Sunday, 25 September 2016

Summer Migrants still here

Yesterday morning I was down at Linacre with 4 other members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group for a ringing session. We'd moved the feeding station to another area a couple of weeks ago, and this was the first session with it in its new home. We were there for nearly 4 hours (6:30am to 10.15am), and caught 25 birds of 8 species, including, as the title of today's post suggests, a couple of summer migrant birds.

The 2 summer visitors caught today were, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. In total, 5 new Chiffchaffs were caught and 1 new Blackcap, a juvenile female birds weighing just over 18g. This bird was also beginning to build up fat reserves ready for its migration to sunnier climes. I say they are summer migrants, but Chiffchaff has now been recorded in every month bar February at Linacre, so it is possible that some of these birds may stay for the whole year, or the winter birds that have been recorded here, may come here from elsewhere. Hopefully, we'll get some recoveries of these birds ringed today to help us build up a picture of what they do in the winter months.

We also caught 12 Goldcrests today (11 new birds and a retrap). Again, we tend to think of birds caught here as being "home grown" birds, but last year, we caught a Goldcrest that had been ringed on the east coast at Spurn Point, so it is just as possible that the birds ringed today could have come from there, or even further afield.

The other species caught today were (new/retrap): Blue Tit 2/1, Coal Tit 0/1, Robin 0/1 ( a juvenile bird that we originally ringed at Linacre earlier in the year), Dunnock 1/0 and Wren 1/0.

In between net rounds we recorded the following birds around the site: Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 over), Raven (1 over), Mistle Thrush ( 1 over), Sparrowhawk (1 over), Tawny Owl (1 heard calling on arrival) and House Martin (2 over). Finally, a single Silver Y moth was found feeding on a buddleia bush.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Common Scoter at Linacre

I rarely go to Linacre after work, but news of 4 Common Scoter on the Derbyshire Ornithological Society's website on the 19th (Monday) had me over there yesterday evening to see if they were still present. Unfortunately they weren't!! I've only ever seen one, a male, at Linacre, and that was back in October 2007, so I'm pretty annoyed to have missed these birds. Here's a photo of the male bird from 2007.

Common Scoter, October 2007

Despite not seeing the birds, it was still a lovely, sunny evening and I did see the immature Shag (now present for 10 months and 1 day), a juvenile Cormorant (the first record since the end of August), a couple of Speckled Wood butterflies basking in the sun and a Silver Y moth.

Speckled Wood

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Ringing and Walking

Today's title refers to the two things I have been doing today. The day started with my first ringing session since August with 3 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group, and continued with a lovely walk around Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Jayne.

The ringing session took place at the private site in Wingerworth. The temperature when we arrived at 6.30am was just 6 degrees, and it took a while for the birds to wake up, but, by 10am, when we packed up, we'd caught 54 birds of 11 species. Numbers were as follows (new/retrap): Dunnock 3/0, Robin 6/0, Goldcrest 4/0, Coal Tit 3/2, Blue Tit 14/1, Great Tit 9/0, Nuthatch 2/1, Chaffinch 6/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Goldfinch 1/0 and Bullfinch 1/0.

The sun had come out by the end of the session, and rose to a very nice 21 degrees by the afternoon. Jayne and I decided to drive up to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to pick up a picture and to have a walk around the lake. Birdwise, it was quite quiet, with just  the usual Jackdaws, Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Mute Swans,Canada and Greylag Geese seen around the water. We also heard a Kingfisher, and spotted a couple of Grey Wagtails flying around by the overflow from the bottom lake. Given the warm, sunny weather, we expected to see a few butterflies, and we were in luck with 1 Comma, 1 Large White, 1 male Brimstone and about 10 Speckled Woods seen. We also managed to see three species of dragonfly; 1 Common Darter, 2 Migrant Hawkers and a female Southern Hawker, that was ovipositing into  a piece of wood in the round pond by the centre.

Southern Hawker

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Linacre WeBS - 17th September 2016

Luke and I were down at Linacre at 7am this morning to carry out this month's WeBS walk. We spent a couple of hours walking around the site recording all the waterbirds, including the immature Shag and a Kingfisher, both of which was seen on the bottom reservoir. The Kingfisher sighting was my first at Linacre since the end of August. The Shag was in its usual perch, and Luke manage to walk down there to get some nice photos, including these two.


Other waterbirds recorded were as follows: Mallard (79), Tufted Duck (11), Mandarin Duck (44), Moorhen (7, 4 adults and 3 juveniles), Coot (6; 5 adults and 1 juvenile), Grey Wagtail (3), Grey Heron (1) and Great-crested Grebe (4; 2 adults and 2 juveniles).

Mallard saying hello!

The usual suspects were heard and seen in the woods, and a small group of approximately 13 Swallows was also over the top reservoir, along with 1 singing Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Linacre - 10th September 2016

I was supposed to be ringing at Linacre on Saturday morning, but the weather forecast gave wind and rain, so we decided to call off. As always, when I woke up on Saturday, it wasn't raining or windy at all, so instead of ringing, I had a couple of hours walking around all 3 reservoirs.

The highlight for me was the immature Shag, now into it's 10th month (surely it'll make it to the 1 year mark in november?), that was still present on the bottom reservoir. I managed to get quite close, and got a nice photo of the bird perched up. It's also nice to see that the bird's eye is starting to turn green, just like an adult's.


Other birds noted on the reservoirs were: Mallard (60), Mandarin Duck (68, including 30 together on the top reservoir), Tufted Duck (14), Grey Wagtail (8, all together on the overflow of the top reservoir), Grey Heron (2), Great-crested Grebe (4; 2 adults and 2 juveniles), Little Grebe (3 breeding plumaged adults all together), Coot (3 adults) and Moorhen (8: 5 adults and 3 juveniles).

Summer migrants were still present, with c.30 Swallows and 3 House Martins over the water, and a singing Chiffchaff by the boardwalk on the top reservoir.

The last record wasn't a bird, but a slug! It was sliding ( is that the correct word?) across the path by the top reservoir, and was at least 10cm long. I think its a Leopard Slug, and is my first ever record. More details here.

Leopard Slug

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Linacre - 4th September 2016

According to meteorologists Autumn begins on 1st September, so today's visit to Linacre was the first autumn visit of 2016. When I arrived at 6.45am it was still, 13 degrees, grey and overcast, but dry. Minutes later the wind had picked up, and a thick drizzle had started, that came down, on and off for the next two hours! Despite this, the birds were good, and numbers were pretty reasonable for the time of year.

Rainbow over the bottom reservoir

The first water bird I saw was, as usual, Mallard. In total, 90 were seen, which was  a very good start, and the highest count of 2016, so far. Mandarin Duck numbers of 39,were the highest since the start of July. 26 Tufted Ducks were also counted (down from a maximum of 44 in July and 40 in August), along with the immature Shag (on its usual perch on the bottom reservoir), 3 Grey Herons, 6 Grey Wagtails (all together on the overflow of the top reservoir), 5 Coots (all adults), 5 Moorhens (3 adults and 2 juveniles), 1 breeding plumaged Little Grebe on the middle reservoir and 4 Great-crested Grebes (1 adult and 1 juvenile on the middle reservoir, and 1 adult and 1 juvenile on the top reservoir).

Other birds of note were a singing Chiffchaff by the top reservoir, a Green Woodpecker heard "yaffling" by the top reservoir, 4 Swallows (3 over the top reservoir and 1 over the fields by the main entrance) and singing Goldcrests.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Frampton Marsh RSPB

Yesterday I spent 5 hours at RSPB Frampton Marsh with my nephew, Luke. Luke saw 5 new species of birds, and I managed to get 8 new "year ticks".

The first new bird for me was Little Stint. We saw at least 4 different birds, but there have been up to 40 birds present recently. 1 bird in particular came feeding very close in to the 360 hide, and we managed to get some nice photos.

Little Stint (juvenile)

The second bird that I really wanted to see was Curlew Sandpiper. Last week there were over 200 present, but this week the numbers had dropped off, and we managed to see about 6. They were quite distant, but 1 came in close to 360 hide along with a Little Stint.

Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint

Other "year ticks" were: Green Sandpiper (1 seen), Ruff ( a minimum of 6 seen), Yellow Wagtail (1 flew over), Marsh Harrier (3 seen), Little Ringed Plover (1 seen) and Spoonbill (4 birds).

Spoonbills (1 adult and 3 juveniles?)

Spoonbills and Black-tailed Godwit

As well as these birds we also saw: Avocet, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Snipe, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Cormorant, Wheatear (1 juvenile), Teal, Little Egret (10+), and Ringed Plover (1 juvenile).

Ringed Plover (juvenile)

It was quite sunny, so we also managed to see a few insects; Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and Common Blue Butterfly.

Common Blue Butterfly

Year List update:
167 – Green Sandpiper
168 – Little Stint
169 – Curlew Sandpiper
170 – Ruff
171 – Spoonbill
172 – Yellow Wagtail
173 – Marsh Harrier
174 - Little Ringed Plover