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.

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