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February Ringing Totals

20 birds ringed of 7 species: 9 greenfinch, 4 blackbird, 2 great tit, 2 house sparrow, 1 robin, 1 song thrush, 1 wood pigeon. Although this makes grim reading it is the biggest February total for seven years and the third largest this century - basically mild winters just don't bring us any new birds onto the site to catch.

Saturday 28th February 2015

Dull n' breezy end to the month. Heading south 16 Brent & north bound 13 Brent & a Red-throated Diver is hardly going to get the pulse racing. Amongst the gulls offshore it's notable that the bulk of Common Gulls have left us and we haven't seen a Kittiwake for nearly three weeks. A few locals are singing around the site but not sure whether we have a single male Chaffinch wandering about holding territory or two different males.

Ringing: 3 greenfinch

Friday 27th February 2015

Most of morning tied up putting out the mist nets & moth traps for the season. 105 Barnacle Geese went south in a single flock with a separate 9 heading north. 17 Linnet is the best count of the year so far & the 2 Firecrest are still present. Plenty of Fox activity on site recently although we haven't been seeing them - just smelling them and making sure you don't tread in poo left in prominent areas like steps.

Ringing: 1 great tit, 1 greenfinch.

Thursday 26th February 2015

105 Brent went out then north with south bound 4 Brent, 3 Golden Plover, Shelduck & Curlew. On site 5 Redwing are the first spring passage ones, an extra Song Thrush is singing this morning, single Skylark on the reserve & the 2 Firecrest are in the Holm Oaks again. Plenty of Frogs, and even some spawn, in the Butts pond. Back in the "good old days" frogs never appeared before mid-March but these days they are getting earlier & earlier.

Wednesday 25th February 2015

Chiffchaff on the Icky Ridge is exceptionally early with our previous earliest ever spring Chiffchaff being 1st March. Very few other migrants to talk about although a single Mipit went south & a Curlew north. The 2 Firecrest are still with us. Bulk of the morning spent repairing the Helgoland trap as with spring rapidly creeping up on us we don't want any escapees through any holes. Late yesterday afternoon finally got to grips with the Lithuanian Black-headed Gull that has been frequenting the Manor Terrace car park. No doubt when the information is sent off we will learn exactly what it says on the tin (or ring) that it was ringed in Lithuania ! Three other ringed Black-headed Gulls that had their rings read in the car park have all been ringed here with the oldest one done as an adult in January 1998 - but it still has a way to go to beat the oldest known ringed bird at just under 30 years old.

Tuesday 24th February 2015

2 Rooks south were today's migrants although another 761 Brent went out then north.Very much a bright n' breezy sort of morning. Botanically the colder conditions have put things back to where they should be for the time of the year although it is notable that the Rabbits have consumed the snow drops (Oops ! - they are actually Summer Snowflake Leucojum aestivum - but I always was a botanical nincompoop) in some areas but left them alone on other parts of the site.

Monday 23rd February 2015

Couple of new Blackies migrating through, single Great-crested Grebe south, Red-throated Diver north, Shelduck in off & the 2 Firecrest are in the Holm Oaks. That's your lot.

Ringing: 2 blackbird, 1 greenfinch.

Sunday 22nd February 2015

More signs of spring with 3 Rock Pipit around the point plus the first new Robin & Great Tit of the year. The Rock Pipits will be returning to Scandinavia from where they originate and are of the race Anthus petrosus littoralis (but then again it is doubtful whether the nominate British race of Rock Pipit has ever occurred here). The first Robin of the spring is a tad early but it has been noticeable over recent days that several of the Robins that overwinter here have done a bunk as they depart for their summer territories. The first new Great Tit of the spring is dead on cue for the start of their spring wanderings. 33 Brent went out then north & the 2 Firecrest are back in the Holm Oaks. High tides have washed an impressive number of dead birds down river onto the back beach including 10 Pheasant, 3 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Curlew, 1 Common Gull & 1 Crow. Although "shoots" will loose birds onto the saltings that their dogs fail to find the high number of corpses would suggest that these are birds "dumped" as it can be difficult for shooting syndicates to find willing mouths for all the birds they kill and they often bury (or in this case dump) unwanted shot birds. We only have 20 previous Landguard records for Pheasant (including only 2 previous tide line corpses).

Ringing: 1 robin, 1 great tit.