Tuesday 19th November 2019 – Firecrest day

Finally, a day with half-decent weather and no other commitments saw me making an early journey to South Milton. Although a little windier than I would have liked (F4/5 SE), an easterly element had proved quite productive in the past so I was optimistic.

The reserve is very wet with water levels in the upper reaches as high as I can remember. The bridge across to Marsh Ride required further remedial work as the wire mesh had collected a load of vegetation being swept down the ditch and the whole lot had been moved a few metres downstream. I even found a Grey Wagtail nest box, which had been attached to the bridge on the public footpath, 200m upstream, beached in Marsh Ride so it looks as though water levels must have reached the base of the bridge some 2 metres above normal!

The ringing was steady throughout the day with 67 birds processed: 6 Blackbird, 11 Blue Tit, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 21 Chiffchaff, 1 Dunnock, 9 Firecrest, 12 Goldcrest, 1 Great Tit, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Robin and 2 Wren. The Firecrest total is a new day record, beating the previous figure of 6 during a big influx in October 2017 and three of the Chiffchaffs were returning wintering birds, one of which was back for its third successive year.

22nd October and 6th November 2019

South Milton Stream – full to the brim!

I’ve had to snatch whatever opportunities the weather has presented recently, looking for gaps in a seemingly endless succession of days which have been either too wet or too windy. On both dates above the nets had to be closed regularly as showers rattled through, which limited the number of birds caught. Water levels in the Ley are very high at the moment and South Milton Stream has risen until it is level with the bridge to marsh ride. It was quite disconcerting, knowing that the ditch is now over 2m deep as the boards actually dipped underwater when I walked across them.

Over the two days 86 birds were processed: 2 Blackbird, 12 Blue Tit, 1 Bullfinch, 6 Cetti’s Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, 3 Firecrest, 11 Goldcrest, 4 Great Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 Long-tailed Tit, 5 Meadow Pipit, 5 Reed Bunting, 3 Robin and 7 Wren.