Friday 14 October 2016

Early October

The spell of easterlies has continued into a second week and they've gradually got stronger and brought some wetter weather in the later half of this week.  In the quieter spells we managed another couple of visits to Portstewart Strand in what you would call 'ideal conditions'.
The hoped for rarities from the east didn't materialise and Northern Ireland managed just two Yellow-browned Warblers when there have probably been 1000+ across the UK and Ireland including 50 ringed at Cape Clear Bird Observatory at the far end of Ireland.  NI didn't miss out totally and notched up its first Red-flanked Bluetail and a nice Red-breasted Flycatcher - all four birds in County Down.
We on the other hand couldn't even muster a Blackcap or Chiffchaff but we have seen a continued run of thrushes.  The first few Redwings started passing through last Friday with further Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and the first Mistle Thrush I've seen at Portstewart Strand itself. Goldcrests continue to flit through with birds scattered everywhere through the scrub.  Other notable arrivals include more new Stonechats, another wave of Blue Tits (no doubt local), 3+ Great Creasted Grebes, flocks of Skylarks, the first Jack Snipe of the year and a Long-tailed Duck which I missed.


Ringing was by no means prolific but another 3 new Stonechats and a Skylark were nice catches. October was the best month for numbers last year so hopefully things will pick up with a return of some northerlies.


PSS Ringing Totals 07 - 11/10/2016
                                New      Retrap
Blackbird                    6             2
Blue Tit                      7    
Bullfinch                    1
Chaffinch                   3                  
Dunnock                                    2
Goldcrest                   4    
Goldfinch                   5              3
Great Tit                    4               3
Meadow Pipit            3
Reed Bunting            1
Robin                         1               2
Skylark                      1       
Song Thrush             4
Stonechat                  3               1
Wren                         2               1              

Total                       45               14             

Song Thrush

Last week Ken hosted Siobhan in his garden for another training session.  Conditions were good and the number of birds visiting the feeders continue to build.  Chaffinch, as usual, were top of the bill with 13 new birds while Coals Tits were the most numerous species processed with 18.

Kens Garden 06/10/2016
                                New      Retrap
Blue Tit                       7            4    
Chaffinch                   13           3        
Coal Tit                      9             9
Dunnock                    1              1
Goldcrest                   2    
Goldfinch                   8
Great Tit                    8              6
Robin                         4              2
Wren                         4                          

Total                       56              25             

Unfortunately our weekend trip to Copeland Bird Observatory has been canceled due to the weather but we will hopefully get rescheduled for a couple of weeks time.  As such, the prospects for weekend ringing look limited to a wind restricted short window on Saturday morning but we may give it a go.

We've had word of another Storm Petrel recovery but I'll update on that next time.

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