Sunday 7 September 2014

Bit of ringing, bit of birding

Friday off work meant a long weekend for me, I put my day off to good use and put some nets up.

It was really calm and a thick sea-fret was in, although it was a 'hanging' fret rather than a 'wetting' one, which was good for ringing.

I only had three nets up and caught and 45 birds, seven of which were retraps. We caught a few passage migrant warblers, mostly chiffchaffs and blackcaps with lesser whitethroat, sedge warbler and willow warbler adding to the diversity. We also caught seven goldcrests, the first of the autumn.

Meadow pipit passage was evident on Friday and for the rest of the weekend along with a few skylarks. A great-spotted woodpecker was noted flying through as were a whimbrel and 4 ruff with some lapwings.

The weather forecasts for Friday night to Saturday morning were all over the place. They all predicted rain, but differed in how long it would last. It was clear by dawn, so I was out looking for migrants. I started in the plantation, with a spotted flycatcher and a 'hippo' type warbler, which I had the briefest of views of and was never seen again despite and hour and a half spent in the pines searching for it. It appeared to be a compact warbler, slightly larger than willowchiff, warm buffy brown above and on the flanks, off-white-grey on the underside. That is all I got on it.

I gave up on it and went to check the bushes elsewhere. Lots of goldcrests, robins, chiffchaffs and whitethroats were flitting about. On the fence by the entrance there were two wheatears, they were later joined by a whinchat, which was my second of the morning. I was beginning to think I might miss whinchat this year then two come along at once (I saw two more at Snab Point later in the day).

wheatears on return passage
Skylarks and meadow pipits were going south all morning.

This morning, I went to ring a brood of barn owls. This is a second brood from a pair that has already fledged a brood of four. There were five of them, with quite a size difference, this one being the largest.

young female barn owl (you can see how spotty she is), the biggest of five from a second brood.

Today was also WeBS count day. Highlights were a good count of moorhen (17) and little grebe (16). This evening there were 16 red-throated divers in the bay, many in breeding plumage still. there are still red admiral and lots of speckled wood butterflies on the wing, the latter being the commonest butterfly at Druridge which was not even noted here until 2006. Migrant hawkers and common darters were about too.

red admiral
common darter on a bramble leaf
153 spotted flycatcher
154 whinchat

PWC Score 217

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