Monday, 28 February 2011

I tend not to do much moth trapping in the winter, too cold, too wet you know the score, so it wasn't much of a surprise to get a new moth on Saturday morning. Despite heavy overnight rain, the trap did get 9 moths of which pale brindled beauty was new and I hadnt seen many twin-spot quakers. Role on the warn nights of summer!
Twin spot quaker and pale brindled beauty
It has been a bit too windy recently to open the nets in the garden so it was nice to catch 4 siskins on Sunday. A very 'rosey' redpoll sp managed to evade the nets which was a bit annoying.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Not really much going on at the moment so there hasn't been a great deal to write about. Few bits about on the reserve in the last week although the 3 red-crested pochards and drake mandarin are surely of 'unknown origin'. The quality has been left to an adult Bewick's swan that has been feeding on a sugarbeet field at the end of the carpark and roosting on the fresh marsh at night.

Loads of finches in the garden at the moment. At least 30 chaffinch and greenfinch at the weekend and there are still 4 lesser redpoll and 3 siskin today.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Cracking but usexpected ringing session this morning. Conditions were not the best, it was windy and we always had the threat of rain. Thankfully the rain held off and we ended the morning with 52 new and 45 re-traps - very good for this time of year. Highlights had to be the large number of long-tailed tits caught. They are often around but always seem to keep clear despite running a tape to attract them. For some reason they just wanted to go in the nets today and we ended up with getting 29! Always cracking birds to handle and usually really easy to extract.
A new woodcock was a nice early bird and a couple of goldcrests added some variety.

2 lesser redpoll and 3 siskin on the feeders when I got home but it was too windy to open and nets - save them for next time!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

With a mild and dry night forecast, I put the moth trap on at work for the 1st time of the year last night. As expected, it was quite but it was good to get back into the swing of things

March moth
Early moth
A short-eared owl over thwe saltmarsh this afternoon was the only real bird highlight today.

Friday, 11 February 2011

I have had this response about the gull from a man who knows and I am sure he won't mind me putting it here!

'The other bird is a 3rd-w Herring. The white tips to the primaries confirm that it is a 3rd-w and the extent and pattern of brown in the tertials and coverts is typical of Herring and would be extremely unusual in Caspian or Y-l Gull at this age. Basically at this age many Herring Gulls appear about a year behind on their upperpart pattern. So, a Caspian showing this extent of dark in the coverts and tertials would be a 2nd-w (and the brown would tend to be darker and more solid in the tertials and it would show no white primary tips). A 3rd-w Caspian with white in the primary tips would typically appear much more adult like in the upperparts, with any retained dark markings in the tertials still blacker than Herring. ' - Thanks Mr R

Thanks for the response Ben, I am still baffled by large gulls!!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Only just got around to sorting out some images hence the late post.

Despite the wind, I decided to got to Blackbrough End tip on Monday to have a look for some gulls. As I arrived, there was a group of mainly large gulls loafing around on the edge of the water. A quick scan through found nothing of note until a few more dropped in. The 2nd scan revealed this corking 1st winter Caspian gull. I managed to get a few shots before a buzzard flushed everything.

After about an hour, they started to dump some new rubbish on the edge of the tip and this attracted back a load of the large gulls that had buggered off earlier. As they settled on the side of the tip, this bird stood out from the crowd. Eventually they were flushed and came down to the water to bathe. In the strong wind and through a fence it wasn't easy to get many shots. The question to anyone out there is...what species is it. I am no expert but it looks different to the herring gulls but I can't seem to make Caspian or yellow-legged fit - can anyone help?
(middle of the flock shot below the black-headed gull)

A fly-over green sandpiper was a surprise for this time of year.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

What a difference a day makes! The last 6 days have been very windy (33.8mph gust yesterday afternoon) and no good for anything. Typical, as they have been my last weeks' leave for this year.
However, today was now it should have been. Sunny, calm and surprisingly warm in the sun so I decided to get the nets open.
There was a steady supply of birds all day with a final total of 23 new and 6 re-traps. Greenfinch (10) and blackbird (7) made up the majority but a couple of goldfinch and chaffinch added some interest. Apart from the tree sparrows this morning there were a few other goodies about. A female brambling in the trees wouldn't drop down and a fly-over redpoll didn't even slow down.

Back in the autumn I caught a great tit that had come from Kevin's garden in Brancaster and with it was a blue tit that wasn't from our scheme. I have just had the information back from the BTO and it was ringed in Guist back in the summer. An interesting movement especially as both birds were in the same flock and within a few feet of each other in the net.
Just added a new species to the garden list - 2 tree sparrows (87) over calling while opening mist nets.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Too windy today so the normal Saturday ringing session canceled.

Decided to try the NOA site at Hempton Marsh in the hope the feeders would be sheltered from the wind. The light wasn't good but at least is was fairly calm. The birds were a bit hit and miss and there were long spells with nothing on the feeders. Highlights were single singing marsh and willow tits although neither ventured onto the feeders.

Good numbers of tits present. At least 11 long-tails, 10 great, 7 blue and a coal. 2 great spots, 2 jays and a load of chaffinch were also present. 40 goldfinches in the alders but no redpoll.

Photos with DSLR today.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Despite the very windy conditions (30mph in the night!), I decided to Holkham and have a look for some geese. It started well with 15 white fronts really close to Lady Anne's Drive. Although it was very windy, poor light and I was trying to shelter behind a tree, I don't think these shots are too bad. They are certainly better that anything I got with my Nikon Coolpix and all the digiscoping extras. Can't wait for some sunny days with decent light.

Most of the geese had already gone but from the Joe Jordan hide there was another flock of white fronts but at least 150 this time. They are cracking when you can see them up close. Pinkies were moving past in small groups and one of them included the adult Ross's that has been kicking about. Some people who were already in the hide had seen a rough-leg drop onto the ground but the only bird that I saw while I was there was common buzzard. They had described the bird as having a pale base to the tail so it was probably still sitting our of sight somewhere.

A quick look at the sea produced a few red-throated divers, eider and great-crested grebes but little else and Holkham Gap had just a few skylarks.

18 corn buntings at Choseley drying barns on the was home was the only other sighting of note.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Had a bit of a mooch along the coast today.

Highlights were:-
Cley - American wigeon with small wigeon flock by the east bank and 2 adult pale bellied brent geese in the same area. 2 adult and a juv pale bellied brents were with the large flock of dark bellies buy the beach carpark.

Stopped off at the Stiffkey roadside flood which was looking cracking - full of water and ducks. 83 pintail, 480 teal, 492 wigeon, 35 gadwall, 30 shoveler and 15 black tailed godwits.
Ended the afternoon at the Warham Greens roost. A nice surprise came in the from of 22 pale bellied brent geese and an adult black brant with the brent flock that was commuting between the arable fields and the saltmarsh. 8 ringtail hen and 2 female marsh harriers were in the roost.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Had a decent day garden ringing on Sunday. Highlights were 2 lesser redpoll and a small flock of 7 long-tailed tits of which 4 stumbled into the nets.

Blackbird - 2 new, 1 re-trap
Greenfinch - 8 new
Chaffinch - 1 new
Goldfinch - 3 new
Long-tailed tit - 4 new
Blue tit - 1 new, 1 re-trap
Dunnock - 1 re-trap