Friday 24th November 2017

49 new birds ringed today including: 16 Chiffchaff, 3 Firecrest, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Reed Bunting, 5 Blackbird, 1 Sparrowhawk (1st year male), 4 Blue Tit, 10 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Robin and 1 Chaffinch. Not much else to report but at least 5 Water Rail around the ringing area and 30 Redwing out of a roost in the upper Ley first thing.

Merlin mist nets

As I said in my last post, I have recently purchased some mist nets from Merlin Ringing Supplies. These are a lower-cost alternative to those available from other suppliers in the UK and, although I was primarily attracted by the price, I have used them regularly elsewhere without any issues and know them to be of reasonable quality. Rather than clog up these pages, I have prepared a more detailed Merlin Mist Net Review which might be of help to other ringers.

Monday 13th November 2017

Frost 13 November

Another clear night with light winds and a heavy frost gave migrants little reason to drop into South Milton but at least the sight of Jupiter and Venus side by side on the eastern horizon brightened up my journey to the reserve. I have been gradually increasing the number of nets in use as the bird population is quite low at the moment and the bulk of the wintering Chiffchaffs have yet to arrive. This was the first outing for two new 18m nets, purchased from Merlin Ringing Supplies. More about them later.

36 new birds were ringed including 6 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, 2 Cetti’s Warblers (both females), 12 Chiffchaff, including the first Siberian Chiff of the winter and 1 Redwing. A Blue Tit with a UK ring was controlled. I’m sure it won’t have come far but it’s the first one I have trapped at SML with a ring I didn’t recognise.

Siberian Chiffchaff 13-11-2017

Siberian Chiffchaff – South Milton Ley – 13th November 2017 (photographed in shade)

Siberian Chiffchaff 13-11-2017 2

The same bird (photographed in sunlight)

Thursday 2nd November 2017

A calm evening with only partial cloud cover saw to it that there was little reason for migrants to drop into South Milton overnight and, after the first frost of the autumn had thawed, net rounds were slow and steady today. The first two birds trapped were Firecrests and these turned out to be the highlight.

49 new birds were ringed including 4 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Firecrest, 7 Goldcrest, 19 Chiffchaff, 2 Bullfinch and 1 Reed Bunting. Retraps included two Chiffchaffs, both returning for their second winter in the reserve, a female Cetti’s warbler and a Chiffchaff control with a UK ring.