Monday, 31 October 2016

Linacre Birds and a Stoat

After Saturday's ringing session at Linacre, I had a couple of hours walking around the reservoirs on Sunday morning. The weather was perfect, being dry, still and 11 degrees, and I was rewarded with the highest counts of the year (so far) for Mandarin and Mallard.


Mandarins were everywhere (!), with a minimum of 117 being recorded, but I'm sure there were more that I missed. Mallard numbers reached 92, and there had obviously been an arrival of Tufted Ducks, with 59 present. The immature Shag was busy fishing on the middle reservoir again and an adult Cormorant was present on the top reservoir. Coots and Moorhens numbered 7 each, while 2 Grey Wagtails and 1 Grey Heron were also seen. Black-headed Gull numbers continued to rise, with 22 the maximum seen and a Kingfisher was reported by a couple of dog walkers.

I always check the Rowan trees by the top reservoir, and on Sunday there were 2 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Fieldfare and at least 2 Redwings present.

The final highlight of the morning was a Stoat that was seen running along the ground by the top reservoir. Luckily, it stood still long enough for me to get a quick shot.


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Crest Fest - Part 2

Back in October 2014 I wrote a post entitled Crest Fest (see here), after a session where we'd ringed 5 Goldcrests in 1 session. Well, this Autumn we've had an excellent run with this species, so I thought I'd return to the title for a second time. So far, at Linacre, we've caught the following numbers: 12 in September (11 new and a retrap), 13 at the start of October (12 new and  a retrap) and another 20 (!) yesterday (18 new birds and 2 retraps). As always, these birds could be locally born or they could be birds that have migrated into the country and are now filtering inland. Only time, and a few retraps will tell.

Along with the Goldcrests, we also caught the following birds (new/retrap): Robin 3/0, Blue Tit 5/4, Great Tit 7/1, Coal Tit 2/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/1, Nuthatch 0/2 and Goldfinch 4/0.

Apart from the ringing, we also saw a hunting Kestrel, 2 flocks of Fieldfares (20 and 9), calling Tawny Owls and a few Redwings flying over.

1 last sighting of note was a Bank Vole, seen by David. This is the first sighting of this species at Linacre, although I'm sure it, and many other species are regularly found here. More surveying required!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Linacre - 26th October 206

I had a couple of hours to spare this morning, so decided to pop down to Linacre to see what was about.

It was quite quiet, but the highlight was, as always, the immature Shag, that was very busy swimming all around the middle reservoir, diving constantly. At times, it was coming in closely to the dam wall, so I took some more photos!


Other birds seen on the reservoirs today were: Mallard (15), Tufted Duck (26), Mandarin Duck (43), Moorhen (2), Coot (2), Grey Wagtail (3), Little Grebe (1) and Black-headed Gull (22).

Redwing, Jackdaw, Carrion Crows and Starlings (15), were also seen and heard flying over the site.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Common and Jack Snipe

I spent a few hours at RSPB Old Moor in Barnsley today. Whilst there I spent the majority of the time watching Common and Jack Snipe from the Family Hide.

There were at least 7 Common Snipe on show, including 1 that fed in the grass in front of the hide. I managed to get some nice shots and a little video (see here).


The Jack Snipe was also present in front of the hide for a short while, before flying off to island number 7, where it spent the next few hours. I didn't get any photos whilst it was near the hide unfortunately, but I did manage to get a few "digiscoped" efforts thanks to Amanda from the Chesterfield RSPB Group, who was at Old Moor volunteering. Thanks Amanda! Here's a shot of both species side by side for comparison.

Jack Snipe (back bird) and Common Snipe

Jack Snipe (left hand bird) and Common Snipe

Other birds seen from the hide included Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Coot, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Shelduck, Pied Wagtail , Kingfisher, Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed  and Common Gulls.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Linacre WeBS - 16th October 2016

Luke and I were down at Linacre at first light this morning to carry out this month's BTO WeBS walk. We were on site by 7.30am, and managed an hour in the dry, before the heavens opened and it poured down! Luckily, we were going around the top reservoir by then, so we didn't get too wet.

The good news is that the immature Shag was still present. I'd last seen it on the 1st, and it hadn't been seen since, but today it was back on its favourite perch on the bottom reservoir, before flying up to the middle reservoir for a spot of fishing. 2 Cormorants, an adult and a juvenile, were also seen.

October is usually the best month for ducks at Linacre, and the Mandarins in particular, put on a good show today, with an impressive 75 seen. This is the highest count of the year. 62 Mallards were also counted, along with 42 Tufted Ducks, 4 Coots, 15 Moorhens, including 6 birds in juvenile plumage, 3 Grey Wagtails, 1 Grey Heron (heard), 9 Black-headed Gulls, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (flew over), 1 Great-crested Grebe and 3 Little Grebes.

Birds seen or heard in the surrounding woods included: Redwing (100+ flying over), Fieldfare (2 - the first of the winter), Great-spotted Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Wren (singing), Robin (singing), and a nice flock of mixed tits including Long-tailed  and Blue Tits, along with Goldcrest.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Linacre Ringing - 15th October 2016

Weather conditions for ringing were perfect this morning, and with good numbers of Redwing being ringed by members of The Group last weekend, we decided to head down to Linacre this morning to try our luck. We arrived in the dark, at 6:30am, and got the nets up and sound systems on to begin attracting the Redwings down.  The first net round produced 5 birds, and by the end of the session at 11.30am we'd caught and ringed a very respectable 15 birds. Its hard to estimate how many birds were attracted into the area, but there must have been 100+ throughout the morning.

Other birds ringed this morning were (new/retrap): Goldcrest (12/1), Wren (0/1), Robin (6/0), Blackbird (1/0), Long-tailed Tit (11/0), Blue Tit (23/5), Great Tit (11/1), Coal Tit (4/0) Goldfinch (4/0) and Treecreeper (1/0), bring the morning's total to 96 birds.

Here's a photo of this mornings' Treecreeper, a juvenile, just before it flew off. Love the beak and those amazing claws!!


Other birds seen or heard this morning included Tawny Owl (heard first thing), Skylark (1 over, the first since June), Nuthatch and Woodpigeon.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

RSPB Titchwell

Whenever Jayne and I are in Norfolk we like to visit the Titchwell RSPB Reserve. We spent 3 hours there this afternoon, and had some excellent sightings including 6 new "year ticks".

The "best" new bird seen today was a Pectoral Sandpiper. Not only was this my first for a couple of years, but it was also my best ever views, and I even managed to get a half decent photo or two.

Pectoral Sandpiper

The other "year ticks" seen today were: Jack Snipe (brief sightings of 2 bobbing birds), Bearded Tit (heard, but not seen from the main path), Grey Plover (4 seen), Spotted Redshank (1 winter plumaged bird) and Bar-tailed Godwit (6 on the beach).

Bar-tailed Godwit

Amongst the many other birds seen today were: Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank, Little Stint, Snipe, Sanderling, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Ruff, Cetti's Warbler, Redwing, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Black-tailed Godwit.

Little Egret

Back-tailed Godwit

Year List update:
177 – Bearded Tit
178 – Bar-tailed Godwit
179 – Grey Plover
180 – Jack Snipe
181 – Pectoral Sandpiper
182 – Spotted Redshank

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler!!

Unfortunately, this is not a Linacre report, but instead refers to 2 birds that I've seen today in Holkham Pines in Norfolk. This site is a much more usual spot for this species, but is still an excellent record for me. I tried hard to get a photo, but the only one I could manage was this lovely one of the tree the bird was flitting around in - enjoy!

Yellow-browed Warbler tree (honestly!)

The warblers, were seen on a walk from Wells-next-the-Sea to Holkham, that Jayne and I did today. We set off in Wells, walked down to the beach and along to Holkham Gap. We then walked up through the pines, watched the Yellow-brows, and visited Joe Jordan Hide. Along the way, we also recorded Redshank, Turnstone, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Wheatear (4 by Holkham Gap), Marsh Harrier (2 over Holkham Marsh), Grey Heron, Gannet, Pink-footed Goose Redwing (c.20 over - first of the winter), 1 Grey Partridge (year tick) and a Red Admiral feeding in the sunshine on ivy.

In Wells itself, we also saw House Sparrows, HerringCommon and Black-headed Gulls, Dark-bellied Brent Geese (first of the year), Mallard and Starlings.


Year List update:
175: Yellow-browed Warbler
176: Grey Partridge
Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Welcome Back

It was a misty start to October as I walked around Linacre this morning. I spent two and a half hours on site, and "welcomed back" the first Black-headed Gulls of the winter. I had a small flock fly over in July, but today's birds were the first recorded on the water since March.

Black-headed Gull

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull also flew up the reservoir, but failed to stop. This is the fourth record of the year. Other water birds seen this morning were: Mallard (45), Mandarin Duck (36), Tufted Duck (31), Grey Heron (3), Grey Wagtail (3), Cormorant (3), Coot ( 6 adults), Moorhen (11 - 8 adults and 3 juveniles), Kingfisher (1), Great-crested Grebe (4 - 2 adults and 2 juveniles) and the immature Shag.


The woodlands around the reservoirs had a few singing birds today, including Robin, Wren, Coal Tit and 1 Chiffchaff. 3 Mistle Thrushes flew over the car park and Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Common Buzzard and Woodpigeon were also seen.