Sunday, 20 October 2019

20th October 2019

Weather: NE force 2/3
Not too many migrants on the ground in the north easterly breeze, 3 Goldcrests were ringed, but the star bird of the day, a Long-tailed Tit, was the first ringed here this year.

As can be seen from the above picture it is still finishing its moult. 
Little Egrets and Brent fed together in the east side gutter.
Three Meadow Pipits were caught in the potter traps which were deployed with the hope of ringing the 2 Rock Pipits that were present.
Ringed: 3 Meadow Pipits, 3 Goldcrests, 1 Long-tailed tit      [ 746-36 ]
photos JE

Thursday, 17 October 2019

17th October 2019

Weather: SE  force 3/4
The highlight of a very brief visit this morning was a Short-eared owl flushed from near the north end shortly after dawn that flew out over the beach and returned to settle again on the island. It left behind a pellet and a kill that seemed to be Redwing remains.
 Find the owl picture
There were no grounded migrants this morning but visible migration was much in evidence with Redwings and Song Thrushes featuring in small numbers, also several Siskins and a few Greenfinches and Chaffinches. Two groups of 5 and 4 Starlings flew through as did 3 Skylarks and a Grey Wagtail. A Reed Bunting paused briefly in the obs garden and 12 Carrion Crows gathered together by 'wheatear hill' on the west side, maybe the Owl was settled thereabouts. Just sixty or so Brent were on the whaleback, the rest much have been elsewhere. In contrast to the last week, only a single Rock Pipit was heard in the short time available.
Ringed: 1 Wren                [ 739-35 ]
photos CJ, SRW

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

16th October 2019

Weather: Wind SE force 3, moving to W & strengthening to force 4-5 mid-morning. Heavy rain early morning but brightening as the day progressed.

Hopes of any grounded migrants were soon dashed, with several rounds of the traps only producing two Robins, both controls, ringed on the island. A Skylark flew over and two Rock Pipits were at the North end.
A brief look a the sea located several small flocks of Scoter, some quite close to the island, with others flying near the wind farm. The Brent Geese were well scattered but 50 were fairly close to the island, with several family parties including many juveniles noted, hopefully representing a good breeding season.
Good numbers of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Sanderling fed on the East Hoyle bank as the tide flooded.
A Merlin chased waders between the islands and a Peregrine hung in the air south of Middle as the observers left the island.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

15th October 2019

Weather:  SE 0-1, 8/8 cloud, mizzle, poor vis

A quiet start to the day produced a grounded Redwing and Chiffchaff early on.

However, as the low cloud and drizzle passed it revealed a lovely calm autumn day.  Several Song Thrushes had been grounded with three caught and ringed during the morning along with the first Blackbird of the autumn.

A blanket of Meadow Pipits and Linnets were found near the north end and five Rock Pipits were counted today observers were hoping for a bunting with these groups of migrants so were not surprised when they heard and the saw a Snow Bunting (probably a male) flying over heading north; the first of the autumn for the islands.

Back at the Obs an observer on the balcony picked up three Whooper Swans flying in from the north and they passed by gracefully low over the flat calm sea heading off down the estuary where presumably the same three birds were seen at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB Reserve.  

Two Chiffchaffs were noted today the first for some time and included one near the North End making use of the temporary fencing above the fated cave.

A short seawatch was very productive with at least 2,000 Common Scoter noted, along with 35 Red-throated Diver, 50 Great Crested Grebe, 80 Razorbill, 18 Guillemot and a late first winter Common Tern which briefly landed on the rocks on the east side. A distant large skua spp was very probably a Pomarine but unfortunately disappeared before it was ‘nailed’.

130 Pale-bellied Brent Geese was a good count so early in the season; and many are juvenile/first winters.

The final highlight of a great day were two Twite which flew past observers by the air-raid shelter before alighting on the island at the south end above the slipway.

Ringing: Song Thrush (3), Blackbird [738-35] 

Monday, 14 October 2019

14th October 2019

Weather: SE force 3, mostly cloudy
There was no sign of yesterdays Yellow-browed Warbler but the Firecrest was still there, mostly feeding quietly in the old obs garden and later appearing in the shrubs in the new obs garden.

A couple of Song Thrushes, 2 Redwings and a Blackbird were around, the Song Thrushes became the first ringed this year apart from a single in January.

Extra Wrens were definitely present but only 3 Goldcrests this morning, less than yesterday, and no Chiffchaffs, although vis mig was good with 13 Chaffinches, 21 Skylarks, 3 Starlings, a Reed Bunting and nearly a hundred Meadow Pipits moving, some coming down with the 5 Rock Pipits, 3 of which were ringed following the 2 yesterday.
The Brent have increased markedly over the last 24 hours or so with 123 counted this morning.
A brief look at the sea surprisingly revealed a Bonxie flying away from the observers, probably it had been resting at the north end.

 A Great Crested Grebe was close in off the whaleback.
 At high tide the Oystercathcer roost was bigger than of late with 7,000 birds present, also 7 Little Egrets and 62 Turnstone, previously 54 Bar-tailed Godwits were feeding on the north shore tide with 80 Sanderling. A Raven was on Middle after the tide and received attention from the local Carrion Crows.

The Magpie continues to skulk about the island.
Ringed: 4 Wrens, 3 Rock Pipits, 3 Meadow Pipits, 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Robin. [ 734-35 ]
photos CJ, SRW

Sunday, 13 October 2019

13th October 2019

Weather: SE 2, 8/8 cloud, drizzle soon after dawn, poor vis

It was almost ideal conditions for grounding migrants on the island this morning.  Drizzle arrived soon after dawn and the south-easterly breeze produced a great day on the islands.

Redwings could be heard and seen around the gardens and Goldcrests could be heard calling from the bushes.

The second Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn was found in the Newton heligoland trap as the tide flooded.  However, it was only seen briefly after being caught, ringed and released in the Obs garden.

A Reed Bunting was noted as were several Chaffinches and more birds were arriving when a respite in the rain produced a nice round of the traps when Redwing, Chaffinch and several Goldcrests were caught.

A Merlin arrived at the North End and shot through south and the resident Magpie made several appearances.

Around midday the second scarce bird of the day appeared in the Obs garden when a Firecrest was seen and heard in the pittosporum.  It wasn’t long before that was also caught and ringed - another new species for the year at the Obs.

More Goldcrests arrived and there was time to do the WeBS count over the tide.

Ringing:   Redwing, Chaffinch, Robin, Goldcrest (7), Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler [720-35]

Photos AEH & SRW

Saturday, 12 October 2019

12th October 2019

Weather: SW force 2
In a warm and pleasant morning with an apparent passage of Rock Pipits (6) and 16 Meadow Pipits having taken place, it was decided to deploy the potter traps on 'wheatear hill', and it met with some success, ringing the first 2 Rock Pipits of the year (below) and 2 Meadow Pipits. A small passage of Robins and Wrens and a single Goldcrest resulted in further birds ringed.
There were waders about before the tide, Bar-tailed Godwits (below), Redshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover but most of these disappeared over the tide. There were 5000 Oystercatchers over the tide on the middle along with 2 Little Egrets, 10 Curlews and 30 Herring Gulls.
Thirty Five Brent geese turned up after the tide. An update on the ringed Cormorant pictured yesterday has revealed that it was ringed at Puffin island, Anglesey as a chick on 4th July 2018 and has not been previously reported until now.
Ringed: 2 Rock Pipits, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Robin, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Wren   [ 708-32 ]
photos JE