Ed and I returned from Gibraltar Point BO after a ringing opportunity weekend. We had a great time and a chance to meet new people and see some old faces. A special thanks to George Gregory, Mick Briggs, Mike Archer and Nigel Judson for all their efforts to make our time there an enjoyable one.
Unfortunately just before we arrived, the wind had changed from a north-easterly to a south-westerly which meant that we were denied the opportunity to see European mainland breeders such as Wryneck and Red-backed Shrike which were both trapped a week before.
However, we had the chance to see common migrants such as Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart, Swallow and House Martins in the hand. The bird of the weekend for us was a juvenile Greenland Wheatear, I have trapped and ringed a few of these myself on a field opposite my house but a large supermarket has now put a stop to that.
Mick and Dawn had been out ringing on Saturday whilst we were away and managed to ring 64 birds including 19 Whitethroats, 11 Blackcaps, 4 Garden Warblers, 5 Sedge Warblers and the 2nd Spotted Flycatcher for the year.
Having an extra days holiday I took advantage of the good weather forecast for Tuesday and met Mick at the railtrack at 04:30. A low mist was hanging around on arrival and we quickly got our nets up. We experienced one of the best days for autumn migation ever at Stanford. The low mist had downed the birds overnight and there were hundreds. Once the mist had lifted the birds had started moving and during the first net round birds were going into the nets whilst I was extracting them from the nets.
It was a rare opportunity to see migration on our local patch on a scale like this!
By the end of the day we had processed 238 birds with good numbers of Whitethroat and Blackcap.
New / Retrap
Song Thrush 1/0
Sedge Warbler 2/1
Reed Warbler 10/3
Lesser Whitethroat 2/2
Garden Warbler 1/3
Willow Warbler 3/0
Long-tailed Tit 1/6
Blue Tit 10/14
Great Tit 2/2
Tree Sparrow 1/0
Reed Bunting 6/2
So birds are finally on the move as migrants start heading south through Stanford.
At the other end of the scale tits are in very low numbers and Tree Sparrows have virtually disappeared.
Treecreepers look like they are having a success this year with 24 ringed already.