Friday, December 31, 2010

Buckton 2010

2010 was by far our best ever year at Buckton, in terms of rarity, scarcity and sheer volume of birds. The early winter saw a prolonged cold spell that delivered the largest flock of Corn Buntings in Yorkshire for many a year, with over 175 together in a mixed passerine flock totalling over a thousand birds including 35 Lapland and Snow Buntings, all attracted to specially managed farmland. The spring was quite slow but produced a stunning singing Wood Warbler on a day of a big Willow Warbler fall and later in May two fly over site ticks on the same morning, a Crane and a Black Tern (the Crane being the first of two records during the year). The summer highlight was undoubtedly breeding Barn Owls for the first ever time, taking advantage of recently provided nestboxes, birds were seen on almost all visits after May and made a welcome addition to the resident bird life. On the same front, Tree Sparrows went from strength to strength with over 140 birds ringed. The autumn was a non stop roller-coaster of birds, which at times delighted. Falls were seemingly weekly in occurrence from late August, with September being just wonderful! August produced Willow Warblers and the second ever Willow Tit. The rarity of the year in early September was the UK's 4th ever Brown Flycatcher, a stellar bird for Buckton and one that may never be bettered, well done Dave! Other goodies followed thick and fast, Barred Warbler, Wryneck, Dotterel, Great Grey Shrike and good numbers of Tree Pipits, Redstarts, Willow Warblers and chats. Then later in the month Robins arrived in scores with 149 ringed. A Little Bunting picked from the net was the rarest bird ringed during the year, late in September (not the best, that went to the Wryneck!). The autumn then turned in favour of invaders with Lapland Buntings reaching a peak of 130 individuals and two fly over Rough-legged Buzzards, other new birds at this time included four records of Richard's Pipit with two together on one date. New birds for the site ringing list included Coal Tit, Tree Pipit, Barn Owl and Wryneck. The nets were open throughout the EYRG 'ringing week' in mid October and resulted in two big days with 309 new birds on one of these. The last fall saw a Siberian Chiffchaff and a probable halimodendri Lesser Whitethroat ringed. Overall the year saw the highest ever number of new birds caught and ringed with 1650 individuals. The year produced four foreign controls, Goldcrest, Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff from Norway and a Robin from Sweden. The undoubted birding highlight was simply connecting with falls, the sheer adrenaline of prediction, travelling effort and then droves of birds arriving like magic on the cliff top fences and scrub, particularly on September 7th. Big thanks to the landowners, the Makins, the Leesons (happy retirement) and welcome to the Houghtons. Next year sees the milestone of ten years of ringing at Buckton and I see a report coming on. Finally thanks for visiting the blog and I hope 2011 brings you success, health and birds.

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