Friday, 22 January 2016

Recent Ringing

When the weather turned cold last weekend I was full of excitement for a good ringing session. There had been loads of birds about but the strong winds had prevented any chance of opening any nets.

How wrong could I have been!
Yes we did catch a few things but the birds had largely deserted the area. Two days earlier there had been 10 blackbirds about, Saturday we only caught a couple. Even the house sparrows out the front of the house had disappeared.

Having said all that, we did manage to catch a few nice things.
First up was a lovely male siskin, the first one of the year and only the 2nd of the winter followed by a 1st year male lesser redpoll soon after. I popped on a tape with a redpoll call and managed to catch a 2nd male. Neither bird had been around before so it was a surprise to catch them.

Our piebald blackbird was still about but we didn't catch her this time.

1-3 - lesser redpoll
4 - siskin
5 - female blackbird

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Winter WeBS

Thankfully the weather was dry and bring for out monthly count of all the wildfowl and waders on the reserve today after the crappy conditions of recent days but despite it being much colder, there was no visible increase in bird numbers

Water levels have been low for a week or so now which has been loved by the teal feeding around the edges of the lagoons but today they were obvious by their absence. The fresh marsh was packed with large gulls probably as a result of the strong winds attracting them in to the razorshell and starfish wreck on the beach. 3 yellow-legged gulls were about but from my position, all the birds were back on to me making them hard to go through. My full count produced 822 herring, 2 LBB, 150 common but sadly none of the yellow-legged.
A barn owl carrying food from Patsy's reedbed to their usual nest site was interesting record this early in the year.

I finished my count and headed around to the west bank to join up with Dave and Chris foe a look at the sea. The tide was still a bit too high making viewing birds in the swell very difficult. There were small numbers of mergs, scoter and goldeneye but looking for anything else amongst them was pointless. Two small groups of eider and a couple of immature gannet were added to my yearlist.
I decided to leave Dave and Chris and walk down the beach towards Brancaster to check through the gulls and look for a small flock of finches I had seen earlier in the day. A nice adult med gull was in the flock but no white wingers I had hoped for. I did pick up a couple of colour ringed herring gulls but they were flushed by a group of muppets before I could see them properly!

After lunch I spent most of the afternoon watching the fresh marsh. There seemed to be mlre teal than in the morning and I spent a bit of time counting and checking through the birds. 20 avocet (1 colour-ringed), 58 pintail, 452 brent geese, 77 blackwits, 48 dunlin, 73 mallard and a water rail feeding on the reed edge near Island Hide.
Despite the tide now being out, another look at the sea didn't produce a great deal apart from a big increase in common gulls (2500) now the shells and starfish were exposed and a close in guillemot (yeartick) flying past.

A first good full day out on the patch takes my yearlist over the 100 mark with 103 species recorded so far.

Beautiful light

After a few days of dark wet days, yesterday turned out to be a stunner. Yes is was cold but it is winter!

Had the afternoon off work so I decided to go for a bit of a route march up to Thornham Point for some exercise. Didn't really look for birds but there were good numbers of wildfowl on the fresh marsh.

The strong NW wind on the beach made it a good walk to the point if a little cold. Out of the wind, it was surprising how warm the sun was.

Lovely light for photography

Friday, 25 December 2015

Faithless 2.0

What was definitely the highlight  of the year for me was seeing Faithless in Manchester at the beginning of December.

It was loud, all the classics tunes were performed and the lightshow was spectacular.

Being seated lasted all of 5mins before everyone was up of their feet dancing.

Despite being slightly deaf the next day it was an awesome night

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

I'll be back

The blog will be returning in the New Year with my tales of woe from my yearlist attempt for Titchwell in 2016.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Farnes

After being delayed we were relieved when the boat company said they were sailing so we headed down to the quay. We were booked onto the all day trip which meant we were landing on Staple in the morning then onto Inner Farne for the afternoon.

The trip over was a little choppy but we were fortunate to be sat on the 'right' side and stayed dry. First stop was a brief look at the grey seals hauled out on the rocks before moving to Staple.

The cliffs around were covered in breeding auks and the sea and skies were full of birds fishing and flying too and fro. The best thing was the views and such a good angle seeing them from the water. On landing on the island it was great to meet up with ex volunteer David and catch up on his recent adventures. Despite the island only being small, there was plenty to.fill the 3 hours we had.

We moved onto Inner Farne for the afternoon and despite being very close to Staple, the feel of the place was very different. Staple was very rocky with virtually no vegetation and doesn't have any breeding terns. Inner Farne is much bigger, but still small, and actually has soil so there is much more vegetation.

Before we even landed there were Arctic terns everywhere we could see the people from the boat before us being hammered by the terns as they walked onto the island.

Ed had said that the roseate terns had been hanging around the quay but one of the rangers said they hadn't been seen that day yet. We had a scan of the roosting terns but no sign.

I had heard that views of the terns were good but I hadn't quite realised they would be nesting by the path and in some cases even on the path! The views were immense and I'm sure I could have picked them up if I wanted to do. Everywhere you walked you had to careful not to step on them.

The birds had no fear of people and at the main viewpoint they were nesting right by the fence completely unconcerned by all the people taking their pictures.

We decided to walk back to the quay too check the terns when we bumped into Ed and Lana coming back from their day off. We were very lucky as they invited us into the tower where they stay and showed us the view over the island from the roof. It was a fantastic view and you really got an idea of the number of nesting terns.

Our time was starting to run out so we headed back to look for any roseate terns. Most of the birds were now facing us roosting but I did manage to pick out an adult bird asleep. It did wake up for a short while before the whole flock flushed and it couldn't be relocated. 5th tern sp of the weekend and a great way to finish.

I would highly recommend a visit if you get the chance.