Wednesday 5 October 2016

1st of October 2016

Finally, after waiting for what seems like months, we got our first day of northerly winds which were ideal for ringing.  We have had pretty constant southerlies for much of the autumn which doesn't really do us any favours in the centre of the north coast of NI and we tend to have more luck from the north!  John, Dean and I were on site pre dawn and quickly set about getting the nets up covering all our usual net rides minus the end 60 metres of west ride.  We have abandoned this stretch of nets since the summer as they haven't been catching birds.


It was a slow start with thick cloud so it took a couple of hours before the birds, particularly in the open, got moving.  The morning started off with a nice surprise when I flushed two Long-eared Owls from the end of East Ride which appear to have been roosting in the vicinity for the past week following sightings from the local walkers.  Thrushes were also notable after first light with lots of freshly arrived Blackbirds and a few Song Thrushes chittering.  Finch numbers have increased with more Chaffinch and Bullfinch in the scrub and bigger numbers of Linnet and Goldfinch roving around the open dunes once the sun got up plus the first two Lesser Redpolls of the autumn.  Other arrivals included another small wave of Goldcrests, the first movement of Skylark (c40), yet more Meadow Pipits, 3/4 Reed Bunting, five new Stonechats and singles of Blackcap, Sparrowhawk and Wheatear.      


The ringing didn't produce a big catch given the numbers of birds about but there was a nice spread of 13 species including 3 new Stonechat, another Blackcap and a Reed Bunting.  The number of new Blue Tits this year is out of the norm but I suspect it is just the earlier feeding station attracting them in and keeping them there. 

PSS Ringing Totals 01/10/2016     
                                New      Retrap
Blackcap                    1          
Blue Tit                       3              
Bullfinch                     1
Chaffinch                   1                            
Dunnock                    3            
Goldcrest                   3              1
Goldfinch                   3
Great Tit                    1              1
Linnet                        2
Reed Bunting            1
Robin                         2              1
Stonechat                  3                
Wren                         2               2             

Total                       26               5             

A quick wind restricted attempt last week produced only a few birds but it did include the first Coal Tit of the autumn!  As we stand at the moment we are c190 new birds down at Portstewart Strand from the same point last year!

Coal Tit

One of the Storm Petrels we ringed on the 19th of July this year wound up in another mist net and this time it is a new destination for us - Bardsey Bird Observatory.  This represents only our second Storm Petrel to/from Wales following one of ours caught at Porth Iago, Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd in 2013 which is just across from Bardsey Island on the Welsh mainland.       
The bird was caught at Bardsey BO 16 days after ringing at a distance of 298km. 

You can follow regular updates from Bardsey Bird Observatory on their blog Bardsey's Wildlife @ or click on the link at the side. 

Storm Petrel recovery to Bardsey Bird Observatory

The forecast over the next week or so seems to be constant south-easterlies which for everyone else is great news and it might be that they will blow something our way given the strength and longevity of the winds!  A Yellow-browed Warbler seems to be on the cards for someone in Northern Ireland in the coming week given the numbers in Britain at the moment, particularly the observatories in the north Irish Sea.   

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