Saturday, 20 April 2013

A beautiful but slow morning at the coast

Today was surprisingly quiet at Waxham. Clear skies led to a heavy frost but turned into a glorious morning. Unfortunately the birds didn't seem to be taking advantage of this settled sunny weather and very little visible migration was taking place. A grasshopper warbler was the first bird in the net followed shortly by a firecrest which wasn't really a surprise, with them being widespread at various coastal sites in Norfolk in the last few days. Still a great bird every time! A Whimbrel and a couple of Yellow wagtails passed overhead, a White wagtail was on the campsite and 2 grasshopper warblers were singing. Hopefully, numbers wise, it will improve this week.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

More migrants back and a Control Chaffinch L5304**

Another morning spent at Waxham and a few more migrants were back. Whitethroats and blackcaps particularly arrived over night, back on the usual territories. Ringing here has shown that many of the birds we get at Waxham in the spring are returning birds rather than migrants passing through. True migrants in spring seem very thin on the ground, most passing up through the west of the country. The grasshopper warbler from the other day is still present, now in full song. It wouldn't surprise me if he is the same bird we ringed last year or the year before because he's singing from exactly the same bush, and sedge patches he did last year.

A control Chaffinch was nice (ring sequence L5304**), unfortunately it had scaly-leg on one leg (the one without the ring). This can occur from mites or from age, hopefully the latter.

Total: 33 birds, 24 new (8 retraps, 1 control)

Blackbird 1
Redwing 1
Song Thrush 1
Robin 4 (2)
Wren 3 (2)
Blackcap 4
Whitethoat 1
Willow Warbler 2 (1)
Chiffchaff 6
Great Tit (2)
Long-taild Tit (1)
Chaffinch 1 (1 control)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Waxham: spring at last (with a touch of winter)

A touch of winter - female Fieldfare about to depart the country

For the first time this year we went to Waxham in hope that there might be a few migrants in. Yesterday we arrived predawn and set up. Ringing was slow though it was nice to ring a few Chiffchaffs. Chaffinches and Meadow Pipits were passing overhead in large numbers all morning but very few dropped in.

Totals for Friday 12th April: 11 new (2 retraps, 1 control)

Meadow Pipit 1
Robin 1
Wren 1
Chiffchaff 3 (1 control)
Goldcrest 3
Great Tit 1
Blue Tit 1
Long-tailed Tit (2 retraps, both ringed autumn 2012)

Today was all change, Willow Warblers had arrived overnight as had at least 1 Grasshopper warbler. Yesterday we did see or not here a single one, today the sound of WW echoed from all around the campsite, though not in great numbers (and several were at Horsey Gap after we'd packed up). The gropper piped up mid-morning but only briefly and his voice was a bit unstable, bit out of practice. Singles of Tree pipit and Yellow Wagtail went overhead as did 2 green sandpipers, several small groups of siskin and a couple of brambling. Unlike yesterday there were very few chaffinches and just a few flocks of meadow pipits. A couple of Little terns flew past along the beach.

Ringing-wise it was nice to catch a returning Willow Warbler, ringed last spring, a probable control Chiffchaff (don't immediately recognise the ring sequence) and a surprising female Fieldfare, dropped in late morning and went straight into the net. This is surprising because last autumn when hundreds of fieldfares were dropping out of the sky and landing in the bushes around the nets, not a single one went in, we caught probably over 100 redwings, 5 Ring ouzels and many Blackbirds and song thrushes but no fieldfares. They always sat on top of the bushes, never moving through the bushes, so never going in the net. Today I only saw 3, 2 of which flew over high at dawn, and the only other went straight in the net, very strange.

Total for the day: 7 (5 retraps)

Fieldfare 1 F
Blackbird 1 F
Chiffchaff 1
Willow Warbler 2(1)
Blue tit 1 (1)
Robin 1 (3)