Another superb week as follows..
30/10 – At Mannez a Great white Egret, the Penduline Tit still in residence, also seen, 2 Ring Ouzels and 3 Hawfinches, 18 Skylarks and 500+ Fieldfare. At least 2 Water rails in the reed bed. 248 birds were ringed today including 48 Redwings at Mannez, a Ring Ouzel was ringed at Longis common where a Mistle Thrush passed overhead. At Essex farm our first ever ringed Common Redpoll. At Rose Farm ringing involved 118 new birds that included Linnet, Bullfinch, Brambling, Siskins, Fieldfare and Firecrests.
31st – A Short eared Owl hunted Mannez quarry at first light where a Ring Ouzel also later showed well. Visual migration at Mannez was dominated by finches, 300+ Chaffinches and 12 Bramblings passing overhead. 112 new birds were ringed at Mannez and these included a Reed Bunting, 2 Bramblings, 3 Firecrests, 4 Fieldfares, 26 Redwings, 1 Bullfinch and 45 Chaffinches. 18 Ringed Plovers and 1 Sanderling occupied the Razz causeway as it was revealed by the dropping tide. From the obs ringing room we observed a large Bull Grey seal that spent a good hour shadowing a lucky chap spear fishing in Longis bay.
1st Nov – Light SE winds overnight turned SW by first light. 2 woodcocks had settled in Mannez quarry and as the light came up once again we were treated to the steady flow of flocks of birds coming in off the sea past the light house, over and into the quarry nature reserve. Ringing at Mannez produced another 90 new birds including 42 Chaffinches, 2 Hawfinches, Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Bramblings, an extremely late moving Garden Warbler and a Chiffchaff carrying a Denmark ring ! Field observations during ringing were of a further 5 Bramblings, 20 Skylarks, 2 further Hawfinches and a Ring Ouzel. Some 500 Chaffinches came in off the sea along with regular flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares, over 1000+ of the former were recorded.
2nd – Singles of Ring Ouzel, Hawfinch and Fieldfare were ringed at Mannez by Paul and Catherine Veron. A Grey wagtail over Rose farm and another over the obs. A Bullfinch and 4 Siskins were ringed at Rose farm where visible migration included 10 Skylarks and 5 Bramblings. In Braye bay the Mediterranean Gull roost was 9 birds accompanied by 2 Grey Plovers.
3rd – First thing 3 Grey Herons left a roost position at the north end Longis Pond, at the same time 16 Little Egrets left longis bay which hosted 16 Mallards. On Longis pond 2 female Teal. Ringing at Longis saw our first Woodcock of the year. In the afternoon an hours ringing at Rose farm orchard produced a Bullfinch and a Swallow passing over. A single Common Gull was amongst 19 Med Gulls on Braye beach. After a slower day for migration yesterday, there were more Thrushes moving this morning along with finches, warblers and crests returning 91 new birds ringed.
4th – 30mph NW winds. An early look on the sea off Mannez lighthouse produced a few auks moving and our first Brent Goose of the winter. On Crabby beach a Lesser black backed Gull and 40 Black headed Gulls. Near the airport in the ploughed field opposite the goats were 60 Chaffinches and a fine male Brambling, 3 Stock doves and 26 Skylarks. David Child had a late Swallow over Longis bay.
5th – Again 30mph NW winds during the morning. 65 Black headed Gulls on Crabby beach no sign of the Lesser black backed. Again a nice flock of Chaffinch in the field opposite the goats near to the airport, around 40 today but still a single Brambling in the flock, not yesterdays male, this one a female. During the afternoon a couple of hours ringing in the shelter of Essex hill. Just a handful of birds but a nice variety included Firecrest, 3 Redwings, Song Thrush, 4 Chaffinches and 2 Bramblings. A Water rail was present in the gulley behind the sewage works. Late afternoon 2 Sandwich Terns in Longis Bay and a Grey Seal in Braye Bay. A Marsh Harrier was seen over Barrackmasters Lane.
As we head towards 400 Redwings ringed this autumn opportunities have been available to photograph some identification features regards ageing. The two shots below are of particularly obvious individuals ( many are not as obvious as these!) but these are a good illustration of some of the differences to look for when ringing. The photo on the left a first winter bird showing predominantly unmoulted greater coverts with a pale spot on the corner. The photo on the right is an adult with all the greater coverts moulted and uniform without the pale edges. Whilst the unmoulted tertials on the juvenile bird have pale fringes extending up the shaft of the feather a little, and the adult tertials no pale edge at all, we have not found this to be the most reliable of ageing features as it is quite variable.