Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Linacre Update

It's been quite a while since I blogged about Linacre, so here's a quick update, including the first ringing session of 2020, March's WeBS count and the first returning summer migrant.

As you will recall, the weather in February was horrendous, with every weekend bring high winds and rain, so our first ringing session of the year didn't take place until the 7th March. It was a quiet session with just 15 birds ringed (new/retrap): Long-tailed Tit 3/0, Blue Tit 9/0, Great Tit 0/1 and Coal Tit 1/0.

The WeBS walk in March (14th) produced the following birds: Mallard (39), Tufted Duck (17), Mandarin Duck (9), Grey Wagtail (1), Cormorant (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (3 over), Black-headed Gull (16), Moorhen (9), Coot (8), Canada Goose (2), Great-crested Grebe (1 breeding plumaged bird) and Little Grebe (2).

I had another visit on 21st March and heard my first summer migrant of the year, Chiffchaff. In total there were 4 singing around the site. Also present on site were: Goosander (1 redhead), Great-crested Grebe (3 breeding plumaged birds), Mallard (57), Mandarin Duck (19), Coot (15), Moorhen (11), Cormorant (1), Canada Goose (2), Grey Wagtail (3) and, best of all, a super herd of 45 Whooper Swans flying over in a North westerly (Icelandic!) direction.

As I write this post, the whole of Great Britain (and most of the world!!) has gone into lockdown to combat the Corona virus, so I can't be sure when I'll get to visit Linacre again. Instead, I'll post sightings from my garden and local area. Stay safe everyone!!

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Norwegian Common Gull

On Sunday (15th) I went across to Rufford and Clumber Park again to see which, if any, gulls were still present.

Rufford drew a complete blank for ringed gulls. In fact, there were only 11 Black-headed Gulls there, so it looks as if the winter "gulling" sessions are over until July/August when the first wintering birds should return.

Clumber still held Black-headed and Common Gulls. There were approximately 100 Black-headed Gulls present, including 237A, a regular bird that I've seen at both Rufford and Clumber since November 2019. It's a 1st winter/2nd calendar year bird, born in 2019, and ringed at Sherwood Center Parcs on 20th November 2019.

237A

There were a minimum of 10 Common Gulls on the lake, including at darvic ringed bird (JH229), a 1st winter/2nd calendar year bird that was ringed, as a pullus, on 13th July 2019, in Nesna harbour, Nordland, Norway, 1614km away!

Common Gull JH229

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Rufford and Clumber Gulls - 7th March 2020

I had a pop over to Rufford and Clumber Park yesterday to check for wintering Black-headed Gulls before they set off back to their breeding grounds.

My first stop, Rufford CP, was pretty quiet, with  approximately 50 gulls still present, including 208A, an adult bird ringed at Sherwood Center Parcs on 2nd January 2020 and first seen by me, at Rufford on 2nd February 2020. As the photo shows, the bird's hood is developing nicely.

208A

At Clumber there were a lot more Black-headed Gulls still present (200+), along with c.20 Common Gulls.

2 ringed gulls were seen; namely 237A ( a regular bird, born in 2019, first ringed at Center Parcs in November 2019 and seen at Rufford in December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020, before its first sighting at Clumber on 22nd February 2020, and again on 7th March 2020), and 256A - new bird for me. 256A was born in 2019, and was ringed on 29th January 2020 in Warsop. This sighting was the first since ringing.

237A 

256A

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Nottinghamshire Gulls

This week I had a couple of visits looking for wintering Black-headed Gulls.

The first trip was to Rufford Country Park on Wednesday, where there were approximately 100  gulls including several familiar birds: V77K, a Danish -ringed bird born in 2015, British-ringed EL87245, 243A (ringed at Sherwood Center Parcs, in December 2019), 246A, ringed by me at Center Parcs on 21st December 2019 (see here), and my first sighting since and 259A, also ringed at Center Parcs, this time on 1st February 2020, and also the first sighting away from that site.

246A at Rufford CP

My second trip was around Clumber Park on Saturday, where there were 300+ gulls around the main lake. The majority were Black-headed, but there were also a dozen or so Common Gulls. Whilst there I managed to see 5 darvic-ringed Black-headed Gulls: 217A, 237A, 246A (again!) and 2 new ones for me, 257A (ringed at Center Parcs on 1st February 2020) and 2ASN, a second winter bird, that had been ringed, as a chick, at Rutland Water in June 2019.

257A

2ASN

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Year List Update

It's been quite a while since I last updated the blog, so here's a post about the bird species I've seen since then.

The first new species for the year are Red-legged and Grey Partridges, which were seen near Rufford and at Apperknowle.

The next bird, a Black-throated Thrush, was a 1st winter bird that has been present in Grimsby for several weeks, and is the second time I've seen since this species in Britain, the first being way back in 1997! Here's a heavily cropped record shot.

Black-throated Thrush

The two owl species, Little and Tawny, were both added within 24 hours of each other! The Little Owl was seen perched in a tree in Apperknowle, whilst the Tawny Owl was heard calling (male and female) from the bedroom.

The last three species were added today in Keithley, West Yorkshire. The Waxwings (15 in total) were seen feeding on a Rowan tree, whilst the Iceland Gull, a juvenile/1st winter bird, and the Oystercatchers (2), were on Redcar Tarn, on the outskirts of Keighley.

Waxwings

Iceland Gull


Year List update:
84 – Red-legged Partridge
85 – Grey Partridge
86 – Black-throated Thrush
87 – Little Owl
88 – Tawny Owl
89 – Waxwing
90 – Iceland Gull
91 – Oystercatcher

Sunday, 2 February 2020

2N78 again

Last April I saw an adult Black-headed Gull in Bakewell with the darvic ring 2N78 (see here). I didn't see it again last year, but yesterday, whilst in Bakewell, it reappeared in almost exactly the same spot!.

2N78

As you can see, it's just beginning to develop its black hood, ready for the breeding season. As far as I know, it hasn't been reported anywhere else since ringing in December 2018, but it does seem that Bakewell is a regular wintering spot.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Gulls Again!

I had a short visit to Rufford CP this afternoon and saw 3 darviced Black-headed Gulls and 1 metal ringed bird.

The 3 darvic ringed birds were 237A (ringed as a 1st winter bird, at Center Parcs on 20th November 2019), V77K ( the 5 year old, Danish ringed bird) and 252A ( a 1st winter/2nd calendar year bird, ringed at Center Parcs on 18th January 2020.

237A

V77K

252A

The metal ringed bird, 6456073,was the Swedish ringed bird I first saw at Rufford on 2nd January 2020. It was ringed, as a pullus, on 1st June 2019, 950km away in southern Sweden.

6456073

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Linacre WeBS - 25th January 2020

I carried out the first Linacre WeBS count of the year this morning. The weather was very still and grey, with a temperature of 7 degrees.

Birds seen were: Mallard (86), Tufted Duck (18), Mandarin Duck (30), Moorhen (11), Coot (6), Little Grebe (2), Great-crested Grebe (1 in full breeding plumage!), Goosander (2 redheads), Cormorant (1), Kingfisher (1) and Black-headed Gull (26 , but no rings!).

Many birds were singing in woods including Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker (yaffling), Great-spotted Woodpecker (drumming), Wren, Goldcrest, Robin and Woodpigeon.

Year List update:
80 – Barn Owl (1 at Apperknowle on 17th)
81 – Song Thrush 
82 – Kingfisher
83 – Goldcrest

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Scarborough Turnstones 2020

Whilst in Scarborough on Saturday 11th, I saw 4 colour-ringed Turnstones with the following ring combinations : white over red, orange over black, green over yellow and blue over white. They were all ringed in Scarborough harbour, and I've seen all these birds in previous years. Here are the details.

White over red was first ringed on 21/03/18. I first saw it on 22/02/19, and again on Saturday. The only other record that I'm aware of was in Shetland on 22/05/18.


white over red

The second bird was orange over black. This bird was ringed in 2014 and I first saw it in Scarborough on 30/03/16 , so it's been around for at least 4 years.

orange over black

The third bird, green over yellow, was ringed in the harbour on 21/03/18 and was first seen by me on 22/02/19, and again on Saturday.

green over yellow

The final bird I saw, blue over white, was ringed in 2014 and was first seen on 30/03/16. Saturday's sighting was my second sighting.

blue over white

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Scarborough 11th January 2020

On Saturday, I spent a few hours in Scarborough, with my wife and daughter. As always, I started off the birding in the Holbeck Car Park, where I caught up with my first Mediterranean Gulls of 2020. In total, I saw 3 adult birds and 1 2nd winter bird, including this darvic-ringed bird (PNN5). This bird is a regular winter visitor to the Scarborough area, having been recorded annually since 2013, when it was ringed, as an adult, 1290km away in Poland . I also had a fly-by Peregrine Falcon, whilst watching the gulls.

Mediterranean Gull PNN5

Afterwards, we had a walk around the harbour and South Bay area, where we added Feral Pigeons, Great Black-backed Gull, Turnstone and Red-throated Diver to the list. Four of the Turnstones were colour ringed, and I'll write another post about them later. The Fieldfare (c.100) were seen feeding in fields on the drive home.

Year List update:
73 – Feral Pigeon
74 – Mediterranean Gull
75 – Peregrine Falcon
76 – Great Black-backed Gull
77 – Turnstone
78 – Red-throated Diver
79 - Fieldfare

Year List Update

Last week, Luke and I visited Linacre (see here). Whilst there, I managed to add several birds to my "year list" (numbers 61 - 71). I was particularly pleased with the Woodcock and Pied Wagtail ( 2 species very rarely seen at Linacre).

The final species, Brambling, was seen at the National Trust's Longshaw Estate, where Jayne and I saw a flock of at least 20 birds in the Beech woods by the small pond.

Year List update:
61 – Mandarin Duck
62 – Grey Wagtail
63 – Woodcock
64 – Nuthatch
65 – Treecreeper
66 – Jay
67 – Chaffinch
68 – Siskin
69 - Little Grebe
70 – Green Woodpecker
71 – Pied Wagtail
72 – Brambling

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

New Year Gulls - Part 2

As well as visiting Rufford Park last week (see here), I also had a quick visit to Alvaston Park in Derby.

The trip was quite frustrating as, although there were 200+ Black-headed Gulls in and around the lake, I couldn't find any darvic ringed birds in the hour and a half I was there! Thankfully, a well known metal ringed bird, VA4073 ( a Danish-ringed bird, born in May 2018, and seen here in November 2018 and November 2019), came to the rescue.

VA4073

Whilst there, I also saw a couple of darvic ringed Canada Geese. Again, these birds were well known, having been recorded here in February 2019 (see here). The birds had originally been ringed at the University of Nottingham in 2016 and 2017.

U48

2N5

Monday, 6 January 2020

Linacre - 5th January 2020

Luke and I had our first visit to Linacre on Sunday morning, and it turned out to be a very good trip with some really interesting records.

First up the water bird numbers: Mallard (122 - a very good total), Tufted Duck (16), Mandarin Duck (28), Moorhen (17), Coot (4), Little Grebe (3), Great-crested Grebe (1), Grey Wagtail (2), Pied Wagtail (1, we only had 1 record in the whole of 2019, so this is a pretty good start to the year), Greylag Goose (2, again a very good record for the start of the year), Canada Goose (2 flying over), Black-headed Gull (28), Kingfisher (1, seen by Luke, but not by me!) and Goosander (1 female).

Away from the water, there were lots of small birds around including: Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch, Siskin, Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper.

The most interesting sighting of the morning, however, came as we were walking through the woods by the middle reservoir. We noticed a bird on the ground, and soon realised it was a male Sparrowhawk. As we walked towards it, it took off and we noticed it had left some prey behind, a still-warm Woodcock!!! The Sparrowhawk had started to eat its meal, so, after taking a few photos, we left the bird where we'd found it, and hopefully it came back to finish it off when we'd gone.

Woodcock (deceased)

Sunday, 5 January 2020

New Year Gulls - Part 1

In the first few days of 2020 I've had a couple of trips to Rufford CP to get my first sightings of darvic ringed Black-headed Gulls for the year. All the darvic-ringed birds were familiar birds, but I did also manage to find, and read, a metal ringed Swedish bird (details sent off), along with some darviced Mute Swans.

I visited Rufford on Thursday 2nd, and spotted 217A, 237A, 247A (all ringed at Center Parcs, 2km away). 247A was ringed just a few weeks ago on 21st Dec 2020 and this was my first sighting at Rufford. Also seen were: V77K (a Danish bird ringed, as a pullus, in June 2015), EUM3 (a Dutch bird ringed, as a pullus, in May 2017) and P519 (a Lithuanian bird ringed, as an adult, in April 2010), along with a new Swedish bird with metal ring number 6456037, and a British metal ringed bird with the number EL87245 (a bird I'd previously seen here in November 2019).

247A

Whilst at Rufford, I also saw 2 darviced Mute Swans, 108Y and 439Y, both birds that I'm sure were ringed by Sorby Breck Ringing Group. This is my first sighting of these birds here. I'll update the blog when I have the ringing details.

108Y and 439Y

My second visit, on 3rd January, had the same gulls as the day before, and a new one, 230A, which is a bird that was ringed at Center Parcs, on 2nd February 2019, as an adult bird, and one that I'd seen a couple of times in September 2019.

230A

UPDATE: The Swedish gull was ringed, as a pullus, 950km away in southern Sweden on 1st June 2019.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Year List Additions

Yesterday, I had another day out birding and managed to add another 8 species to my Year List for 2020.

My first stop was the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's Attenborough Nature Reserve where I managed to add 4 new species (numbers 53 - 56), including a very cooperative  Slavonian Grebe.

Slavonian Grebe

I then drove down to Alvaston Park in Derby to check for gulls (more on that in another blog), where I added numbers 56 - 58. The Red Kite and Sparrowhawk, were added as I drove to Rufford CP.

Year List update:
53 – Egyptian Goose
54 – Slavonian Grebe
55 – Goosander
56 – Stock Dove
57 – Ring-necked Parakeet
58 – Great-spotted Woodpecker
59 – Red Kite
60 – Sparrowhawk

Rough-legged Buzzard

On Thursday, I decided to go and see a Rough-legged Buzzard that has been present at a site near Doncaster. I arrived on site and saw it hunting low over the fields. I then got excellent views of it perched up in a distant tree.

I also visited a few other sites, including Angler's Country Park and Rufford Country Park, where I recorded the following birds

Year List update:
39 – Kestrel
40 – Rough-legged Buzzard
41 – Greylag Goose
42 – Common Buzzard
43 – Shoveler
44 – Pochard
45 – Teal
46 – Cormorant
47 – Grey Heron
48 – Common Gull
49 – Herring Gull
50 – Redwing
51 – Mistle Thrush
52 - Goldeneye

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Year List 2020 begins

Hello, and welcome to the first blog post of 2020. This year's birding began at about 7am, when I was woken up by a singing Robin. followed closely by an alarm calling Blackbird and chirruping House Sparrows. Not a bad way to start a new year!

The next few birds (numbers 4 - 15) were seen in and over the garden, including a very nice surprise of a skein of Pink-footed Geese heard flying above the fog.

The remaining birds (numbers 16 - 38) were recorded in a few hours at Carsington Water. The obvious highlights being a bobbing Jack Snipe on the Visitor Centre Island and a juvenile Great Northern Diver fishing off Stones Island (both species I missed out on in 2019).

Year List update:
1 – Robin
2 – Blackbird
3 – House Sparrow
4 – Carrion Crow
5 – Starling
6 – Magpie
7 – Great Tit
8 – Woodpigeon
9 – Goldfinch
10 – Dunnock
11 – Blue Tit
12 – Greenfinch
13 – Coal Tit
14 – Collared Dove
15 – Pink-footed Goose
16 – Jackdaw
17 – Canada Goose
18 – Barnacle Goose
19 – Coot
20 – Mallard
21 – Tufted Duck
22 – Wigeon
23 – Snipe
24 – Jack Snipe
25 – Lapwing
26 – Redshank
27 – Black-headed Gull
28 – Lesser Black-backed Gull
29 – Mute Swan
30 - Gadwall
31 - Great Northern Diver
32 – Long-tailed Tit
33 – Rook
34 – Pheasant
35 – Great-crested Grebe
36 – Willow Tit
37 – Wren
38 – Bullfinch