Friday 21 October 2016

Thrushes plus Sandwich Tern and Storm Petrel Recoveries

It has been yet another quiet week in the Bann Estuary and we still can't manage to find a warbler of any form!  The week was split into two weather wise with windy and wet conditions from Saturday to Tuesday and warmer settled weather for the rest of the week, with the winds still generally from the east or south.  Wednesday marked the first day of northerlies for almost 3 weeks and it brought some new birds with it.

Redwing (JC)

The first half of the week was the quieter period with little obvious passage or grounded migrants with only a handful of Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Song Thrushes and singles of Redwing flying over early morning.  Goldcrest numbers have dropped off quite substantially with only one bird caught and only a few heard.  Things on the estuary have been a little better with lots of Golden PloverTeal and Wigeon, a constant stream of Whooper Swans flying over from Wednesday, six Greylag Geese, six Little Egrets (3 more than my previous patch max count), three Great-crested Grebes and only the second Little Grebe of the year.  Thursday seen a better movement of thrushes with larger numbers of Redwing and a new wave of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes.  Skylark movement also picked up with flocks of up to 50 birds passing through on Thursday.  At least one Long-eared Owl is still frequenting the area and was spotted on two mornings pre 7am. 

Whooper Swans (JC)

Again we managed a couple of ringing sessions before work or on days off so generally shorter restricted sessions when working by ourselves or in twos.  A sprinkling of northern migrants has helped boost the numbers as the local bird numbers continue to struggle.  The first Redwing of the autumn is always nice and a further two Skylarks are welcome as they can be a challenge to catch! 


PSS Ringing Totals 15 - 20/10/2016
                                New      Retrap
Blackbird                   6                
Blue Tit                      1  
Dunnock                    1              3
Goldcrest                   1
Goldfinch                                   1
Great Tit                    2              1
Linnet                        2
Meadow Pipit           18
Redwing                    4
Robin                        1               5  
Skylark                      2   
Song Thrush             2
Wren                         4           

Total                       44               10            

Skylark (JC)

The feeding station has been relocated as it has become very exposed since the leaves have fallen off the trees so the birds are steering clear when the nets are up.  The feeders have also been plagued with rats with up to three large brutes spotted at a time so a new location was certainly in order.


It has been a while since we have had a Sandwich Tern recovered in Africa but news came in of our 66th bird to the continent.  The bird was retrapped in La Somone, Senegal, which is our second bird from the site and 25th to Senegal.  The last one was controlled some 14 years ago so it has been quite a wait to get one from La Somone!
The bird was ringed by us as a pullus at Inch Island, Donegal on the 4th of June 2014 and re-caught by a South African (at least registered) ringer on the 6th of April of this year.  The straight line distance between the sites is 4585 km with the time lapsed of 672 days. 

Sandwich Tern recovery in La Somone, Senegal

As mentioned in the previous post we had news of another Storm Petrel controlled elsewhere in the British Isles and since then we've had another two reports in!
The first bird was controlled at Rhuba nan Sasan, Loch Ewe, Highland, Scotland on the 3rd of September 2016 at a distance of 305 km.  We had trapped the bird 38 days earlier on the 27th of July at Rinnagree Point, Portstewart. 

The other two birds are quite interesting and almost associated.  They represent an exchange from the Calf of Man Bird Observatory in both directions.  The first of these was a bird that we ringed at Rinnagree Point on the 19th of July this year which was controlled only 4 days later at the Observatory at the southern tip of the Isle of Man.  On that same night the Obs staff ringed another Storm Petrel which made its way to us nine days later, taking the reverse route as the first.
These are not the first Storm Petrels that we have exchanged with the Calf (174km straight line distance away) with two of ours going there and two of theirs coming our way.  Two of those birds were also caught within less 15 days apart so it is clearly a natural route for the birds through July and August. 

Edited note: I've only just noticed that the bird of ours trapped at the Calf was the same bird also caught at Bardsey Bird Observatory 19 days later. 

Storm Petrel Recoveries

The settled weather looks set to continue into the weekend so we will hopefully get another visit in and potentially carry out a bit of habitat management.
Our final visit to Copeland Bird Observatory for the season is pencilled in for next weekend so fingers crossed the weather is kind to us and we actually manage to get to the island and get some nice birds!

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