Sunday, 2 October 2016

Here comes the business end of autumn

Well, so far its been a fairly underwhelming autumn here at the Nab. That is not to say it hasn't been without its interest, just that with a marked lack of easterly winds thus far, with the exception of an arrival of Yellow-browed Warblers, there have been no significant arrivals of passerines, and with a couple of notable exceptions, much of the seawatching has been hard work.

This morning was one of the exceptions to the seawatching rule, with a very pleasant few hours yielding a cracking juvenile Sabine's Gull feeding with Kittiwakes as it moved N, a juvenile Long-tailed Skua, close to 50 Sooty Shearwaters and a selection of more standard fare.

Sunrise at Long Nab on 2nd October

I was unavailable for the deluge of Sooty Shearwaters on 17th September but the day before a memorable wildlfowl movement included an excellent variety of dabbling ducks including excellent totals of Wigeon (578), Teal (630) and Pintail (30) all of which neared but did not quite break record-day totals for the site. 

We have managed a few ringing sessions and whilst we have not exactly been overwhelmed with birds we have added a few species to the site's ringing list. Stonechat, Skylark (somewhat strangely caught in a net ride through some trees and bushes) and rather less interestingly, Wood Pigeon have all been ringed in recent weeks. The number of Wrens has exceeded the previous best totals here suggesting a continued increase in the local population (not to mention increased swearing by ringers trying to extract them from the nets!). Dunnock and Chiffchaff have also been caught in good numbers which have been suggestive of a good breeding season. 





Significant numbers of Meadow Pipits have been logged moving south (a record autumn total for us) and we have caught a few of these, although ringing sessions have not coincided with the largest day totals. However, despite their abundance it is always a great pleasure to handle these attractive birds. Boring little brown jobs they certainly are not!

Meadow Pipit

We don't get too many Treecreepers at Long Nab, so it is always a pleasant surprise when one finds the nets in the ringing plantation. The individual pictured below was found on 1st October.

A Yellow-browed Warbler caught on 21st September was the 5th to be ringed here; a total that exceeds that of so-called commoner migrants such as Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat!

Yellow-browed Warbler
With the forecast suggesting a week of easterly winds ahead of us, no doubt there will be more of these delightful Asian sprites and hopefully there will be something even more exciting that will require me to return to this blog before too much longer!

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