November 2023

A quieter month for ringing activities following on from the busy month of October and Migweek.

The team ran 12 sessions, mostly garden sites and South Landing.

A total of 117 birds were caught of 20 species, with 102 of these newly ringed and 15 retraps.

The stand out highlight of the month being a surprise Red-flanked Bluetail which turned up in a woodland net on the 7th, a lovely surprise on the first net round.

This represented Flamborough’s only record in 2023 of this long distance migrant.

Red-flanked Bluetail breed in taiga, usually in upland terrain in undisturbed spruce and birch forests, there has been some westward expansion of their breeding range with some now breeding in north and east Finland. They winter in SE Asia.h November

The bird was aged as a juvenile (born this year) and most likely a female given the dull plumage and limited amount of blue in its plumage.

An eastern-type Lesser Whitethroat was caught in a village garden.

A few late Blackcaps remained with 11 being caught through the month.

A single Grey Wagtail was another garden highlight.

January – March 2024

A very quiet period, mostly due to the weather as our ringers are constrained by the strength of the wind and frequent rain, with there being very few days suitable for ringing activities.

A total of 12 sessions were held over 3 sites, our main site at South landing and 2 local gardens.

A total of 173 birds were caught, of these 107 were newly ringed with 66 retraps.

The most numerous birds being Blackbirds and Starlings, a single Treecreeper was caught also.

In March 3 Chiffchaff were caught alongside 2 Reed Bunting.

In 2023 only a single Reed Bunting was caught at Flamborough so the 4 caught so far this year is an improvement and shows the benefit our feeding station is having for local farmland birds such as Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer.

April 2024

April still saw us held back by plenty of wind and showers, however the ringing team still managed to complete 11 sessions at 3 different sites.

We held our session to prepare our Constant effort Site (CES), which entailed checking all our rides and path and ensuring our equipment was all present and in good order. We had a brief ringing session at the same time so we could check our nets were ok for the season. We caught a few returning warblers – 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap and 1 Willow Warbler.

Over the month we caught 116 birds of which 89 were new and 27 retraps.

There was definitely a finch theme with the following being ringed:

20 Goldfinch

16 Siskin

16 Greenfinch

5 Chaffinch

1 Brambling

April also saw the start of our warblers arriving with 11 Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers being ringed.

May 2024

May saw our ringing team complete 12 sessions (including Bempton village), of which 3 were at our Constant Effort Site at Thornwick.

198 birds were caught of 21 species, with 106 of these being new and 92 retraps.

CES no 1

A perfect weather day, virtually no wind and some lovely spring sunshine with birds singing all around us.

We caught 43 birds of 15 different species, of these 27 were new and 16 retraps.

Birds caught included Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff, also Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Greenfinch and Bullfinch.

CES no 2

Again another ideal weather day, although a little bit too sunny!

A quieter session with 37 birds of 9 species caught, of which 11 were new and 26 retraps.

On checking data it was heartening to have re caught a male Whitethroat which we originally ringed in 2021 as an age code 4 (hatched before the current calendar year) making him at least 4 years old, and he was caught in exactly the same net lane as the first time. Incredible to think this small warbler has already made 4 round trips to Africa and back!

Our last net round of the day as we were packing up proved to be the winner with a beautiful Spotted Flycatcher turning up in the net – the first one to be ringed at Flamborough in spring for many years.

Another summer visitor they pass through Flamborough on migration in spring and Autumn, wintering again in Africa sometimes as far south as Namibia, around 7000km from their breeding grounds.

They are declining as a breeding species and have been on the UK red list since 1996.

Spotted Flycatcher are unusual in that they moult in a reversed order to all other European passerines, moulting their primaries and tail feathers ascendantly and the secondaries descendently. We could not age our bird as Spotted Flycatchers complete a full moult of their feathers in their wintering grounds, and as male and females have the same plumage and size we could not sex it either as there was no brood patch/cloacal protuberance.

CES no 3

Not so ideal weather wise as there was a moderate breeze, however we still managed 21 birds of 11 species. 11 of these were newly ringed alongside 10 retraps.

Birds of note included 3 newly fledged Song Thrush, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Greenfinch.