Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What a difference a week makes...last week loads of swallows, tonight zilch! Warm weather and calm conditions were the perfect combination for another go at the swallow roost but unfortunatly the birds were not playing ball and we attracted only 15 birds to the nets, none going in. An immature bearded tit was a slight compensation but 2 reed buntings were the only other birds caught.
Early winter migrants on the reserve this morning came in the form of a Lapland bunting west and 7 snow buntings east, a pec sand turned out to be a ruff (again) and there was signs of some vis mig with good numbers of finches, skylarks and 3 mistle thrush.
Lagoon count in the morning so hopefully something good will be lurcking.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Finally managed to persuade some of the ringing group that we really should have a go at the local swallow before it gets too late. Mike and I arrived just before 6pm and got the nets open quickly. Swallow tape on and there was soon a flock of 50 birds over the reedbed. To start with the birds were sitting on the top shelf but eventually they started to go in. The first net round produced a few swallows, 2 juv sand martins and a reed warbler. While Mike was extracting the next load, a merlin hammered through the circling flock and nailed a swallow. By the time we had processed the next load of birds it was dark and ended talking the nets down in the pitch black. A sucessful attempt produced 27 swallow (all juvs), 5 sand martin, 1 reed bunting and a reed warbler. Trying again tomorrow to hopefully more of the same.
Ringing in the garden on friday morning produced another 22 new greenfinches taking the September total to 88! 2 snipe over wwas only the 2nd garden record.

Monday, 19 September 2011

I must admit I haven't been up to much recently. Despite the strong winds bringing a boatload of birds into the west, it has been nothing but annoying on the east coast. Bushes bent horizontal and a complete blocker for any wader movement. Hopefully we will fare better once October comes. Also been a bit 'twitchy' knowing that the 'Foula crew' are heading back to the promised land soon. The island has already scored with least sand and arctic warbler so I think 'something 'with yellow on' (a mega Yank) may be on the cards!! Already thinking of a Northern Isles trip for next autumn - better start saving those brownie points Ben.
A return to form on the ringing front this weekend with over 100 birds ringed and processed. Blackcaps are still on the move with over 20 ringed along with the 3rd garden warbler in 2 weeks. Also had fly-over brambling (1st of autumn), crossbill and green sand.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Today was one of those 'red letter' days.
Dave and I were already out on the reserve when a report of the buff breasted sand came on along with a fly-over cattle egret. Gutted that we had missed the egret (reserve tick for both of us) we went to look for the sandpiper. The bird was still present although a bit distant. I left Dave in the hide and headed back towards the office. I had only got as far as Island Hide when Dave called to say the egret was on the brackish marsh. A brisk walk back to the hide revealed the bird feeding in the middle of the lagoon - reserve tick 260.
The contractors needed to do some further work on the breach and spooked to egret and it flew to the grazing meadow with the cattle. At one point you could see it standing on a fencepost from the visitor centre.
At about 4:30 I was working in the office when David and Terry came back from their hide helping and started telling me about some people who were watching a juv bittern by the main path. At almost the same time, Dave radioed to say thay people were reporting a little bittern by the main path. We rushed down to the spot to be confronted by full frame shots of a juv little bittern feeding in the open!! After 10mins, or so, the bird re-appeared at the bottom of the reeds before dissappearing. A visitor showed us a photo of the juv bittern that was reported yesterday afternoon from the same place and there is also a report of a juv bittern being photographed in the same place on Tuesday! Who knows where is has come from but I am sure the recent strong southerly winds had something to do with it.
9 curlew sand, 2 little stint, 9 spotshanks, 20 yellow wags and a med gull were the added bonus on the fresh marsh this evening.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cracking couple of days at work.
Yesterday I visited one of our reserves near Kings Lynn to look at some management work that needs doing for a rare clubmoss. It turns out to be the only site in Norfolk where it occurs. The site also turned up some rare inverts today.
Today was an exciting day...its was breach day. We all arrived at 7am to watch the final bucket loads of clay come out of the east bank to complete the breach. The work was planed to correspond with neap tides to avoid any problems with high water. Progress was swift and the hole was completed by early afternoon. A good job as despite the low tide, 5.2m AOD was still high enough to allow water onto the brackish marsh. Although Rob and I were very excited (high fives all round), the contractors and other staff didn't seem to get it! Role on the end of the month when the tides will be over 2.5m higher! 3 spoonbill and buzzard over provided a little distraction.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Amazing day ringing in the garden this morning. Despite the forecast of rain and wind the weather was actually OK so I opened at 6am. By the time things had gone quiet at midday I had trapped 74 birds, 70 new and 4 re-traps most of the birds were greenfinch (55)!! Previous highest catch was 52 birds last year. A impressive total considering we only managed 54 new birds at our main ringing site yesterday.