30/08/2020

It was a slow start to our ringing session at South Landing, Flamborough. We put up 7 nets and only had a trickle of birds coming through during the morning. It was looking like it would be a slow and an uneventful session. As we sat outside to have some breakfast we heard a dog barking close to the nets. I decided to go and check it out in case anyone had wondered near our net lanes and to ensure any birds caught were safe. As I approached one of the mist nets, it suddenly dawned on me that something very unusual had been caught. I was extremely excited to see a wryneck (Jynx torquilla), which are small brown cryptic birds related to woodpeckers. 

Wryneck
Wryneck distinctively moving its head.

These birds get their name from their ability to turn their heads almost 180 degrees. When disturbed, they use this snake-like head twisting to warn off predators. A wryneck has not been ringed in Flamborough since 1991 (28 years ago) and this was the 6th ever record ringed for the Observatory so a fantastic record. 

20/09/2020

An overcast and initially breezy day at South Landing which got off to a slow start with only a handful of birds in the first net round. A spell of showers forced the nets to be closed for a time. As the weather improved, flocks of swallows were flying around the site. Using a swallow tape lure caught us 2 swallows and interestingly 5 goldfinch. The next round saw another 13 goldfinches seemingly attracted by the swallow song being played. Another swallow and a further 6 goldfinches were caught, along with 3 chaffinch (an uncommon bird in our nets).

SpeciesRingedRetrapped
Goldfinch25
Wren 24
Goldcrest 1
Long tailed tit2
Blackcap2
Blue tit 11
Robin 2
Treecreeper1
Chiffchaff3
Swallow3
Chaffinch3
Tree sparrow11
Blackbird1
Great tit1
Bullfinch1

04/10/20

Looking at the weather forecast the night before, we weren’t sure whether it would be worth ringing in the morning. It was forecast to be a little gusty with occasional showers, but we decided to give it a go… you never know. We arrived at 6am and put up 7 nets at South Landing. After doing an initial net round, we knew we had made the right call and it was going to be a good day. Interestingly there was a large movement of robins with a total of 41 being caught throughout the morning. Other highlights were 5 yellow browed warblers and a lovely redstart. We also had a bonus bird at the end which was an adult siskin which we don’t often catch. We ended the session on 116 birds (96 new and 20 retraps). The lesson of the morning being sometimes the weather forecast is wrong! 

15/10/20

Another day of north easterlies forecast and I was optimistic about the session ahead. The quagmire-like conditions created by the resident cattle at Holmes Gut made setting up a little bit more demanding, but our first round delivered a good number of birds; mainly consisting of early morning thrushes which were pretty abundant around the site. The morning continued steadily as a slight rain-front threatened to halt our progress. The rain came and went after about fifteen minutes, and I wondered if this could have brought in something interesting when Jim mentioned that it may have done so. There I was becoming excited over the possibility of a fieldfare, or even better, ring ouzel, when it was revealed as something (in my opinion) that is almost impossible to top; a stunning Woodcock! An absolute cryptic beauty, my first time seeing one in the hand, and another memorable Migweek moment!