Sunday, 13 October 2019

Classic Rarity at the Res

Mick, Dave, Stuart and Peter N shimmied out on Saturday 12 October. We met at 0430 and put nets up at Stanford Reservoir from Safari to John's ride, and up the the railtrack. Numbers of birds have settled down now we have weathered the waves of migratory Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. Instead, we are starting to enjoy our winter finches, so we ringed Goldfinch, Greenfinch and a solitary Lesser redpoll. We also ringed five Blackbirds, which are likely to be migratory. Anyhow, by far the most exciting bird of the day (as predicted by me in my previous log!), was extracted by Dave from the 30' net running along the edge of Oak ride:

This Yellow browed warbler was ringed by Stuart, a new bird for him! This was only the fourth YBW to be ringed at Stanford (readers of the blog may remember we ringed one last year). That was on the 10th October, so there seems to be a tight time frame for their arrival at the res. For non birders, they may not seem too exciting, being quite similar to the more familiar Chiffchaff. The two wingbars identify them as being a different species, but they are still part of the Phylloscopus genus; in this case P. inornatus. Note too the pronounced yellow supercillium which almost met its counterpart at  the back of the head and gives the bird its name.

Totals for the day were a leisurely 77 new and 12 retraps. Anyway, off to the White Hart, where strangely enough it was Stuart's round! Firecrest next...
Peter N

Monday, 7 October 2019

Autumnal Catch Up

Autumn is now upon us, already we have had one morning which required ice to be scraped off windscreens. As usual we have been busy and the weather has been reasonably benign, so no excuse for slacking, or being on holiday. By 19 September we had broken 6000 birds for the year with approximately 4200 warblers, including 2000 Blackcaps. Every weekly group session thus far has produced more than 100 new birds, with some big numbers (185 new on 19 September and 268 on 21 September). However on 14 September, we broke all our records with a total of 613 new, including a staggering 430 Blackcaps, 70 Chiffchaff, 30 Reed warbler, 19 Sedge warbler, one Grasshopper warbler and one Whinchat (only the 3rd at Stanford res). We also had 19 retraps.
The MRG (Midweek Retired Gentlemen's) club (Mick & Peter N) have produced good numbers too, usually around the 100 mark. Thankfully, the supply of Blackcaps seems to be dwindling and we are looking forward to the winter team of Lesser Redpolls and Redwings arriving shortly.
However, it has been a strange year in some respects. Despite a good breeding season in our nest boxes, the Tree Sparrows seem to have forsaken us, and we are lucky to get a single bird on a session now. Similarly our finches have been notable by their absence; we hope that when the supply of wild food in the fields and hedges starts to dry up they will remember our feeders and return for the winter.
On the plus side, we had a Sedge warbler of ours controlled in France, in Frossay on the Loire, having travelled 360 miles in 8 days. Excellent, and unlike most of our retrapped birds, actually heading in the right direction!
Our most recent session on Saturday 05/10/19 produced 141 new plus 18 retraps. The standout bird was undoubtedly produced on the first round, in a V shaped arrangement of two 60' nets in a stubbly field:
 This is only our fifth Skylark at Stanford, and the first since 1980. It was duly ringed by Adam and sent on its way. We are now waiting for our first Yellow browed warbler, it will be here any day now...
Peter N