Thursday 5 December 2019

Shifting Shores

The time has come again when we shift shores from the east (north) shore of the Bann Estuary to the west shore at Castlerock Golf Club. As usual the focus here are the nets set amongst the millions of Sea Buckthorn berries which support a nice mix of finches and thrushes.
This year we have finally set up a feeding station with mixed seed and nyjer on offer.
The first two visits were only sample catches whilst we prepared the net rides and set up the feeding station, with the later two visits being more focused on ringing. We have still got two of the net rides to clear but the catches have been steady that we haven't found the time as yet.

Snow Bunting

The star bird so far was a Snow Bunting which was caught at first light not far from the feeders. This is the first to be ringed in Northern Ireland since 1998 with possibly as few as 13 ringed in all of Ireland since 1952. 


There is a fantastic small marsh close by which I've recorded as holding up to 69 Common Snipe and 5 Jack Snipe. On one of the visits we set some nets along the edge of the pool in the dark hoping to catch some of the Snipe on return to the pool after feeding in the nearby fields at night. We only caught a single Snipe and flushed another 7/8. There were at least 3 Jack Snipe present also and with a little net rejig, we have more luck next time. 


The other catches have been healthy with lots of Bullfinches and good numbers of Song Thrushes present. What has been noticeable in their absence are the Fieldfares with just one seen and caught when the wintering population can number up to 600 and is normally around 100 birds daily. Chaffinches too are absent with one caught and not many more present, usually there are 30-40 and regularly caught.
The feeders have attracted in some Goldfinches and Linnets with a few caught and they will hopefully continue to attract more birds into the spring - perhaps not too many tit species! 

Castlerock Golf Club - November - 1st December 2019

                      New      Retrap
Blackbird          6           2
Blue Tit             3           1
Bullfinch          15          6              
Chaffinch          1
Dunnock           4           1
Fieldfare            1
Goldcrest           2
Goldfinch         12          1
Greenfinch        6
Linnet               10
Robin                 4           1
Snipe                  1
Snow Bunting    1
Song Thrush      9
Wren                   3

Total                  78        12                

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