Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Black-headed Gull 230A

I was at Rufford Country Park on Sunday to check on the Black-headed Gulls. Two familiar rings were read, 206A (British-ringed) and EUM3 (Dutch-ringed), along with a new bird, 230A.


Regular readers of this blog will recognise the ring colour and sequence as being one used by Sorby Breck Ringing Group (the group I ring with) and Birklands Ringing Group. I contacted the lead ringer of this scheme and he confirmed that 230A had been ringed at the nearby Center Parcs site on 2nd February 2019. My siting was the first since then. Hopefully, it'll hang around for the winter, and get spotted back on its breeding grounds next Spring.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Linacre ringing - 8th September 2019

I didn't manage to get any ringing in at Linacre in July and August, but I was down there on Sunday with 4 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group and what a session we had! In just over 4 hours we managed to catch and ring 81 birds of 15 species.

Birds caught were (new/retrap): Wren 1/0, Dunnock 4/0, Robin 1/0, Treecreeper 1/0, Whitethroat 1/0, Blackcap 6/0, Willow Warbler 2/0, Chiffchaff 2/0, Goldcrest 2/0, Blue Tit 26/1, Great Tit 23/3, Coal Tit 2/0, Nuthatch 2/0, Goldfinch 1/0 and Chaffinch 1/0. As is normal at this time of year, the vast majority of the birds caught today were juveniles, including 1 of the retrap Great Tits that had been ringed in one of the boxes at Linacre on 23th May this year. Other notable records were the juvenile Whitethroat, 2 young Willow Warblers, 6 juvenile Blackcaps and 2 juvenile Chiffchaffs.

Whitethroat (juvenile)

Chiffchaff (juvenile)

Other birds seen/heard were: Grey Heron (1 over), House Martin (9 over), Swallow (3 over), Tawny Owl (birds heard in the woods on arrival at 6am) and Meadow Pipit (2 over).

The sun was out, and the temperature rose to 15 degrees late morning, which brought out some late butterflies: 5 Red Admirals,  3 Painted Ladies, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Large White and 1 Small White and a Mother of Pearl moth.

Painted Lady

Sunday, 1 September 2019

RSPB Frampton Marsh - 2 Insect Lifers

It's not often that I go to an RSPB reserve and get more insect "lifers"  than birds, but today that is exactly what happened when I visited RSPB Frampton Marsh. To be honest, I'd gone with the intention of seeing the insects in question, so I was very pleased to see them both.

The first insect lifer was a Willow Emerald Damselfly (see here). This damselfly is a relative newcomer to Britain, and has a very limited, but expanding, range. I'd heard they were present here, so, after  getting directions from the Visitors' Centre, I set off to find them. It took a while, but, eventually, I spotted a male perched up on the hedgerow, and got a few photos. Fantastic!

Willow Emerald Damselfly

The second new insect was a Sea Aster Mining Bee (see here). This species also has a limited range, but Frampton is a stronghold. Again, I managed a couple of photos.

Sea Aster Mining Bee

Other insects seen included: Migrant Hawker (male and female), Ruddy Darter (1 male), Common Darter (10s) and a very impressive Wasp Spider.

Wasp Spider

Birds seen were: Peregrine Falcon, Short-eared Owl (1 over the saltmarsh - year tick), Spoonbill (17, including a Dutch-ringed bird), Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Knot, Turnstone (4 - a new species for me here), Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit (c.3500!!), Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail (2), Shoveler, Mallard, Canada and Greylag Geese.

Year List update:
189 – Long-eared Owl (young heard in NE Derbyshire in August)
190 – Short-eared Owl
191 – Spoonbill

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Linacre Insects

I spent a few hours at Linacre over the last few days and recorded the following insects: Southern Hawker (1), Brown Hawker (3, including 1 ovipositing female), Common Blue Damselfly (2 males) and Common Darter (2 tenerals on 30th - my first 2019 record).

Brown Hawker (female)

Common Darter

Butterflies seen were: Red Admiral (3), Painted Lady (1), Large White (1), Green-veined White (1), Common Blue Butterfly (2 males and 1 female), Wall Brown (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (2), Speckled Wood and Small Copper (3).

Small Copper

Monday, 26 August 2019

Herring Gull EPM

Jayne and I were in Llandudno over the weekend. Whilst there we spotted a Herring Gull with a colour ring, EPM. I recognised it straight away as a bird I'd seen there before, in December 2016 (see here for details and ringing and subsequent re sightings).

I sent the record off, and saw that it had now been reported on the sea front at Llandudno another 6 times since my sighting. All sightings range from September to April, with mine being the earliest "winter" record, so we still don't know if it breeds elsewhere, and winters in Llandudno. It is now  9 years and 255 days since it was ringed.

Whilst in North Wales, we visited the National Trust's Bodnant Gardens again, and saw Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies, Common Darter (mating pairs) and several Southern Hawkers. Butterflies seen were: Painted Lady (10), Red Admiral, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell and Common Blue.

Common Darter

Azure Damselflies


It was about 20 degrees on Thursday, so I popped down to Linacre in the afternoon for 3 hours to see what was about. In the sun there were lots of butterflies in and around the buddleia in the ringing site, including: Painted Lady (8 - it's been a fantastic year nationwide for this species, and my best ever at Linacre too), Red Admiral (1), Peacock (2), Comma (1), Wall Brown (1), Gatekeeper (1), Common Blue Butterfly (3 males, 1 in the ringing site and 2 on the bank below the top reservoir. A female was also seen in the ringing site on 23rd), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Meadow Brown (1), Speckled Wood (1), Small Copper (1 on the bank below the bottom reservoir) and Large White (2). Other insects seen were: Brown Hawker (2), Volucella inanis (1), Volucella pellucens (1) and many Marmalade and Eristalis hoverflies.

Birdwise it was relatively quiet, except for the Linacre lifer in the shape of a juvenile REDSTART!!


This bird was seen flycatching on the boardwalk, with about 3 Chiffchaffs, for about 1 minute, during a short rain shower. Luckily I managed to get this photo before it flitted off into the bushes and disappeared. I only have one other record of this species at Linacre, 2 birds reported in May 2016, so it could be a breeding species, which has been missed, or it could  just be a passage migrant. Only time, and more records will tell. 

Other birds seen were: Mallard (71), Tufted Duck (14), Mandarin Duck (29), Coot (2 adults and no juveniles!!), Moorhen (12; 4 adults and 8 juveniles), Great-crested Grebe (1 adult), Grey Wagtail (1 juvenile), Robin (1 juvenile), Swallow (2), House Martin (6) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (10 dropped in for 5 minutes during the rain).

Polish BH Gull at Rufford

Last Thursday (22nd August), I was back at Rufford CP in Nottinghamshire to check on the Black-headed Gulls again. There were still only about 20 gulls there, but I did see EUM3 (Dutch ringed bird) and 206A (British-ringed bird), along with a new gull, TRVE, a Polish-ringed bird - my first for Rufford!


As you can see from the photo, this bird is a juvenile/1st winter one, having been born this year. The metal ring, FS34676, has the word Poland on it, so I there's a clue as to where it was ringed. Details have been sent off, and I'll update the blog as soon as I hear back.