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Many thanks to members for following the previous request to not access the bird observatory compound during the first phase of lockdown. To update arrangements members requiring access are asked to read the new Risk Assessment compiled to facilitate site access which includes -  

·      Follow government advice, rules & regulations as posted & updated on Relevant points are:
·      Maintain social distancing (individuals to keep a minimum of two metres apart)
·      Maintain a high-level of hygiene through handwashing
·      Only meet one person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines.
·      Do not gather in a group of more than two.

The full Risk Assessment will be available on accessing the site or is available in advance of any proposed visit from

Many locals are taking their constitutional on the nature reserve & if that includes you please give us a wave and e-mail any of your sightings to Measures are taken to help prevent the unintentional transmission of Covid-19 in line with government recommendations. Please stay well and as and when government changes restrictions then “normal” service will be resumed.

Monday 25th May 2020

Warmer weather so more insects out. Several Broad-bodied Chasers have been on the Butts pond recently so presumably a female did the business there last year. Large Red Damselflies are out in reasonable numbers also.

Birdwise there were a few migrants moving through the Recording area. A Spotted Flycatcher was in the Holm Oaks, a Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler and a Garden Warbler were moving through the bushes. The first of the years Great Tit pulli were out of the nest and moving through the Poplars. A pair of Swallows were hanging round one of the Gun Emplacements and 16 Swifts headed south.

Movement on the sea was limited, a Fulmar headed out of the river and then continuing north.

We haven't seen Clouded-bordered Brindle here for six years so when two examples of the form, f. combusta turned up it caused a bit of head scratching as the ones noted in the past have been of the more normal pale variety.

Ringing: 2 Great Tit, 2 Linnet, 2 Wheatear, 1 Blackbird, 1 House Sparrow, 1 Robin, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wood Pigeon

Sunday 24th May 2020

Blustery morning with on site migrants including 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler, Spot Fly, Wheatear & Willow warbler with southbound 45 Swallow, 19 Swift, 17 Goldfinch, 8 House Martin, 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Chaffinch & Sand Martin plus offshore heading south 11 Med Gull, 8 Common Gull, 3 Oyk, 2 Avocet & another Pochard which is notable. A Kittiwake went north offshore. A juvenile Skylark on the reserve will have dispersed here from elsewhere.

First Yellow Shell of the season freshly emerged on the reserve.

Ringing: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Linnet, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Willow Warbler.

Saturday 23rd May 2020

Good crop of Henbane on the Butts this year.

Windy morning made birding difficult. Migrants include 3 Spot Fly, 2 Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler & Yellow Wagtail. On the move southbound 83 Swallow, 28 Goldfinch, 25 Swift, 16 House Martin, 2 Jackdaw & Grey Wagtail plus 91 Brents coming out of the river & heading northwards.

Monopis crocicapitella can be very common here and, despite what the literature says, is not difficult to tell apart from it's close relatives. On the other hand if one gets one of this group that is a bit of an "inbetweener" and is causing grief it could always accidentally escape to save guessing its identity.

Ringing: 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blackcap, 1 Spot Fly, 1 Willow Warbler.

Friday 22 May 2020

A breezy overcast start with a light shower before first light and the wind steadily moving round from the south east to south west through the course of the morning.

There were a few more birds around than yesterday with a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff in the bushes, a Song Thrush and Blackbird were also ringed and were probably the result of failed breeding attempts elsewhere. Vis-mig was good with the cloud cover causing the hirundines and swifts to pass lower. A total of 49 Swallows, 7 House Martins and 15 Swifts were noted up until mid-day.

The highlight of the morning for one observer was a Stone Curlew on the beach but subsequent searches failed to re-find it, a Lapwing was also on the beach and the three Wheatears were also still loitering by the Tank Blocks.

On the Sea, 200 Brent headed north and a Fulmar headed South.

Puss Moth used to be more regular but this is only our third in the past ten years so certainly livened up this mornings catch.

Ringing: 1 Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Willow Warbler

Thursday 21st May 2020

A slight south easterly breeze again this morning leading to the hope of something good but instead its been a rather quiet morning.

A Chiffchaff and Lesser Whitethroat were the only migrants in the bushes this morning, with many of the local summer breeders having paired off and gone largely silent. Vis-mig included a scattering of Goldfinches, 2 Swallows, 2 Barnacle Geese and a Yellow Wagtail.

There were still 3 Wheatears by the Tanks Blocks and 2 Sandwich Terns passed offshore.

The moth traps were a little better. The Chinese Character is a common moth but one of the better looking 'Bird Poo' mimics.

Ringing: 1 Lesser Whitethroat

Wednesday 20th May 2020

Glorious warm sunny morning. Migrants included 4 Wheatear & Chiffchaff with southbound 26 Goldfinch, 9 Swallow, Siskin & Yellow Wag. 6 Barnacle Geese went north & 2 Pochard flew into the river. Pochard has become almost a rarity here in recent times with, for example, only two records in 2019 and none at all in 2018.

When you have finished with identifying all the larger pretty moths then get started on the Gelichiidae. Bryotropha terrella is very common here and our list of some of the others in this group is quite reasonable although this particular species has several colour forms so correct identification of this group is not for the faint hearted and even those who think they know what they are doing make mistakes.

Ringing: 2 Wheatear, 1 Chiffchaff.