Sunday 16 August 2015

Quiet start to the Autumn

Autumn has started quietly on the patch. On Wednesday I put some nets up for a ringing session. I caught a mixture of adult and juvenile warblers (chiffchaff, willow and sedge warblers, blackcap), which I presume were all local birds as nothing was carrying any fat. I also caught a grasshopper warbler, a female with the remains of a brood patch, very close to where a male was singing for a few nights four weeks ago. A bullfinch was calling nearby but I didn't catch it.

I also caught a few robins, wrens, a chaffinch and a tree sparrow. I watched a stunning juvenile marsh harrier flying over the Budge fields, right in front of the little hide - no photographers at that hour!

I spent some time on the patch today. A Saturday night out at the Cluny meant it wasn't an early start. I think all of the birds were asleep by the time I arrived.

Little grebe - asleep
Mute swan  - asleep
This common gull must have had no 'craic' as the black-headed gull was obviously bored
There were three juvenile ruff and black-tailed godwit (which was also asleep for much of the time) from the little hide and two common sandpipers on the far bank of the big pool.

There were a few 'wheeting' phylloscs in the bushes and a family of four juvvy blackcaps. I checked the fences and bushes at the north end for whinchats but none were found. I photographed some insects as there were no birds about.

Lime-speck Pug on wield

Noon fly or Noonday fly on knapweed
I headed back to the patch this evening, hoping the high-tide might have pushed some waders off their usual haunts. Six oystercatchers and five turnstones flew south, but not the hoped-for knot or grey plover. Three red-throated divers were on the sea - they were asleep too!

Sunday 9 August 2015


Not much to report, spent the weekend pointing brickwork and watching football, but before all of that we went to Druridge on Friday night to try and catch storm petrels.

We set the nets up on the beach at by 11pm and had caught two bird by 11.40, one new bird and a control. By 1230 a big, bright half-moon appeared on the horizon and the mini-rave/beach party further up the shore was louder than our set-up so we packed in and went home.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Under the weather

What is going on with the weather this Summer? Even  the forecasters can't get a thing right.

Last night, I checked all of my usual sources of weather information and it all looked good for putting some nets up this morning. Based on this research I got up at 4.30 and headed to Druridge and got some nets up, no wind, hazy sunshine and the weather forecast still saying no rain. First net round done and it starts to rain... light but persistent. Nets furled.

A quick check of the Rain Alarm app showed rain heading our way for a considerable time...Nets down.

I did manage to catch some juvenile willow warblers and adult sedge warbler, willow warblers and a whitethtoat. The sedge warbler was quite fat, looking like it was on its way south.

Back at home drying me and the nets, I got a message from Jonathon to say he was watching a green sandpiper from the little hide. I do like a green sandpiper and it is a species that can be missed at Druridge so I headed down for a gander. It was wandering around the mud in front of the hide with a common sandpiper, an adult dunlin in summer plumage was lurking in the wings.

On Thursday evening I had a 45 minute seawatch, the highlight of which was a single sooty shearwater heading north about half-way-out. Other totals - 42 manx shearwater, two arctic skuas, one goosander,  two Med gulls and 15 common scoter north.

On Friday evening there was a common sandpiper and a yellow wagtail on the Budge fields and a whimbrel flew south, calling. Offshore, four arctic skuas, including a stunning pale-phase bird with huge white flashes in the wings, were loitering in the bay, parasitising terns. A few red-throated divers have returned and are still looking smart in their summer garb.