Wednesday 11 May 2016

First Week of May

The fine weather has finally arrived in Northern Ireland with temperatures hitting 25°C over the past few days.  The fine southerlies have delivered a few more birds with the first Spotted Flycatchers and Swifts of the year, plus a big fall of Wheatears (mostly Northern), with birds seemingly everywhere.  Whimbrel have also been a feature with probably a few hundred birds passing up the river to the North Coast. 
We managed a couple of time restricted ringing sessions before work on Friday at Portstewart Strand and the River Site and a further session at Portstewart Strand on Sunday.  Ken is off on his travels again, leading a group of local birders on a weeks birding in the Czech Republic close to the German border in Bavaria. 


The ringing was pretty slow for all three sessions but particularly for the combined, longer session on Sunday, with some 600 feet of nets.  There were a couple of nice birds for Portstewart Strand with the sites first Wheatear (Northern) and two Sedge Warblers (only three birds and a Belgian control caught last year).  Female Blackcaps have also arrived, with 5 caught in the same net at the River Site and two from PSS.  A combined total of 20 new birds and 14 retraps isn't what you expect at this time of year but it should improve as the freshly fledged birds hit the nets. 

Sedge Warbler

Portstewart Strand 05/05/2016                                 

                                   New       Retraps          
Blackbird                                    2                                                  
Blackcap                      1
Blue Tit                                       1
Bullfinch                                     1
Dunnock                                     1
Meadow Pipit              1                       
Robin                                           2
Sedge Warbler            1
Willow Warbler           1                
Total                            4             7      

Portstewart Strand 03/05/2016      
                                  New       Retraps          
Blackbird                    1             2                                                  
Blackcap                     2
Linnet                          1   
Robin                                          1 
Sedge Warbler            1                
Wheatear                     1               
Total                            6             3      

River Site 03/05/2016    
                                   New       Retraps                                                        
Blackcap                      5
Bullfinch                      2            
Dunnock                      1             2      
Robin                                           2
Willow Warbler            2                
Total                            10            4      

The weather is to remain good for the coming weekend but with the winds switching to northerlies.  We unfortunately weren't able to utilise the conditions at the start of this week and may have missed quite a few birds, going by the numbers passing the Irish Sea coasts and the south coast of Ireland - including a few scarcities/rarities.

I'm off to Copeland Bird Observatory for the weekend, although the stiff northerlies will probably halt any migration but at least it is set to be dry! 

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