Caister beach
Welcome to the ENRG blogspot. We hope you enjoy reading about the bird ringing activities and experiences of the group.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

More snow and ice

A quick look down the beach at Caister Saturday afternoon produced 60/70 Snow Buntings waiting to be fed !
All the food had gone, the remains were being cleaned up by 4 Carrion Crows (2 very startling birds with 'zebra striped wings' ) and a Common Gull. As soon as the seed was put out they were on, about half being ringed.
Another look Sunday morning produced 45 birds eagerly feeding, it doesn't seem fair to catch them at the moment so we will let them feed up ready for a go over Christmas.

A frozen Rollesby Broad

A quick look down Rollesby and Ormesby Broads to see what the Coot numbers were produced about 100 on two small areas of open water, also packed in were 10+ Tufted Duck and 30+ Pochard and a superb 1st.Winter female Goosander.

Amazingly it got out of the water,preened for a while then walked across the ice  to the other stretch of open water.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The ice man cometh

Snow Bunting numbers during the week were fluctuating again between 12 to 50 birds being present on and off. The tide had been high and washed some of the food out. So we decided to concentrate our efforts elsewhere.
I had a quick look Sunday morning and counted 64 with most feeding on the seed, at least two thirds of them were unringed!!! with no colour ringed birds present. So it goes to prove they are still coming in and moving about, we have ringed about 100 this Winter so far, where have they gone?

James kindly invited us back to the duck pond, it had thawed out a bit with a few Teal and Mallard using it during the week. We arrived at the pond 3pm Sunday afternoon, the gear was unloaded and the car parked, unfortunately I parked in the wrong place and duly got it stuck!

Oh dear
Luckily reinforcements were on the way, with the help of Dave, Justin and Gary driving, we managed to get it out, although it was now caked in mud after my first attempts of moving it.
With half the pond still frozen some energetic stomping was needed so we could erect the nets. Only 4 were put up, so it was the least number of nets we have had here.

The ice man

About 30 Teal and 30 Mallard were flying around, with 7 Teal and a Robin ! caught. These comprised of 5 males with 3 of them being adults.
Adult male top, 1st.Winter below
Adult left, 1st Winter right
Adult male left and 1st Winter male

1st Winter left, adult right
Adult top, 1st Winter bottom

7 Whooper Swans flew over the pond, with 2 Barn Owls and a Marsh Harrier hunting over the marshes.
Cranes and Pinkfeet could be heard in the distance. While waiting for the ducks at least 7 Woodcock were seen flying out of the woods.
We were standing under some Birch trees that had growths (broom's) in and amazingly watched at least a dozen Wren's enter the broom's to roost !

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Snow Buntings again.

We kept a check on the Snow Buntings during the week, numbers have been fluctuating in the cold weather. At least 50 birds were about with around half not being ringed , 2 colour ringed birds were also in the flock ( from Kessingland). The wheat is still taking a hammering, Gary has been feeding every over day.
We decided to go again on Saturday as the birds are still moving about at present. Friday nights temperature was -4.5 degrees C so we expected a freezing morning, however when we arrived at 6.15 am the following morning it was a tropical +2.5 degrees with a light SW and light rain.

Ready and waiting.

Because of the rain we sat it out until it stopped, it eased up around 7.30am. We went to put some more seed out and around 45 birds were in the area ,so we decided to set the net and have a go.We quickly caught 17 birds with 16 being new. All the birds were 1st Winters (3's) with 10 Females and 8 being Insulae and 8 Nivalis and one being unraced. 
Also on the beach were a number of waders , some obviously brought here by the freezing weather in land.
6 Redshank, Golden Plover, 2 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin  and 4 Turnstone were seen. Also present were 3 Med Gulls and a flyby Goosander.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Snow Buntings revisited

At last some more Snow Buntings have turned up at Caister, we have had some ups and downs  this year so far. The 'flock' had been fluctuating quite a bit with 20/30 birds seen on occasions and at other times nothing at all! The seed has been deliberately covered over for what reason we can only guess at, this saw the birds move off to other areas. 
Then with the colder weather moving in  more birds began to arrive, Gary went down Wednesday and saw about 40 birds, followed by Tony on Friday who had at least 60 birds in the area, the wheat is definitely taking a bashing at the moment, thanks must go to David for supplying this.

Caister beach on a cold Winters day

So with all this in mind a trip was planned for Saturday morning, we arrived at 6.15am and started to question why we had left our cosy warm beds for a screaming NE, temperatures of 2 degrees C (the wind chill made it much colder than this) and Snow showers.

The huddle trying to keep warm, Dave sporting his Mexican moustache!

With the net malfunctioning a couple of times we still managed an excellent catch, catching 69 new, 1 retrap and 1 control all Snow Buntings. The retrap was from the last session and the control is a colour ringed bird from Kessingland, Suffolk.
The 'normal', a 3F Insulae Snow Bunting

Adult male (top) and 1st.Winter male Nivalis race

The 71 birds were made up of 68 1st Winters, 56 were Females, with 40 being Insulae, 23 Nivalis and 8 un-raced. 1st Winter female Insulae birds being the norm.
About another 20 birds were seen during the morning, so there could well be a 100 birds about in the area.

Afterwards a quick trip to Rollesby saw Sharon extend her ringing knowledge to another species, Coot.
This was the only bird caught as the adverse weather settled in and the net was hastily taken down in a blizzard!

With the garden not being seen in daylight for a couple of weeks due to work commitments! 3 nets were erected Sunday afternoon in anticipation, this resulted in 31 new birds and 5 retraps being caught.

Gt. Spotted Woodpecker;  2
Blackbird; 8  (2) one originally ringed 03/02/07 the other 08/11/08
Long-tailed Tit; 13  (3) one from 21/10/06  and 02/11/08
Blue Tit; 1
House Sparrow; 3
Greenfinch; 2 one with a deformed bill.
Goldfinch; 2 
Adult Greenfinch with deformed bill.

Also in the garden on Friday night as the ringing gear was being loaded a Woodcock was seen on the back lawn. A net was gathered and the bird was quickly caught, a first for the garden.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Santa's surprise

We have been baiting the whoosh net area at Caister beach now for 3/4 weeks with no results until this week, then the Snow Bunting started to turn up, 10 were reported on Wednesday, then Tony had a look on Friday to find 36 and a Lapland Bunting feeding on the seed.
Saturday morning dawned with us setting the net on the beach at 5.45am ready for first light. 

Caister beach early morning

It wasn't long before the first Snow Bunting turned up, 3 were seen in the half light in the trapping area, these were caught and the net hastily reset. Within 10 mins some more arrived and settled straight into the trapping area, the net was released for the second time and another 17 were caught alongside the Lapland Bunting. Another 10 were flying about but never came down.

All the way from Santa's land !
1st. Winter Tail Feathers
1st. Winter Lapland Bunting

20 Snow Bunting were caught, 18 new and 2 retraps, one originally ringed 28/12/2009 the other 13/02/2010.
10 were of the Nivalis race ,5 Insulae race and 5 intermediates.The Nivalis birds were a surprise as we don't normally catch many of this race.
One bird was an absolute stunner, being an adult male 'nivalis' bird, a  scarce occurrence for us.Normally most birds are 1st. Winter Females of the Insulae race.

Adult Male 'Nivalis' Snow Bunting

Later in the afternoon another visit to Hickling for Ducks was planned. We arrived and erected the nets in calm dry conditions, within 10 mins of finishing the nets a large black cloud came over us and the heavens opened for the next hour and a half !!!

Looking a tad dejected !!!!!!!

We saw the evening out in the rain, about 30 Teal and 10 Mallard were flying around but very few tried to land. No birds were caught as they could see the rain hanging on the nets, as we packed up the rain stopped !
Sods law !!!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Migrants gone

We visited Winterton again Sunday (31st.) morning with the hope of more crests and thrushes.
It proved to be very quiet, if it wasn't for the feeders relatively few birds would have been caught.
Because the clocks were going back that morning Dave ordered everyone to leave their clocks on the old time so there was no confusion ! I think this had the reverse effect. However everyone apart from me turned up at the right time, I did have a valid excuse !?

One of the better birds attracted to the feeders !

30 new birds and 19 retraps (in brackets) were processed ;
WREN 1 (1)
ROBIN 1 (1)
BLUE TIT 9 (7) One from Sept. 2009
GREAT TIT 2 (5) One originally ringed 28/10/2006

Later in the afternoon a much needed shopping trip !! was planned to Gt. Yarmouth, so the opportunity was taken to go and see the Waxwings that had been present for a few day's. About 40 were seen but were very flighty in the wind and rain.

Little Stunner's !

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

More Crest's

We were again at Winterton on Sunday 17th , the usual nets were erected.
It seemed rather quiet apart from several Blackbird and Redwing flying over. It was raining when we arrived but soon cleared to leave a nice warm morning with a light NE wind, temperature eventually getting up to a balmy 12 degrees C!
1st W Male and Adult Female Blackbird

Goldcrest and Robins were the predominate birds ringed again, only one warbler was caught.
It was good to get another Marsh Tit and 3 Treecreeper were a nice suprise. I think the Tits have now found the feeders to their liking !!!


Ringing totals as follows, retraps in brackets. 107 were ringed and another 13 retraps processed.

DUNNOCK; 3 (1)
ROBIN; 16 (3)
LONG-TAILED TIT; (1) Ringed 21/09/2008
GREAT TIT; 6 (7) One from 08/10/2007  another 11/10/2008
1ST W Male Siskin

Adult Marsh Tit

At least 400 Pinkfeet were in the area and 2 Woodcock were flushed early morning. A Comma butterfly was seen sun bathing later on.
Another Brambling was caught in the garden later in the afternoon.
1st W Male Brambling

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Crest's, Ducks and Mel's birthday !

The weekend looked good again, bird's were everywhere!
The 10th Oct was going to be a busy day, ringing at Winterton  in the morning, Ducks at Hickling in the evening and a net up in the middle of the afternoon in the garden for a couple of hours! All this and it was Mels' birthday.
The nets were erected on Saturday night at Winterton by Tony, Gary and Dave ready for an early start next morning. Whilst putting the nets up Dave heard a couple of Yellow broweds calling and Thrushes  were still arriving in off the sea.
Sunday arrived with clear skies and a light Easterly blowing, the usual Pinkfeet could be heard leaving their roost and the Cranes 'whooping ' in the distance. Every bush seemed to have a bird in, so the nets were eagerly checked.
As usual we left the rare birds for other people to ring while we concentrated on the more common stuff! It was a fantastic morning catching 159 birds, so it was all hands to the pump.

'The booker' ,Tony.

 'The checker' , Dave

Sharon putting her new found knowledge to use in ageing a Garden Warbler.

It was great to see the return of so many Goldcrests after such a disastrous autumn last year, we only ringed 7 in 2009! One individual had a crossed bill but seemed to be in good condition.


159 birds were caught with 147 being new, we had the first Redwings and Siskins of the year. Retraps in brackets.
DUNNOCK; 7 (2)
ROBIN; 35 (2) One originally ringed as an adult 29/04/2006.
WILLOW WARBLER; 1 Rather greyish individual.
GREAT TIT; 1 (2)
In recent weeks there have been lots of Jays about, with several seen collecting acorns, also seen by Tony was the first Woodcock of the autumn. Also several Common Darters are still about .
When I eventually arrived home, the garden was also alive with birds, so a 40' net was quickly erected.
This produced another 12 birds, the best being 2 Brambling and a Coal Tit.

My new trainee.

Finally to round the day off the first visit this Autumn for Ducks was pencilled in at Hickling.
The team ready for action complete with frog legs!

James had kindly invited us along again and has been feeding the pond for a number of weeks. Plenty of Teal had been using the pond. Nets were set in the usual pattern, about 100 Teal and 7 Mallard were seen flying around.
Eventually 9 new Teal were ringed.

 1st.W Male Teal,  some small green feathers can be seen above the eye.
A more advanced 1st. W Male Teal.
Teal tail showing adult and juvenile type feathers.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Tail end

During the course of the week several falls were reported on the websites, mainly Robins. We were looking forward to the weekend to catch up with some of them ! 
Nets were erected on the Friday night in strong southerly winds and torrential rain !!The weather forecast for Saturday was good so it was going to be worth the effort.
Saturday saw a depleted team meet at Winterton for 6am,we were greeted with light Southerly winds and a mild early morning, later lovely sunshine and 17 degrees C.
104 new Birds and 17 retraps were caught, mostly Robins and Dunnocks, the numbers had dwindled somewhat from earlier in the week. At least we got the tail end of the falls.

 We decided to leave the nets up for Sunday morning, but with strong SW winds blowing and most of the birds moving on it was very quiet and only 15  new birds were caught with no retraps. 

Ringing totals, retraps in brackets and then Sunday totals in RED ;

WREN; 8 (1)
DUNNOCK; 13 (2),  4
ROBIN; 22, 1
LONG TAILED TIT; 13 (6) One originally ringed 02/09/2006, 1
COAL TIT 3 (1) Originally ringed 14/09/2008
BLUE TIT; 15 (2), 3
GREAT TIT; 7 (5), 2

 Song Thrush, all were greyish continental types.

A flock of 12/15 Siskin were flying about all morning, several Jay's were seen. Cranes were heard in the distance and the Pinkfeet were very noisy.
Common Darter's, Migrant Hawker and a Red Admiral were on the wing still.
 A Hornet wasp was extracted from the nets, delicately ! A large Grass Snake was seen  basking in the sun.