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March 2012 Ringing totals

Over the course of the month a total of 190 birds were ringed at the observatory. This being 90 birds down on last years figure, however looking at the figures 61 new Great Tits were ringed in March last year compared to only 9 this year. Other numbers were up including 6 Firecrest (2 last year) and 33 Chiffchaffs (9 last year).

Top three species were as follows:

1.    Chiffchaff - 33
2.    Blackbird - 30
=3.  Chaffinch & Goldcrest - 19

Saturday 31st March 2012

A bit of a shock to the system today as the weather has changed from summer like temperatures to a dull. drab, windy morning. A few new birds were in this morning with counts of 3 Black Redstart and Wheatear out on the reserve. Another new Firecrest was ringed along with 3 Chiffchaffs, a lone male Blackcap and the first Willow Warbler of the year. Other migrants appear to have thinned out with only 1 Redwing seen and Blackbird numbers noticeably depleted. Offshire a Kittiwake headed North along with 6 Cormorants, with a Pied Wagtail, A Meadow Pipit and 3 Oyks heading South.

Friday 30th March 2012

The 1st Swallow of the year is always good to get. One thing that is good about recent days is a constant turnover of migrants. New in today were 8 Redwing, 5 Chiffchaffs, Firecrest, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Songie, a couple of Blackies & the first Wheatear for several days. At least 3 Black Reds were knocking around the site in various locations. 2 Jackdaws went high north overhead continuing the good run of records of this species & a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull was with the gulls just inside the dock fence.

Thurday 29th March 2012

A few more migrants in today including 5 new Chiffs, a new male Firecrest, a Goldcrest and a couple of Robins. A single Black Redstart was the only obvious thing out on the reserve, although a pair of adult Med Gulls was a welcome sight after a few weeks of absence. The main attraction this morning was the Peregrines, the large (possible hybrid)  female was observed battling with a crow and came within metres of those up on the top of the obs. Immediately after 2 male birds appeared and all three were calling and generally making a fuss overhead. The female bird appeared too brown for even a juvenile Peregrine, adding to suspicions of its provenance. hopefully we will be able to work out what is going on from some of today's pictures.

Wednesday 28th March 2012

A fine morning with bright sun and a flat calm sea, and very few birds! Half a dozen new birds were ringed, including another Blackcap and Chiffchaff. A Yellowhammer, Grey Wagtail and a couple of Pied Wag's all went South during the morning and a handful; of Redwing moved off before first light. 16 Shelduck were on the reserve before it got too busy, all seeming to be paired up for the spring.

Tuesday 27th March 2012

Another glorious warm day (although ice was scrapped off the car window to get here before dawn). Migrants were predictably scarce in the northerly airflow. New in today were singles of Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch & Blacky. On the reserve a cracking male Black Red, Redwing plus a Grey Wag heard calling, but not seen, first thing. What is going on in the Peregrine department at the moment is unclear. In recent days a female with "browny bits" on it has been reported - this is either an immature bird or, more likely, a hybrid falconers escapee. The adult male Peregrine is seen regularly but is unable to chase this interloper away. The adult female Peregrine is only being seen on rare occasions which leads me to one of either two conclusions. Is she incubating sat out of sight on the green crane or has this alien chased her off ? What would help is that if any of you readers out there have any decent photos of any of the birds that would allow close study of plumage details please could you e.mail them to so we can try to work out what exactly is going on.

Monday 26th March 2012

With 2 Black Redstarts being the only migrants of note on site the nets were closed early and all hands were on deck for erecting the fencing on the beach for ground nesting birds. With a good bunch of volunteers it was quick work and hopefully it will keep disturbance in the area to a minimum. The only other notable sight was the Peregrines displaying early on on above the nearest dock crane.

Sunday 25th March 2012

With still unfavourable winds observers noted a few birds of interest this morning. A new Firecrest was the highlight of the ringing with solitary Chiff, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock and Robin all also making appearances.  Heading North were 3 Greylags, 5 Cormorant and a lone Brent Goose, a solitary Red-throated Diver being the only South bound individual. A few Fieldfare and Redwing were still hanging around early on and on the docks a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull was amongst the rabble of other gulls, supported by 4 Yellow-legged Gulls of varying age & what was presumably yesterdays Caspian. Another seldom seen mammal was spotted within the recording area, a Brown Rat, which met its end on the road overnight