6th – 9th September – various ringing and birding trips.   Leave a comment

On the 6th, 7th and 8th of September I went ringing at Durlston. The weather had been still and clear for nearly a week and migrants must have taken the opportunity to leave for southern climes as numbers declined markedly as the week went on.

The 6th saw a large movement of hirundines and we were able to trap over 50, (mainly Swallows, but with a few Sand and House Martins as well). The 7th saw a scattering of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, plus single Reed and Sedge Warblers. Now by early September Willow Warblers are being replaced by Chiffchaffs and Whitethroats by Blackcaps. On the 8th we had a similar number of migrants which included two Redstarts, two Goldcrests and a Grasshopper Warbler.

On the 8th several of the group decided to ring at Lytchett Bay as well, they had fewer migrants than we did at Durlston, but did catch three control Sedge Warblers, i.e. birds that have been ringed elsewhere; we look forwards to hearing where they were ringed.


These graphs of Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff and Whitethroat/Blackcap ringing dates in 2011 were prepared by Shaun Robson. Note that the small number of Chiffchaff and Blackcaps in August would relate to local breeders. It is clear that mid September onwards represents the main Chiffchaff migration. In 2012 Blackcap migration has started about a week later than in 2011. I had to photograph the graph on the laptop screen to blog it, hence the poor quality image.



As adult Grasshopper Warblers have a complete moult on their wintering grounds, the wings and tail are very abraded by autumn. First year birds will show fresh flight feathers.

Mick tries flicking for Swallows, raising the net just as the birds leave after drinking at the pond, we caught far more seed heads than birds and returned to using a static, tethered net.

Adult Swallows can be told from 1st years by the rufous chin, glossier plumage and much longer tail feathers.

Adult and young Swallows have a complete moult in Africa. This adult however, has moulted its secondaries and greater coverts recently as can be seen by the contrast in the wing.

House Martins, like Swifts, maintain an ariel lifestyle away from the breeding grounds and hence have a much lower recovery rate than Swallows or Sand Martins.

On the afternoon of the 8th, Margaret and I headed to Lodmoor so she could see the Short-billed Dowitcher (see previous post). Unfortunately the bird flew into an inaccessible area of the marsh ten minutes before we arrived. We were able to watch Mediterranean Gulls, Sandwich Terns and Sanderling whilst waiting so it wasn’t a totally wasted trip.

Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls and Sandwich Terns at Lodmoor.

A Mediterranean Gull in adult winter plumage.

For those who were unsatisfied with their views of the mega rare Short-billed Dowitcher, Trevor Warwick has kindly provided a picture of another Mega.

Nice one Trevor!

Sunday 9th was the date for the first WEBS count of the autumn. The WEtland Bird Survey, is a monthly coordinated count all over the country. My section is Holes Bay and I try to count all the birds on the eastern side. Most wintering wildfowl and waders have yet to arrive, and it was a neap tide with little mud showing. Even so I counted over 340 Black-tailed Godwits and saw a small numbers of wintering Wigeon.

A large part of the western shore of Holes Bay is taken up by Cobb’s Quay.

Along with Wareham Channel and Poole Park, Holes Bay is one of the main areas for Mute Swans in Poole Harbour.

Posted September 11, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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