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

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas Exercise!!!

With the recent festivities out of the way and a need to get rid of a few calories we went to Caister (27th) for Snow Bunting.
We arrived just before light to set up, to a reasonable morning weather wise. We were joined by Jen for her first ringing trip.

Cracking Sunrise!

Gary and Tony have been feeding regularly in the last few weeks with the flock peeking at 61 mid month.
It was very quiet at first with only one bird turning up which preceded to gorge itself on the wheat.
Then birds began to appear until eventually there were about 45 in the area, by this time however the beach was getting quite popular.
We made a catch of 20 Snow Bunting; 13 new, 4 retraps and 3 Kessingland birds. The retraps were made up of 2 from this winter and  2 from 2011. 16 / 20 were Insulae race.
 A Golden Plover turned up and was heading for the wheat but unfortunately was chased off by a dog!
 A Shag was drying out on the sea defences before deciding to have a dip, 4 Brent Geese and 2 Red Throated Diver flew past with at least 40 Cormorant coming from roost to feed.

There has been a dearth of birds in the garden so far this Winter, nets were up for 4 hours yesterday and only 6 birds caught! However the day was brightened up by this happy fella.

1st winter male Great Spotted Woodpecker

He thought my finger was a bit of wood though, Ouch!!! 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

More Brambling.

Dave, Tony and I met at Ludham cover crop again on Sunday 16th December, with James and Amy joining us later.
This time we were using the whoosh net, we have been baiting for a couple of weeks now, this year we have it the other way round and a bit further down the hedge line, this was going to be a bit of trial and error.
Large numbers of Finch and Bunting continue to feed in this little oasis amongst the ploughed fields, unfortunately 500 Wood Pigeon have also found it to there liking! These are just grain machines hoovering up everything they can find.

1st Winter (3) male Brambling, 3 retained juvenile greater coverts can clearly be seen.

Adult (4) male Brambling. 

We had one "whoosh " and caught 13 birds all new, 12 were Brambling and 1 Reed Bunting. Other birds continued to turn up but unfortunately stayed in the hedge.
James and Amy arrived later to have a chat and give us the ups and downs of the Canaries and the ins and outs of Deer poo!

Now you see us!

Now you don't, well almost!

7 Whooper Swan flew over and about 10 Fieldfare were in the hedges nearby. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

What a turn up !

A change of scenery was to be had early Sunday (2nd. December) morning, Dave and I headed north to meet Mick in the Sea Palling area. Snow Bunting were the target, with maybe some Turnstone as well.

The venue.

Mick and his associates have been baiting an area on the beach for a while now and the numbers of Snow Bunting have been building up, with about 30/40 in the area.
Recently 40/50 Turnstone have been seen feeding in the same area as well.
While setting the net up 40 or so Turnstone and a few Snow Bunts were waiting patiently for their breakfast.

One of the Snow Bunting.

The Turnstone were first on and 17 (all new) were soon caught, they were quickly extracted and the net reset.
Within a few minutes 27 Snow Bunts were in the area, with some going on the food. 19 were caught , all new and mostly Nivalis birds.

1st. Winter (3) Turnstone

Adult (4) Turnstone

 Turnstone wing patterns, adult above, 1st Winter below.

Sunday afternoon we ventured to Hickling for a Teal session, James has been feeding the pond as usual.
Teal numbers have been fluctuating quite a bit, what's there one day may not be there the next, however we thought to give it a go.
Unfortunately only about 10 Teal came in, we managed to catch 2 , both drakes, at least it's a start.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Bunting and Finch harvest

Several recce's at the Ludham cover crop recently have produced large numbers of Bunting and Finch feeding there.
At least 350 birds have been present with approximately 40+ Yellowhammer, 60+ Reed Bunting, 30+ Brambling , 60 Linnet and 100+ Chaffinch.
The first trip to ring was 24th November, we arrived early morning to frost, fog, virtually no wind and a temperature of 0.5 degrees C. 
An excellent morning was had with 107 new birds and (7) retraps being caught and processed.This included our biggest one day catch of Brambling.

Male Brambling

Adult Male Brambling

1st Winter Female Brambling

Wren 0 (1) ringed 19/11/11
Dunnock 5
Robin 5
Blackbird 2
Blue Tit  4 (1) ringed as an adult 19/11/11
Chaffinch 17
Brambling 19
Yellowhammer 26
Reed Bunting 26 (5)These included birds from 12/11/11, 02/01/12, 21/01/12, 04/02/12 and a control Y886919.
Also one each of Greenfinch, Lesser Redpoll and Song Thrush.

 Male Chaffinch

The second session was on 1st December, sadly it never lived up to expectations as only 13 new and 1 retrap were caught. This was mainly down to the windy, showery weather.

Blackbird 0 (1)  ringed as an adult on 11/02/12
Chaffinch 2
Yellowhammer 3
Reed Bunting  8

1st Winter male Yellowhammer  

Up to 30 Golden Plover were present on the first date and several skeins of Pinkfeet went over on both dates.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


The Snow Bunting are back at last!
We have been putting the seed out now for 3/4 weeks,but the local Crows and Pigeons have been finding it to their liking, however things were about to change with reports of the first Snow Bunting just North of us.
We must thank David for supplying us with Wheat again this year. 

23 were first reported at Caister on Saturday 10th Nov with 30 there on Sunday, then Gary had 48 on the Wednesday and Tony seeing 60 on Friday, it was time to have a go before they moved off.
When they first arrive they are always mobile moving from one place to another and don't seem to settle down for the Winter much before the end of December.
We arrived at Caister early Saturday (17th) morning, 10 minutes later several birds where flying around our heads calling. Within minutes of the net being set we were catching our first Snow Bunting of the Winter.

Adult female (Insulae race)  Snow Bunting

As above Tail feathers

46 Snow Bunting were caught with 41 new and 4 retraps and 1 control.
Of these 3 were colour ringed birds from Kessingland, Suffolk.
 These have a BTO metal ring on left leg and a Yellow colour ring with a Black inscription on the right leg. Please can any sightings of c/r birds be reported to and BTO. 


KI  Was originally ringed at Caister on 24/12/11 then colour ringed at Kessingland on 15/02/12.
HP Originally ringed Caister 17/12/11 back at Caister on 24/12/11, it was c/r in between these dates at  Kessingland 22/12/11.
J7 Was ringed at Kessingland on 08/02/12.
Thanks to Colin for the c/r data .
The other two retraps were returning Caister birds being ringed  12/11/11 and 28/01/12 respectively. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Winterton farewell

It's that time of year again to bid farewell to Winterton for another year. 
We had one last go on Saturday 3rd November, the day started with a sharp frost and no wind early on, then warming up slightly and an ever increasing Westerly.
Meadow Pipits were conspicuous by there absence, Thrushes and Finches were thin on the ground.
It was good to catch a few of our logo birds, just to keep those fingers nimble in the cold!

1st. Winter (3) Wren, our favourite !!!!

And an adult (4), stunning !

39 new birds and 5 retraps were processed, with Treecreeper, Jay and Redwing among them.

Wren 3
Robin 5
Blackbird 4
Song Thrush 2
Goldcrest 7 (1)
Long-tailed Tit 8 (1)
Blue Tit 5 (1) originally ringed 22/10/11
Great Tit 1 (2) one from 17/10/10 and the other 01/10/11
Plus one each of Redwing, Chiffchaff, Treecreeper and Jay.

1st Winter (3) Redwing

The second invader caught, this time a 1st. Winter (3)

Not much was going overhead apart from a flock of 10 + Brambling and Tony had a Swallow briefly.
Time now to concentrate on Snow Bunting and the cover crop, hopefully may get a Teal catch as well.

PS The Great Tit control mentioned in the previous post was ringed at Burgh Castle this year as a 3, thanks to Paul Noakes for the info.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Everything turns Rosie!

With the appalling weather forecast for Saturday and various members out of action, Winterton was postponed until Sunday. A look at the weather late Saturday afternoon didn't fill us with optimism so we decided to call it off. Yet again we made the wrong decision or so I thought, as Sunday (28th Oct) dawned with a cold but light NW.
I decided to put a couple of nets up in the garden at Ormesby as there were at least 25 Blackbirds coming in to the downfall apples.
On the first net visit a Blackbird and a Finch were in the net and duly extracted. When approaching the Finch it looked streaky and I thought to myself  'that it was a bit late for a juvenile Greenfinch', on inspection there was no green or yellow colours on the bird. Several species then ran through my head but I dismissed them all, it was either something good or some sought of hybrid.  It suddenly dawned on me that the only thing that fitted was a Common Rosefinch.
 Dave was called and I said the immortal words  'I've caught a bird and I am not totally sure of what it is, ' with this Dave was in his car and on the way round.  Several books later and with Dave seeing the bird, it was definitely a Common Rosefinch!  The first I had seen in the Autumn and in this Plumage, a few minutes later with Mel doing the Telephone calls Tony, Tina, Gary and John arrived to see the bird.

It was aged as a 1st Winter (3) and had a wing of 85mm and weighing 22.8g.  It flew off strongly when released and unfortunately has not been seen since.

Other birds caught were 9 Blackbird, 3 Goldfinch, Greenfinch, 2 Chaffinch, House Sparrow and surprisingly  a control Great Tit Y030700. 

Later on in the afternoon 2 Barn Owl sites were checked after tip offs from their owners to say something was going on in the nest boxes, both contained  a chick and both are second broods, these being successful earlier in the year.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The calm before the storm.

We arrived at Winterton on Saturday 20th Oct early morning to a dull,calm but pleasant day.There were a few Thrushes about early on but nothing compared to what happened later in the week when a major fall occurred on the East coast. Unfortunately for us 'workers' we can only go on a weekend, but a little further North from us Mick at Eccles and UEA ringing group at Waxham had excellent catches during the week.

It was another good catch of 45 birds with our best day tally of Meadow Pipits and the first Redwing of the Winter.

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit 14
Robin 6 (1) an adult male ringed on 10/04/11
Blackbird 8
Song Thrush 2
Goldcrest 3
Blue Tit 1 (1)
Great Tit 2
Lesser Redpoll 2
Reed Bunting 2
One each of Wren, Redwing and Blackcap.

Song Thrush, continental type looking very Grey.

The bird of the day however was a very confiding Woodlark that was found feeding near to the net rides, it was present for over an hour giving exceptional views and was often heard doing a sub song while feeding.


There still seems to be a few Jays about in the woods, also a newly arrived Short eared Owl was hunting the dunes and the first Woodcock of the Winter was flushed.
Cranes were still very audible nearby and a Brambling flew over.

On Sunday an adult female Brambling was trapped and ringed in my Ormesby garden.

Female Brambling (Not my nail varnish I hasten to add !)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

One bird doesn't make an invasion.

As the weekend was upon us once more we were again at Winterton, Saturday dawned dry and dull but still with the persistent Westerly.
There were a few Thrushes about early on and the odd Jay calling in the woods, later on when doing a net round 12 Jays were seen coming in off the sea. There have been a lot of Jays arriving all along the East Anglian coast recently due to the failure of the acorn crop in Scandinavia  today was going to be the day! Sadly we only caught one, a first for the year, so not exactly an invasion, yet!

One of the invaders.

It seemed quiet again, apart from the Jays, but we had a respectable total of 102 birds with 92 being new to ring, Goldcrest being the most handled again, you can never get tired of these tiny waifs.

15/10/12 Winterton (retraps in brackets)

Meadow Pipit 8
Wren 12 (2)  one originally ringed 06/09/09 as a bird of that year.
Dunnock 2 (3) one from 12/09/09
Robin 4
Blackbird 5
Song Thrush 2
Blackcap 7
Chiffchaff 3
Goldcrest 16 (1)
Long-tailed Tit 8 (3) 2 from October 2011
Blue Tit 12
Great Tit 4 (1)
Lesser Redpoll 2
Reed Bunting 3
One each of Coal Tit, Jay,Chaffinch and Siskin.

3M Blackbird

Other birds seen were a flock of 14 Siskin and 5+ Redpoll, a Crossbill was heard flying over.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

More Westerlies

We met again at Winterton Saturday morning (6th Oct) the usual nets were erected, the winds were light but unfortunately still in the wrong quarter being Westerly. When we arrived it was raining, but Dave ever optimistic said it would stop by 7am, with which it duly did!
We didn't expect much, but surprisingly caught 48 new birds and a control.

3M Blackcap

Meadow Pipit ; 4
Wren ; 4
Dunnock ; 3
Robin ; 2
Blackcap ; 8, some of these were carrying high fat deposits, therefore they may have been here a while and now getting ready too move.
Chiffchaff ; 5 + 1 control, EPE425 Anyone?
Goldcrest ; 16
One each of Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Chaffinch
Reed Bunting ; 2

3M Reed Bunting

There was no visible migration going on, and the only noteworthy sighting was 4 Cranes flying over calling loudly.

Small Copper

When the sun came out so did the insects, with at least 2 Small Coppers, 2 Comma and  25 Common Darters.

Comma and Flies feeding on Blackberries.  

Thursday, 4 October 2012

We are back!

After a few months off from blogging we are back at last!
It's been a roller coaster ride in the last few months since the last update, so many excuses we don't want to bore you to tears.
We did manage to carry on ringing with some successes, notably 353 Little Tern pulli ringed at Winterton over 3 Saturday's in July, with a massive help from the RSPB warden and his volunteers.
Also Barn Owl boxes were checked with varying success, about 50 Barn Owl pulli were ringed and several Jackdaw and Stock Dove.
The House Martin RAS started off well but with busy work loads and holidays getting in the way of the latter part of the season numbers dwindled, then when we could go the birds had upped sticks and gone! About 100 adults had been ringed up until then.
Most of September was taken up doing a Swallow roost at Martham, the roost varied from day to day and at it's peak contained at least 600 birds (see totals below).

3M Kingfisher

Martham roost ringing totals;
Greylag Goose 1
Kingfisher 4
Sand Martin 35
Swallow 686 , plus 7 controls.
Dunnock 1
Cettis Warbler 1
Sedge Warbler 4
Reed Warbler 22
Greenfinch 1
Reed Bunting 5

3 sessions at Winterton this Autumn have produced a few birds, the latest outing on 29th September saw 52 new birds being ringed with the first Lesser Redpolls and Meadow Pipits of the year being caught.

1st Winter (3) Lesser Redpoll

Winterton ringing total 29/09/12
Meadow pipit 6
Wren 5 +1 retrap
Reed Warbler 1
Blackcap 6
Chiffchaff 5
Goldcrest 20
Blue tit 4
Lesser Redpoll 5

3M Goldcrest

That's pretty much it for now,  hopefully we can catch some more birds and keep the blog updated, until next time ......

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Go Wild Barton Broad, Sunday May 13th.

The team and stand at Barton Demo.

For once the weather was on our side, the last couple of years have been hopeless for us at this event due to strong winds and scorching temperatures.
This year it was a bit of a lie in as the event didn't open until 11am, we arrived at 9 to sort out the stand and erect the nets, the usual ones were employed. We had already been over and cut the rides and put some feeders up, to try and build the numbers up. Dave went over again on Friday just to top the feeders up , unfortunately some had already been attacked by the local Grey Squirrels !
Also on the morning of the event we had checked a box and found it had 2 chicks inside, this was to become our star attraction.....

Dave in full flow

We had a steady flow of birds with a good cross section of species through the day which was ideal for a demo such as this.Everyone mucked in with Dave, Mel and I staying at the base with Gary and Tony doing most of the net rounds.

Tony and Gary getting in on the act.

A respectable 39 birds were processed with 36 new and 3 retraps. All the retraps were from the demo last year on 22/05/2011.
Wren 3
Robin 1 (1)
Blackbird 1
Grasshopper warbler 1  this proved a popular bird.
Sedge Warbler 4 (1)
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 1
Long-tailed Tit 2
Marsh Tit (1)
Blue Tit 6
Great Tit 9
House Sparrow 1
Chaffinch 3
Reed Bunting 1
Tawny Owl 2 pulli.

As mentioned earlier the 2 stars of the show were 2 Tawny Owl chicks from a nearby box.These were very popular with the visitors, with about 50+ people around the stand at this point !!! One of the Owlets even received a name, Ruby, because of its red eye lids.

Kev and one of the stars.

The stars of the show.

Thanks must go to Mel for all her hard work on the day and for sorting out the photos and stand. Also for inventing another quiz for the children , this time a young and adult bird matching quiz. 
A 20' net was erected near to base and Gary's bird finger puppets were again used to show how the birds get caught in the net, this also went down very well.

Several Speckled Wood  Butterflies were seen during the day as well as single Brimstone and male Orange Tip.
 A female Marsh Harrier was seen over the reed bed and a Water Rail was heard early on.