Wednesday, 16 October 2013

15th October

Rain at dawn and continued NE winds meant hopes were high for a moderate catch, although numbers caught recently at Spurn (444) and Gib Point (314) are shear dreams for us.  Catching started off well with redwings and a single song thrush. Blackcaps arrived in number today as well as more goldcrests.  Surprise of the day came when a goldcrest bearing a ring inscribed with "RKS Museum Stockholm".

Ringing totals = 75 birds of 11 species.
redwing (20), blackbird (13), blackcap (11), wren (5), great tit (3), robin (3), chiffchaff (2) and singles of song thrush, greenfinch and brambling.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

13th October

Winds picked up even more but remained from the NE.  A very small number of nets were erected in the most sheltered areas of the Big Mound.  Very very quiet bird wise and it seems like for once we have missed all the migrants which seem to have hit from Spurn to Norfolk.  Hopefully we will get a few more birds soon. Our second mealy redpoll was trapped and ringed in the morning.  The ringing session was stopped with the onset of rain at midday.

Ringing totals: blackbird (2), wren (2), singles of chiffchaff and common redpoll

12th October

The wind was still blowing from the NE but it was soon clear that there were redwings passing overhead.  Ringing was slow with a handful of redwings and the odd robin trapped.  News of a bluethroat came through that was found by Dave Foster in one off the mounds.  A net was set in the mound and it was soon trapped.  It was aged and sexed as a juvenile female.  A cracking addition to the  Whitburn ringing list. It was released where it was caught and continued to feed in the same area. On the next net round a siberian chiffchaff was trapped and ringed.

 bluethroat © Andrew Kinghorn

 siberian chiffchaff © Kieran Lawrence

siberian chiffchaff © Kieran Lawrence

11th October

It was a breezy day with a NE wind.  Nets were erected in the areas of the Big Mound that was sheltered from the wind.  A few migrants were present but nothing in any number. A common redpoll was by far bird of the day.

Ringing totals:
blackbird (4), wren (3), robin (2) and singles of common redpoll.

 Mealy Redpoll © Andrew Kinghorn

Mealy Redpoll © Andrew Kinghorn

Monday, 7 October 2013

OBP picture

The olive-backed pipit trapped on the 5th.

© Andrew Kinghorn

Saturday, 5 October 2013

5th October - OBP

Andy, Harry and I arrived early to erect nets and it was rather quiet in the Big Mound with the odd robin calling.  By the second net round it was looking like an empty net round until I extracted the best bird so far this year to be trapped at whitburn - an olive-backed pipit!!! It certainly changed the whole feel of the day. This record constitutes the third record for Durham.  Photos of this cracking bird will follow soon. From that point a trickle of common migrants and resident birds were trapped until midday. Dave Foster found a subalpine warbler in the Nature Reserve however it soon went to ground and did not reappear

subalpine warbler
richard's pipit (2) south via Dave Foster
snow bunting south
marsh harrier south
whooper swan (2) northwest

Ringing: blue tit (4), chaffinch (2), greenfinch (2) and singles of blackcap, goldcrest, song thrush and olive-backed pipit.

4th October

I arrived on site to find thick fog which wasnt forecast but I was not complaining.  Nets were erected by Graham, Andy and myself and we soon were catching some song thrushes.  I could hear a yellow-browed warbler calling across the road and it soon ended up in a net.  Amazing this was the 8th yellow-browed to be ringed at the obs this year.  It was aged as an adult and the first to be ringed at the obs as all the other 13 have been juveniles. At least 5 yellow-browed warblers were in the vacinity of the Coastal Park. The male firecrest was retrapped in the morning and a good variety of other species were trapped througout the day. A red-breasted flycatcher was still in the Lodge garden. A total of 32 birds of 11 species were ringed.

Ringing: blackcap (7), song thrush (7), robin (4), greenfinch (4), goldfinch (3) and singles of redstart, linnet, whitethroat, goldcrest, chiffchaff and yellow-browed warbler.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

3rd October - Firecrests

Sightings: Whitburn Coastal Park - red-breasted flycatcher

Ringing: song thrush (10) blackcap (4), robin (3), reed bunting (2), firecrest (2) and singles of goldcrest, dunnock plus a retrap blackbird.

2nd October

Whitburn Coastal Park: yellow-browed warbler, red-breasted flycatcher.

Ringing: song thrush (4), blackcap (2) and singles of redwing, redstart and dunnock

1st October

Another breezy day so few birds trapped today.

Whitburn Coastal Park - red-breasted Flycatcher (3) and singles of yellow-browed warbler, ring ouzel and short-eared owl.

song thrush (4), blackcap (2) and singles of robin, garden warbler, goldcrest and greenfinch.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

30th September

Another breezy day at Whitburn.  A few sheltered nets were erected but were visible to grounded migrants.  Ringing totals were 11 birds of 5 species.

willow tit in Marsden Quarry via IM
2 brambling in Marsden Quarry via IM
yellow-browed warbler in Mardsen Quary via JPC
Richard's pipit on golf course and opposite the Coastal Park via JPC

song thrush (5), robin (3) and singles of blackcap, greenfinch and brambling.

Richard's pipit phone scoped by Andrew Walker

Sunday, 29 September 2013

29th September

Despite the moderate SE winds there were clear skies over Whitburn today. It was clear from the offset that there were very few birds around.  A yellow browed warbler was present in the Big Mound and in the Little Arc (mound to the east of the Big Mound).  In total of 5 yellow browed warblers were present in the Coastal Park with a further 7 in the local area, of which 5 were in Church Lane, Whitburn.  Ringing was slow all day with a total of 11 birds ringed of 6 species including 3 retraps.

12 yellow-browed warbler
2 richard's pipits 
1 marsh tit (Marsden Quarry)
1 Wheatear

song thrush (4), great tit (2), greenfinch (2), singles of blue tit, brambling, siskin and a retrap blackcap and song thrush (2). 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

28th September

There was a full team of ringers working two sites at Whitburn Coastal Park today.  With clear skies overnight there was not going to be a large fall of migrants.  The first net round produced another new yellow browed warbler and a retrap. A second new yellow browed warbler turned up in a net in the Big Mound mid afternoon.  That brings the annual total to 7 ringed and there are plenty of unringed birds in the coastal park. A total of 34 birds of 15 species were trapped and ringed including 2 retraps. There was no sign of the rustic bunting or the common rosefinch today.

1 blyth's reed warbler (in the nature reserve)
3 richard's pipit (in the field opposite the coastal park entrance)
1 whinchat (in the field opposite the coastal park entrance)
5 snow bunting (south)

song thrush (6), greenfinch (4), blue tit (4), goldfinch (3), yellow-browed warbler (2+1),  chiffchaff (2), chaffinch (2), robin (1+1), great tit (2), singles of house sparrow, wren, dunnock, woodpigeon, redwing, coal tit, meadow pipit and goldcrest plus a retrap blackbird.

Friday, 27 September 2013

27th September

John arrived for an afternoon/evening ringing session.  A rustic bunting along with 2 richard's pipits and a common rosefinch graced the site.  However all evaded the nets.  Fingers crossed the rustic stays over night and finds a net in the morning.

26th September

It was a much clearer day with clear skies and calm winds.  A yellow-browed warbler was trapped on the first and the last net rounds making the total so far this year to 5 which equals the 2011 total.  There were at least 4 different yellow-browed warblers in the Big Mound during the day. The supporting cast included a tree pipit trapped which is only the second ringed in this site.  Chaffinches, bramblings and a continued stream of meadow pipits passed south over the site.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

25th September

The weather forecast was for NE winds over night and fog so it was hoped that there might be a fall of birds and on the first net round it looked promosing with a chiffchaff and then a spotted flycatcher trapped. However it was soon apparent that there were few birds about.  There was approximately 20 snipe feeding around the Coastal Park with another 4 up on the Leas.  Several Bramblings were observed heading south and a snow bunting went north over Jackies Beach.  The first autumn redwing and song thrush were trapped and several were observed flying in off.  Yellow-browed warblers were turning up all over the place with a total of 9 being found in the local area.  Not surprisingly two yellow-browed warblers were trapped and ringed over the day.  The surprise of the day came when our second common rosefinch was trapped.

Elsewhere a red-breasted flycatcher was found in the afternoon on the Leas hedgerow. Once the fog had lifted there was a big wildfowl movement offshore.

Ringing: 4 greenfinch, 2 yellow-browed warbler, 2 robin, singles of common rosefinch, spotted flycatcher, song thrush, redwing, chiffchaff.

© Adrian George

24th September

After hearing reports of 300 yellow-browed warblers in Norway at the beginning of the week John poped down to the Coastal park after work and put up a handful of nets in the Big Mound.  On the first net round he trapped a yellow-browed warbler.  It was very quiet though with few other birds about.

Ringing totals: 3 birds - singles of yellow-browed warbler, robin and a blue tit.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

22nd September

A much more breezy day today and winds still from the west. A total of 28 birds of 12 species were ringed today plus 5 retraps.

Ringing totals; 7 blue tit, 6 greenfinch, 4 robin, 3 chiffchaff and chaffinch and singles of blackcap, whitethroat, goldcrest, great tit, dunnock, goldfinch and reed bunting. Retraps included 2 blue tit and great tit and a dunnock.

21st September

A fairly bright day at Souter.  Winds were from the west all night so no rares were expected to turn up. A total of 32 birds of 11 species plus one retrap.

Ringing totals; 7 blue tit, 6 greenfinch, 5 great tit, 3 chaffinch and meadow pipit, 2 chiffchaff and dunnock plus singles of blackcap, magpie, robin, swallow.  One blackbird was retrapped.  

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Quality not Quantity

With the weather forecast showing NNE to NE winds over night with rain, it was hoped that there would be a fall of migrants on the Whitburn coast.  The first net round produced a single retrap wren and it was clear that birds did not arrive over night.  So it was then hoped that birds would arrive in the afternoon which also failed to occur with not a single bird trapped between 1140 and 1630.  All was not lost though with a new ringing species for the site, a common rosefinch.

 Juvenile rosefinch (c) Phil 

ringing totals - 13 birds
3 chaffinch, 2 garden warbler, 2 great tit and singles of common rosefinch, whitethroat, willow warbler, wren, robin and goldfinch.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Now on Twitter

I have decided to sign up to Twitter in order to get bird news and ringing news out to birders more quickly.

Search @_souterbirdobs

I hope to get a follow button on the blog soon.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Arctic Warbler

Steve Eggleston finally got a photo of the elusive greenish warbler at the northern end of Shearwater Estate. However from the photo below it has been re-identified as an arctic warbler. A great bird to add to the list of scarcities found in and around Whitburn over the Bank holiday weekend.

arctic warbler © Steve Eggleston

Monday, 26 August 2013

26th August

Light NE winds with a clear sky there was a hope for a few more migrants than yesterday.  It started off well with a few willow warblers trapped.  Jason was netting in the nature reserve again but there was few birds there.  He did trap a sparrowhawk which got out of the nets twice yesterday and a reed warbler.   Best bird of the day was kingfisher which turned up in a net in the Big Mound!

Other birds in the area included a greenish warbler at Marsden Quarry and a second in the gardens on the northern edge of Shearwater Estate.  A red-backed shrike turned up in the nature reserve but agin evaded the nets.

Ringing totals were 11 willow warbler, 7 goldfinch, 3 robin, 2 whitethroat, wren, dunnock and greenfinch, reed warbler, blue tit, pied flycatcher and kingfisher.

kingfisher (c) Dougie

kingfisher (c) Dougie

25th August

After yesterdays barred warbler I had high hopes for todays catch.  It was a very quiet day with very few migrants trapped.  The best trapped bird of the day was a spotted flycatcher.  Elsewhere in the coastal park a wryneck was located in the nature reserve but evaded the nets.  An icterine warbler was in the gardens on the northern edge of Shearwater Estate.

24th August

The day started off with heavy rain.  When the rain stopped it was a murky afternoon.  However it didnt last very long and light rain turned into more heavy rain.  The light rain dropped a few migrants including a handful of garden warblers and a barred warbler, both species were trapped and ringed.

barred warbler © Steve Eggleston

Saturday, 24 August 2013

23rd August

Nets were opened prior to sunrise. Ringing was slow until the afternoon when migrants started to appear.

The days ringing totals were 18 birds and consisted of:
5 willow warbler, 4 blackbird and blue tit, 2 whitethroat, and singles of pied flycatcher, wren and chaffinch.

22nd August

Its been a while seen the blog was updated but we have started the autumn ringing season so the blog should be updated more often now.

The weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend looked good for ringing with the possibility of some easterly winds.  Nets were set in the afternoon and the catch consisted of 3 chaffinch and blackcap, 2 wrens and a single robin.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Recent Recoveries from across the North Sea

As with many east coast ringing sites we ring many continental blackbirds during the autumn.  Although we know they are from the continent we do not know exactly where from, however in a batch of recent recovery reports from the BTO we had a report of one of our blackbirds that was ringed on the 8th November 2011was taken by a cat in Vastervik, SWEDEN on the 13th May 2013!! Although no surprise this is the first bird from Whitburn that has been recorded in Sweden.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Summer adventures

Summer at Whitburn can be very quiet so we go off ringing around the local area and occasionally get over to Cumbria and up to Scotland. Owls seem to have faired badly this year with tawny owls down on last year but NO long-eared owl nests have been located this year.  A single brood of two little owls and the adult female were ringed.  Raptors have also done poorly with small brood sizes.  Seven peregrine chicks were ringed in Cumbria.  A total of 21 Kestrels were ringed in and around the Sunderland area.  A weekend trip to Scotland to ring golden eagles ended well with a single male chick ringed however two sites that produced young failed.  Small broods and many failures seems to have been reflected in the Aberdeenshire population too.

peregrine © Adrian George 

Waders seem to have done well this year with quite a few chicks being found and ringed.  Below are a selection of chicks found so far.

oystercatcher © Adrian George 

snipe © Adrian George 

lapwing © Adrian George 

lapwing © Adrian George 

curlew © Adrian George 

curlew © Adrian George 

As part of some recent work I have been required to find nests.  Along with the waders above I have located several meadow pipit nests and two skylark nests, one of the later shown below.

skylark © Adrian George 

A friend in Scotland has an excellent burn for catching dippers and kingfishers.  We managed to catch the adult male kingfisher however the female knew the score and has repeatedly avoided the net.

Kingfisher © Adrian George 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Red-backed Shrike

Its been a while since the blog has been updated.  Spring has been fairly slow going as far as ringing has been concerned. Many birds were late passing through the coastal park.  Highlights were up to 10 red-backed shrikes around the Whitburn area including an adult female in the coastal park Nature Reserve which was trapped and ringed.

(c) John Brown

Sunday, 3 February 2013

More Owls

I have been waiting for at least two weeks to go back to Rising Sun CP to try and trap the remaining 2 short-eared owls after all the snow had gone.  I turned up on the site and it was a little breezy and sunny which was not ideal but I was really going for the long-eared owls.  I set the first line of 3 nets and went to the other side of the field to set the next line of nets.  A short-eared was already hunting near the net and was observed flying over the top but soon went into the net, however as I run across the field and when I was at the net the bird managed to escape.  Very frustrating.  I watched for the next two and half hours as 3 short-eareds hunting around and over the nets.  As dusk came though I was in high hopes for a long-eared.  They appeared from the roost earlier than expected and caught me off guard.  It was not long before I trapped 2 in a net together.  As with the last 3, these were both females, one adult and one immature.  Two walkers out for a late evening stroll managed to get great views in the hand and left happy.  Later I had a third long-eared escaped from the net.  I also left that evening feeling like I had been successful but also frustrated that the short-eared managed to escape.  I will just have to keep trying.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Fantastic Four

I had heard of 3 short-eared owls at a local country park.  I gained permission to ring on the land and yesterday I set out to try and trap some of them.  I knew the birds hunted in the late afternoon so I arrived on site at 1330 and started to set up nets in a rough grass field where I had been told they prefer to hunt. As I set up the first line of nets the short-eared owls were already hunting.  I moved to the other side of the field to set the second line of nets and watched one owl fly over the net at least half a dozen times.  Eventually one did make it into the net.  It went quiet from 1530 and as dusk fell I was hoping they would continue hunting or other owls such as long-eared, tawny or barn owl may hunt the same field.  I didn't have to wait long.  The first net check after dark produced a long-eared owl and then a second long-eared in the second line of nets. Bingo! I went to take down the nets only to find another long-eared.  All the long eared owls were adult females so presumably there is a single sex communal roost in the local mixed plantation.

 Short-eared owl © Adrian George

 Long-eared owl © Adrian George

Friday, 11 January 2013

BBC The One Show - Stormie ringing

John was joined by one of the BBC's film crews to record storm petrel ringing on the Isle of Scillies last summer.  Below is the link to a youtube page of the short film.  Very good watch indeed.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New feeding station

On Saturday members of the Whitburn Ringing Group and the Coastal Conservation Group joined forces to undertake some habitat management on the Big Mound and to erect a new feeding station in the Nature Reserve.  The feeding station was located near to the stone wall hide and compliments the two new pools which were dug in 2012. Below are some photos of the team and their efforts.