new birds with a small influx of 21 Blackbirds the only real feature of the morning with 3 Northern Bullfinches (well, the male was certainly Northern but the two females caught were borderline – wing lengths of 85 and 86) and a Mistle Thrush providing the quality.

There was little else to mention through the day really with a few Chaffinches, Bramblings and Siskins over the garden in the first few hours of the morning along with a handful of Redpolls, Yellowhammers, Skylarks and Mistle Thrushes while a group of 5 Little Gulls and a few Barnacle and Brent Geese flocks were also of note.

Beautiful, black billed 1st winter male `northern` Blackbird 

GEDSER - 27th October

Just had time for a couple of hours with the nets before heading back to the UK for Jack and Laura’s wedding in York; it was a very promising looking morning with low cloud and light winds but I ended up not missing anything, managing to still be here for the best birds of the day which comprised an Eastern-type Lesser Whitethroat and a Long-eared Owl caught shortly after first light while a group of 20 Waxwings flew around the garden calling loudly.

A few pictures of the eastern Lesser Whitethroat - not really sure what it is, perhaps a halimodendri type, hopefully the feather samples taken will provide the answers.

Long-eared Owl

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

GEDSER - 26th October

Another lovely day with plenty of sunshine and light winds produced a great varied mix of late autumn species in the nets through the day; we managed a good 345 new birds with the most common bird being a new influx of 173 Robins and 22 Chiffchaffs while the quality included 7 more big, soft Northern Bullfinches and a wide array of Redpolls which included quite a few big frosty, smart looking Mealy Redpolls.

                It was largely quiet overhead with birds of note being a the first Waxwing of the autumn, a Woodlark, a couple of Hawfinches, 3 Red Kites, a handful of Common Buzzards and the first Collared Dove I’ve seen at the station which flew through while a big flock of 20+ Northern Long-tailed Tits moved quickly through the tall trees on the eastern side of the garden without coming down.

Some smart, very white looking Mealy Redpolls today

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

GEDSER - 25th October

A lovely day, sunny with the light wind switching round to the north; the nets, although open all day in the fine conditions were fairly quiet with 154 new birds caught including 3 Northern Bullfinches and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.   A Norwegian ringed Goldcrest was also of note.

                There wasn’t too much passing overhead either with a few decent flocks of Jackdaws the only obvious migrants although little bits included a Woodlark and 2 Grey Wagtails; the middle of the day when it was at its sunniest saw excellent numbers of Common Buzzards high over the garden, I’ve no real idea how many there were as they were forming big kettles drifting out and drifting back in, moving south then north etc. but at one stage there were 60+ in a big circling flock over the garden.   There were 5+ Rough-legged Buzzards and a Red kite mixed in with the flocks; a Great Grey Shrike was also in the garden during the afternoon but it avoided all the nets.


Tree Sparrow

Rough-legged Buzzard

Monday, 24 October 2016

GEDSER - 24th October

A perfect ringing day – calm, partly cloudy with some sunshine in the afternoon but the totals were reduced from the previous week as we seem to have broken the back of the crazy Goldcrest migrations; the total of 351 new birds through the day was still very decent but it was nowhere near as hectic as it has been.    There was still a trickle of 192 Goldcrests caught (mainly in the morning) along with 64 Robins and 27 Wrens while the highlights included a Firecrest, 3 Treecreepers and a female Northern Bullfinch.

                Overhead passage was also much reduced despite the fine weather with just a few small flocks of Finches, Woodpigeons, Rooks and Jackdaws moving through; a flock of 120 Cranes also went over while a few raptors included at least 9 Rough-legged Buzzards, 2 Red Kites, 15 Common Buzzards and quite a few Sparrowhawks.  

Other little bits around included my first Long-eared Owl of the autumn in the trees by the house, 2 Hawfinches over, a flock of 20 Pintail heading south, the first Great-spotted Woodpecker for a while and in the much quieter afternoon a great flock of 16 Red Kites which flapped lazily over the garden late afternoon and 2 Red-throated Divers calling as they flew east.

Rough-legged Buzzard

More Goldcrests in the grass

Long-eared Owl

Hovering Common Buzzards - this behaviour seems much more regular over here than amongst our Common Buzzards back in the UK

Sunday, 23 October 2016

GEDSER - 23rd October

Dry, overcast conditions with light winds produced yet another epic day of ringing as we caught another 778 new birds through another all-day session; 468 Goldcrests obviously again dominated, forcing us to close all the nets at one stage but it was the record breaking and ludicrous 189 Wrens (including a Swedish ringed individual) that was the feature of the day – the nets were just full of them at dawn with birds flying in to the net by your head as you were extracting another, bonkers!

                Other ringing highlights included an excellent 19 Northern Bullfinches, a Firecrest, a very late Yellow Wagtail (sounding and looking normal unfortunately!), 24 Chiffchaffs, 4 Treecreepers and 2 Blackcaps.

Again, especially in the morning there was little time to look around or up in the sky but overhead passage was reduced from previous days but there were still decent flocks of Thrushes, Finches and Woodpigeons departing Scandinavia; raptors were also prominent with several Rough-legged Buzzards and Red Kites, a Hen Harrier, a couple of Common Buzzards and many Sparrowhawks seen over the garden.   Other birds picked out through the day included a brilliant flock of 130 Cranes, a Serin in the afternoon, 3 Hawfinches, quite a few Northern Bullfinch and Crossbill flocks often just heard calling overhead and a big flock of Northern Long-tailed Tits which sped through the garden without getting caught.

Yellow Wagtail

Silly numbers!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

GEDSER - 22nd October

Pretty much rained all day and while never really heavy it prevented any ringing through the morning; it was however a very impressive morning as thousands and thousands of birds continued to pour low over the garden with big flocks of Chaffinch, Brambling and Siskin moving through along with Redpolls, Greenfinches, Reed Buntings etc.   Thrushes were also obvious with thousands of Mistle Thrushes heading through while perhaps more impressive were huge flocks of 2-3,000 Woodpigeons wheeling around high overhead gradually plucking up courage to head south out across the sea – there was no way or time to get any counts but it was enough simply to sit back and enjoy the amazing spectacle that has been a feature of this remarkable autumn so far.

                The garden was also heaving with birds with many Chiffchaffs mixed in with more thousands of Goldcrests filling bushes and grass but again it was not just a dump of birds they were all actively and obviously migrating through and were largely gone by the afternoon.   There was also a big arrival of Dunnocks in the garden with the whole place (and often the sky as well) full of their calls but again they were largely all gone by the afternoon.

                A walk round Kroghage late morning produced more of the same with Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs moving north up the coast whizzing just past your head as they carried on regardless; there was little else there really with 2 Hawfinches and 3 Black Redstarts of note.

                Managed to open a couple of nets in the afternoon by standing next to them and extracting birds as they flew in and in just a couple of hours caught 113 new birds including 72 Robins.   Other bits seen through the day around the garden included the Great Grey Shrike still in the front hedge, a big beast of a female Peregrine chasing Mistle Thrushes around, a couple of Hawfinches and a Short-eared Owl.

Friday, 21 October 2016

GEDSER - 21st October

After some prolonged rain overnight it was another fantastic October day with another all day ringing session in sometimes very pleasant conditions; we were again flat out through the morning with the bulk of the 715 Goldcrests being caught which in turn formed most of the 917 new birds trapped; there were again some good highlights with a stunning PALLAS’S WARBLER caught in the afternoon along with another Yellow-browed Warbler, 2 Firecrests and 9 Northern Bullfinches.

                Overhead passage was much reduced from yesterday but there were still Finch flocks and really high Fieldfare flocks heading out (30,000 were counted at the point although they weren’t obvious over the garden) while other little bits included a couple of Hawfinches, a Woodlark, a few raptors with 4 Rough-legged Buzzards, a couple of Red Kites and many Sparrowhawks seen and some big Barnacle and White-fronted Goose flocks.

                Other things of note included my first 2 Whooper Swans of the autumn which flew noisily over the garden at first light, 2 Black Redstarts and an awesome little Weasel which was capering around my feet near one of the nets at dusk – hopefully he doesn’t get start to associate them with food….

Pallass Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

Thursday, 20 October 2016

GEDSER - 20th October

Yet another awesome day of ringing and tens of thousands of birds pouring overhead; a dry, overcast day with lightish winds meant another all day ringing session during which we managed an excellent 678 new birds again dominated by 486 Goldcrests which generally came through the very hectic morning (at some stages we were just down to two nets due to the sheer volume of birds being caught) while other birds making up the totals included 26 Wrens, 41 Robins, 29 Blue Tits and 19 Siskins.  

                There was some quality mixed in with the catch though with our fifth Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn caught in the morning rush, 2 Firecrests, 12 Northern Long-tailed Tits (along with two Southern birds resembling the British ones), 3 Treecreepers, 2 Northern Bullfinches (plus one of yesterday’s re-traps) and another awesome Hawfinch.

                During the crazy hectic mornings ringing there were tens of thousands of birds piling over the garden to the east but unfortunately I didn’t have that much time to just appreciate the spectacle let alone get any counts of anything.   Chaffinches, Bramblings and Siskins were again passing over in big flocks but the day belonged to the thousands and thousands of Fieldfares (and smaller numbers of Mistle Thrushes and Redwings) which poured over the garden in huge flocks – amazing scenes!   The numbers I saw over the garden were a small percentage of what was happening through the day as numbers counted at the point included 65,430 Fieldfares, 12,170 Mistle Thrushes, 1,750 Redwings, 25,400 Chaffinch\Brambling and 1,590 Siskins!

                Mixed in the multitudes were a couple each of Woodlarks and Hawfinches, at least 200 Sparrowhawks, several Red Kites, a Common Buzzard, 20+ Swallows, a couple of Grey Wagtails, more probably Northern Bullfinches, several Crossbill flocks and a selection of the other usual bits and bobs – Redpolls, Greenfinches, Linnets, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits etc.    Also more obvious today were big flocks of Woodpigeons, Jackdaws and Rooks with a few Stock Doves thrown in.

                Definitely also worth a mention was a brilliant first winter Peregrine which perched on a dead tree on the edge of the garden and allowed close approach to enable some decent pictures to be taken; the bird had many features suggesting an ARCTIC PEREGRINE of the subspecies calidus, with its pale head, thin moustachial stripe on very white cheeks and the underpart streaking fading to much thinner streaks in the centre of the chest.

Putative Arctic Peregrine

Northern Long-tailed Tits; the bottom picture was when one of them perched on the net (but not actually trapped in it!) to look up at and investigate the rest of the flock which were caught!


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

GEDSER - 19th October

Again rain first thing but this time it lingered on and off throughout the whole day, never very heavy just enough to disrupt any ringing; we were limited to one or two nets, watched constantly, extracting birds as soon as they were caught, with this labour intensive method we managed a respectable 159 new birds.   The total included 118 Goldcrests, 20 Robins, 10 Chiffchaffs and the highlight of 3 Northern Bullfinches caught together in the afternoon.

                As soon as the heavier rain moved through around 09:00 there was an impressive movement of Finches low over the garden for a couple of hours and with them were a Woodlark, a Hawfinch, a Grey Wagtail and a few Crossbill flocks while some decent White-fronted Goose flock milled around overhead.

                A few hours birding at a couple of sites in the middle of the day produced a juvenile Black-throated Diver and a first winter Little Gull offshore at Buserup Strand with good numbers of Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Robins scattered along the coast before the highlights at Kroghage were a flock of 11 Northern Long-tailed Tits and a Firecrest along with 23 Tundra Bean Geese over to the west, a Grey Wagtail, a Wheatear, 7 Scaup on the pools, a Black Redstart and predictably a good spread of Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and Robins but nothing too different.

Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammer

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

GEDSER - 18th October

Rain for the first few hours of the morning delayed proceedings but when it finally stopped around 09:00 the garden was jumping with birds; some nets were gradually opened, with one of the first birds to be caught being a smart first winter Red-breasted Flycatcher, from where we managed a very decent 571 new birds through the rest of the day.   Obviously the totals were dominated by 447 Goldcrests but also included 20 Chiffchaffs and 58 Robins while a bit of quality was added with a cracking Hawfinch, another Firecrest, a Common Redpoll with some Lessers which came into roost and a Treecreeper.

                It was also very lively overhead as soon as the rain cleared through with flocks of Finches again pouring overhead with these early flocks being joined by 5 Woodlarks, a Serin, 3+ Hawfinches and a few Crossbill flocks.   I didn’t really see much else through the day as I was ringing constantly throughout although an adult Little Gull did fly over the garden in the afternoon.


Red breasted Flycatcher

Monday, 17 October 2016

GEDSER - 17th October

Another similar day although visibility was much reduced with general mist and murk lingering throughout; this didn’t really affect the ringing but due to natural diminishing returns and diminishing personnel we `only` managed 585 new birds.   The total was again dominated by 459 Goldcrests (including a Swedish ringed bird) along with an increase of 22 Chiffchaffs and 4 Blackcaps (plus a Swedish ringed bird) while we again caught 72 new Robins and another Firecrest.

                For another day I never left the garden, having the nets open all day so I have little else to mention although there was a Yellow-browed Warbler calling at dawn which failed to find its way into a net, a Rough-legged Buzzard went over in the afternoon and there were many Goose flocks milling around, predominantly White-fronted Geese but quite a few Barnacles as well with many flocks heading directly south and many more flocks passing over as they moved between fields.

                Overhead passage was reduced from yesterday in the poor visibility but Finches continued to move again quite a few Crossbill flocks were seen and heard along with the usual Thrushes, Pipits and Skylarks.

This strikingly pale (presumably partially leucistic) Goldcrest was amongst todays catch

Especially when compared to this normal one who didn't want to leave after being ringed