Migweek 2023

October sees a return of FBO’s Ringing & Migration week celebrating autumn migration along the east coast. Our ringing team aim to a public demonstration every day throughout the 9 day event at our South Landing site. Where we have enough ringers we also try and run session at other sites across the headland, we hope for favourable winds to bring us a fall of thrushes and maybe something rarer from further east.

The run up to migweek sees us all watching the weather forecasts avidly for a hint of good winds from the east. This years forecasted easterlies looked less than ideal for ringing given the 50 miles an hour combined with rain! Remarkably our teams triumphed operating demos on 8 of the 9 days.

A total of 936 new birds of 29 species were ringed with 123 retraps across the headland (including RSPB Bempton).

A massive thank you to the entire team, the visiting ringers, everyone who made us tea, cakes and  generally kept us going and of course to all the lovely visitors who attended the demos throughout the event.

Saturday 14th Oct

Our first demo at South Landing saw a steady start with few migrants but plenty of interested members of the public.

A flock of 11 Long-tailed tits caught and released together delighted the crowd, as did 13 Tree Sparrows given some of our visitors had travelled from counties now bereft of this wonderful farmland bird. We are lucky to have a healthy population across the headland which is supported by various conservation and monitoring projects.

Sunday 15th Oct

Sunday saw an increase in Goldcrest with 11 caught, always a special bird to show at demonstrations given they amazing migration over 350 miles of North sea.

2 Treecreepers delighted the crowd with their cryptic plumage. A single Redwing was also caught.

Mon 16th Oct

An increase in migrants provided some interesting birds for the demonstration with 11 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Blackbird, 3 Redwing and 2 Song Thrush.

Tues 17th Oct

Tuesdays demo was extra special as we hosted Paul Murphy from BBC’s Look North, he came to film us and talk to FBO volunteers about Migweek and the wonder of bird migration along the east coast of Yorkshire.

Alongside this Tony Hood, FBO’s secretary was running a special ‘migration class’ for the YWT’s home education programme which saw the assembled children learning about bird migration, attempting to ‘catch’ toy birds in a 10ft mist net and attending our demonstration to see migrating birds up close.

Goldcrest, Redwing and Tree Sparrow provided interest to the crowds but the star of the show was a delightful and somewhat unexpected Yellow-browed Warbler, which was enjoyed by over 60 assembled spectators.

Our Thornwick site ran for the first time in migweek with 67 birds caught.

Wed 18th Oct

Higher winds reduced our opportunities for ringing, but our sheltered nets still gave us the chance to run our demo and our Thornwick site. We saw an arrival of Brambling with one shown at South Landing and another 5 caught at Thornwick. We again had the chance to talk about Goldcrest and their amazing migration with 18 caught at our demo, the crowd were also amused by a feisty Great-spotted Woodpecker.

The Thornwick team had a few more migrants with 5 Brambling, 7 Goldcrest, 3 Blackcap, 3 Song Thrush and a Chiffchaff.

Thurs 19th Oct

A sky full of thrushes greeted us at dawn, at last an arrival of migrants! Our 5 hour ringing session at South Landing was all migrants bar a single Wren! With 21 Redwing, 12 Song Thrush and 11 Blackbird, our first Blackcaps of the week at the demo and 3 more beautiful Brambling there was plenty for us to show our visitors. The Thornwick team excelled with a brilliant 80 birds caught, but the stars of today were the team at RSPB Bempton with an epic 11 hour session yielding 198 birds including a Danish ringed Goldcrest and an amazing 66 Blackbirds! Hats off to them!!

Fri 20th Oct

The arrival of storm Babet saw all ringing and outdoor migweek events cancelled.

Sat 21st Oct

More thrushes appeared, perhaps new in or ones that had arrived on Thursday and sat out the storm.

Our demonstration was shortened by persistent showers, however we still caught 57 new birds including 25 Blackbird, 12 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare and 7 Robins.

Sun 22nd Oct

Our last demo of Migweek saw a limited crowd – possibly connected to the arrival and identification of a juvenile Red-headed bunting on the headland, a species yet to be accepted in the UK but currently under BOURC assessment after acceptance of one record by the BBRC.

Our demo was curtailed slightly early due to FBO volunteers being needed to direct people to the Bunting along with marshalling the twitch.

We still had time to catch 42 new birds including 23 Lesser Redpoll, 10 Blackbirds and a stunning Woodcock. We are always feel privileged when we catch one of these beautiful and secretive birds.