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Friday, 23 June 2017

Friday 23rd June 2017

Lady's Bedstraw has bloomed over the last few days giving a yellow carpet to Landguard, the herb earned its name bedstraw when it was traditionally used to stuff mattresses, believed that the scent would keep fleas away.
Very little passage noted this morning with 1 Grey Heron going out East and 2 Swift going South. The Juvenile bird population continues to increase with new Dunnock, House Sparrow, Linnet and Whitethroat being seen, plus new dispersing juvenile birds not bred on Landguard with Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. The Starling Roost had increased to 150 individuals in the Holm Oaks last night.

Doing quite well for editions to the site list this year. Marbled White Spot is a spreading species that has taken its time getting here as it is described as "reasonably widespread and common" in Suffolk!

27 birds ringed: Linnet 11, Goldfinch 4, Greenfinch 3, Great Tit 2, House Sparrow 2, Whitethroat 2, Blue Tit 1, Chiffchaff 1, Dunnock 1

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Suffolk Armed Forces Weekend

This weekend a whole range of activities are taking place across Felixstowe including a re-enactment between the Dutch & English at Landguard Fort with cannon, muskets & swords. On the Sunday the car parks around the Fort will be closed. There is no access down View Point Road for a couple of hours around mid-day whilst the "battle" takes place. The gate into the Bird Observatory in the moat will be closed whilst the "battle" takes place. Any Bird Observatory members on site during the "battle" will have to remain on site until the event finishes. It is recommended that members stay away during the "battle" - unless you like to watch people in fancy dress making a lot of noise with gunpowder then please park off site and walk down over the nature reserve. For a full programme & timings of this event please visit  If any of our members wish to be in the Bird Observatory around mid-day on Sunday please drop me an e.mail at for more details.

Thursday 22nd June 2017

Probably the warmest night in many years followed by a hot morning but with the wind swinging south-west some thunder & lightening has just passed over us. Migrant birds consisted off southbound 34 Swift, 2 Curlew & a Sand Martin.

Moth traps currently time consuming having up to 2,000 individuals of up to 120 species a night at the moment. Nephopterix angustella is described as "very local" on Spindle so this one could be an immigrant.

11 birds ringed: 5 Whitethroat, 2 House Sparrow, 2 Linnet, 1 Robin, 1 Greenfinch.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wednesday 21st June 2017

There were no Spurge Hawk-moths in the traps this morning, but there was still plenty to see, including this fine specimen of a Cypress Carpet, a recent colonist to Britain, mainly along the south coast.
Bird-wise, it appeared very quiet early on, but approaching midday things livened up briefly, as first the Greenish Warbler reappeared behind the kitchen, soon to be followed by a Black Redstart. However, it was very short lived as they both quickly melted away into the greenery, not to be seen again, despite a lot of searching. The Muntjac is still here within the compound.

Ringed 10 birds today:  3 Whitethroat, 2 House Sparrow, 2 Collared Dove, 2 Ringed Plover and 1 Pied Wagtail.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Tuesday 20th June 2017

Muntjac don't turn up here very often and when they do they have been known to have got themselves jammed in the rifle fencing. Tight squeeze but this one just about managed to get through.
New birds seen on the reserve this morning have been juveniles of 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat and a slight increase of the Goldfinch flock from 8 to 12. Gathering offshore with the Herring Gulls were 11 Little Tern, 6 Med Gull, 5 Common Tern and 2 Common Gull. Passage noted this morning going South 20 Common Scoter and going North 45 Common Scoter, 5 Sandwich Tern and 2 Gannet. Early evening update: Greenish Warbler seen at 1515hrs.

Another Spurge Hawk-moth this morning - we are starting to get blase about them. Maple moth only occurs a couple of times a season presumably due to its main food plant not being here.

14 birds ringed: Linnet 6, Goldfinch 2, Whitethroat 2, Blackcap 1, Blue Tit 1, Chiffchaff 1, Wren 1

Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday 19th June 2017

Another hot one with a Serin putting in a brief appearance at c.0720 hrs. Handful of birds heading south including 20 Black-headed Gull, 8 Swift, 3 Redshank, 2 Curlew & Grey Wagtail plus northbound 5 Sandwich & a Common Tern. 2 Sand Martin also put in an appearance. Apart from this it's baby bird time. Worth a mention is that out of the 5 or 6 pairs of Whitethroat present 4 pairs have churned out a brood and out of the 3 pairs of Lesser Whitethroat present at least 2 pairs have young out & about. Plenty of time for more broods or second broods.

Moth traps hectic with the warm calm sultry nights. Only one Spurge Hawk-moth this morning with today's featured moth Hemp-agrimony plume. The regular Pyramidal Orchid is out on the Butts looking as stunning as ever.

4 birds ringed: 1 Wren, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Robin.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Sunday 18th June 2017

Small Skipper has been out in recent days on the Butts.
A clear bright start to the day with very little wind, new birds on the the reserve this morning were 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Lapwing and 1 Coal Tit, very little passage noted offshore but 2 Curlew came in off the sea plus another individual that flew South and a Grey Heron also came in off the sea.

Another 3 Spurge Hawk-moth this morning but as you've seen enough photos of them over the last week here is todays Rosy Footman

12 birds ringed: Blue Tit 4, Chiffchaff 3, Dunnock 2, Coal Tit 1, Goldfinch 1, Wren 1

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Saturday 17th June 2017

The first 2 juvenile Lesser Whitethroats for Landguard this year were seen this today and a few more juvenile Blue and Great Tit also dispersed through during the morning. A female Blackcap present this morning was also a new bird on the reserve. Offshore 7 common Tern gathered at the point and 2 Little Tern went South. Also offshore were 2 Med Gulls amongst the Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls that were feeding there.

Third Spurge Hawk-moth to turn up this year, remarkable!

18 birds ringed: 5 Linnet, 3 Blue Tit, 3 Great Tit, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Dunnock, 1 Blackcap

Friday, 16 June 2017

Friday 16th June 2017

A few Skippers starting to appear on the Butts in recent days. Essex Skipper is the common one here with the others more difficult to encounter. Passage birds of note on the reserve today, a dispersing juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker and yesterdays Treecreeper was present again. Offshore going South 2 Sandwich Tern and 1 Curlew.

Digger Wasps somehow manage to construct a home in the most compact ground, including Cerceris rybyensis

6 birds ringed:Goldfinch 3, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Linnet 1, Woodpigeon 1

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thursday 15th June 2017

Azure Damselflies in tandem at Butts pond, doing what comes naturally.
Quiet offshore this morning but moving through South was 1 Curlew, 1 Med Gull and 1 Siskin. Swift were present during the morning with 4 feeding low over the reserve. Dispersing juvenile Chiffchaff, Greenfinch and Treecreeper have also made their way down to the Observatory.

Peppered moth matching a background with its camouflage, or at least trying to.

17 birds ringed: Linnet 5, Blue Tit 3, Greenfinch 2 and then singles of Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Treecreeper and Whitethroat.

17th June 2017 litter pick

Spring Litter Pick this Saturday 17th June 0930hrs start. Usual arrangements on the events page of

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wednesday 14th June 2017

Following recent rain, botanically the site is looking good with Opium Poppies hanging on to their petals despite the strong winds last week.
A warm morning with clear skies to start today, there was an adult Med gull loitering off the point, 6 Sandwich Tern came out of the estuary, 5 Teal came in off the sea into the estuary. The numbers of fledglings on the reserve continue to increase with Carrion Crow, Magpie, Dunnock, Linnet and Song Thrush seen over recent days.

Moth traps reasonably busy as the wind has abated, Celypha lacunana is a frequent visitor over a long flight period from May until the autumn.

11 birds ringed: Linnet 7, Blue Tit 2, Dunnock 1, House Sparrow 1

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tuesday 13th June 2017

The second half of June is the best time to see dispersing juvenile British bred Coal Tit at Landguard, although they are not noted every year. Passage birds seen this morning, a Brent Goose was on the sea, offshore going South 4 Med Gull and going North 1 Grey Heron.

Water Ermine is a nationally scarce species, resident in wet areas of the Suffolk coast, it has only been recorded here on a handful of previous occasions

27 birds ringed: Linnet 6, Dunnock 5, Blue Tit 3, House Sparrow 3, Song Thrush 3, Coal Tit 2, Goldfinch 2, Woodpigeon 2, Magpie 1.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Monday 12th June 2017

Another day - another gale - but it has been a breezy month so far. On the move 202 Swifts in/south plus offshore southbound single Curlew & Oyk. A Grey Wagtail going south may well be a dispersing juvenile as this species does start nesting fairly early in the year.

Our only "Schedule 8" plant, Stinking Goosefoot has started to appear a fortnight ago and is now getting to a size where it is more than a pin prick. Usual site within the roped off area at the south end of the Butts for all you plant twitchers out there. No rush as it is often visible up to early October and is not in flower yet.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday 11th June 2017

At the end of January/early February this year four of the Holm Oaks were "copparded" to aid their longevity and to prevent then from splitting at the bottom. Although this looks a bit of a "pigs ear" in the short term they are now showing some fresh growth. This procedure will have done them the world of good and they should regrow a better shape now they are bursting back into life.

A singing Willow Warbler is today's migrant and is the first of it's kind since May 18th. Autumn wader passage started this morning with the first 2 Curlew heading south. Finally a Crow went south a long way offshore which is bizarre for this time of the year.

A bit like busses - another Spurge Hawk-moth turned up in the moth traps. This one is obviously different from yesterday's as it does not have any "nicks" in its wings that the previous one had. When one considers that there are only roughly 100 records of this species in the UK since the dawn of time then one can appreciate that this is an exceptional event.

9 birds ringed: 4 Linnet, 1 Dunnock, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Blue Tit.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Saturday 10th June 2017

Spurge Hawk moth is a quality rarity, albeit one that has been recorded here on a number of previous occasions. Other migrant moths this morning were Bordered Straw and Rusty-dot Pearl.

The grounded migrant noted on the reserve today was 1 Reed Warbler heard singing on the Ickie Ridge. Offshore feeding were 5 Little Tern and 2 Common Tern. Passage this morning going South 12 Woodpigeon and 8 Barnacle Geese went North.

8 birds ringed: 3 Linnet, 2 Dunnock, 2 House Sparrow, 1 Whitethroat.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Friday 9th June 2017

The first Meadow Brown this year on Landguard.
A calmer start to the earlier part of the day today but the wind did pick up again by mid morning. Offshore up to 9 Common Tern gathered off the point leading into high tide and 4 Cormorant moved South. On the reserve 1 Reed warbler was heard singing, the first fledgling Whitethroats of this year were seen in the Butts pond area. Passage over the reserve going South, 4 Swift, 3 House Martin, 2 Siskin and 1 Skylark.

Occasionally the odd ladybird comes to the moth traps, apart from the Harlequin. This Orange Ladybird is about to fly off as attempts to photograph it took place.

3 birds ringed: 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Linnet, 1 Blue Tit.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Thursday 8th June 2017

The first hatched Ringed Plover chicks of 2017 on Landguard have now started flying and have been seen airborne between the shoreline and shingle areas at the point.
Passage noted this morning, over the reserve going South 6 Swift, 2 Jackdaw and going South offshore 14 Little Tern, 2 Common Tern, 2 Grey Plover and 1 Fulmar, going North offshore 3 Med Gull and 2 Greylag Geese.

Moth numbers are suppressed due to the weather currently but doesn't stop the odd Dark Sword Grass turning up.

2 birds ringed: 2 House Sparrow

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Wednesday 7th June 2017

A day when a large Swift movement was the highlight, with 1250 south along with 21 Canada Geese also south. Little else except 8 Little Tern and 3 Common Tern feeding off the point. Apart from that the first brood of young Pied Wagtails are out and about on the common(above).

No birds ringed today.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tuesday 6th June 2017

High wind with gusts of force 9 was the theme for this morning and unfortunately very little passage was noted except for Swifts with 226 going South in 3 large flocks, the picture above being a glimpse of a party of 150.

Ingrailed Clay is another one of those moths that can be common elsewhere but this is only the fifth occurrence ever noted here, maybe due to last nights wind bringing it here.

1 bird ringed: 1 Woodpigeon

Recent Recoveries

Whitethroat ringed Guildford, Surrey 1st June 2016 retrapped 151km away at LBO 7th May 2017. Goldcrest ringed Iken, Suffolk 9th October 2016 retrapped 30km away at LBO 16th March 2017. Blue Tit ringed Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex 9th October 2016 retrapped 8km away at LBO 25th March 2017 (although I would be amazed if it flew in a straight line to get here !).

Monday, 5 June 2017

Monday 5th June 2017

It's one of those blogs when no migrants on site to mention apart from those that are here for the season. 5 House Martin & a couple of Swifts did fly through presumably moving ahead of the increasing gale. Male Greenfinch feeding on site in recent days, although it is sad to have to mention this species as it used to be one of the commonest of Landguard birds that has recently fallen on hard times. Mr & Mrs Peregrine were having a wizz round this morning. Their breeding attempt failed at the end of April after which they became elusive as they tend to do.

Dark Spectacle is regular here although the wind was blowing it's tufts around during the photographic attempts.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Sunday 4th June 2017

Today's grounded migrant is a Reed Warbler. 4 Swallow, 2 House Martin & a Goldfinch went south plus a Common Scoter south offshore. A Turnstone was on the point & a Sanderling on the beach. A dispersing juvenile Song Thrush on site will be one dispersing as ours failed on their first nesting attempts. Our Blue Tits finally brought a youngster out this morning as we were starting to get concerned about them. Great Tits, on the other hand, have had at least three broods out for some time. The young Carrion Crows have been out for a couple of days. In most years they drop off their chosen lighting tower along View Point Road straight onto the road below with at least one of the young being flattened by a vehicle - so far this year all four young have avoided that fate.

Four-spotted Chaser is always worth a mention in the dragonfly department with our first Privet Hawk-moth of the year putting in an appearance.

6 birds ringed: 3 Linnet, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Reed Warbler.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Saturday 3rd June 2017

Always good to have a few Terns loitering on site on the turning tide apart from which today's highlight is 1 Kittiwake. The heavy rain last night, although welcoming for the vegetation, has appeared to have dropped in no migrants.

Ethmia terminella is a rare species that first colonised the site in 2004 and feeds on Viper's Bugloss.

4 birds ringed: 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Linnet, 1 Blackbird.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Friday 2nd June 2017

25 Barnacle Geese, pictured above, were going North at 7:20am and then 25 were seen going South at 11:30am, also noted going South during the morning, 5 Swallow, 3 Oystercatcher and 2 Little Tern. 2 Chiffchaff were the migrant birds stopping off at Landguard today, 5 Sanderling also came in from the South and stayed Briefly on the beach.

Mullein moth larvae devouring Great Mullion as they are inclined to do.

8 birds ringed: 3 Linnet, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Woodpigeon.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Thursday 1st June 2017

The first site record of Iberian Chiffchaff was singing from the Holm Oaks 0700 to 0830hrs having been trapped at 0430hrs first thing. Unfortunately in hand identification of this species is not conclusive and one has to rely on the song in order to get a definite identification. The only other migrant on site was a Chiffchaff although a Greenfinch is worth a mention considering how scarce they have become this year. 6 Greylags flew south and half a dozen Common Tern were offshore as the tide turned.

The best showing of Poppies along View Point Road in living memory is a result of a service duct being buried alongside the road during the winter which has disturbed the ground which this species likes. Also worth a mention this morning is a Clouded Yellow butterfly.

6 birds ringed: 2 Linnet, 1 Iberian Chiffchaff, 1 Robin, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

May 2017 ringing totals

171 birds of 29 species ringed during May this year:

Chiffchaff 27
Whitethroat 18
Willow Warbler 18
Linnet 15
Blackbird 10
Blackcap 10
Great Tit 9
Lesser Whitethroat 8
Spotted Flycatcher 8
Robin 7
Woodpigeon 5
Garden Warbler 4
Magpie 4
Chaffinch 3
Dunnock 3
Goldfinch 3
Reed Warbler 2
Ringed Plover 2
Sedge Warbler 2
Song Thrush 2
Starling 2
Wren 2
Collared Dove 1
Greenfinch 1
Grey Wagtail 1
House Sparrow 1
Redstart 1
Swallow 1
Wheatear 1

Reviewing the previous 10 years this year makes it into the second lowest placing for May, the lowest was 2013 which followed a top ranking April that year.

Wednesday 31st May 2017

Still a little migration in progress with a late Blackcap and Chiffchaff this morning, 2 Little Tern and 1 Common Tern were seen feeding offshore and 1 Sanderling (pictured) on the beach. An increase in newly fledged juvenile birds with 4 Carrion Crow on the reserve and a brood of Dunnock have also appeared. There was no offshore passage noted today.

Small Clouded Brindle is another one of those species that is described as "local" in Suffolk but does not occur at Landguard very frequently.

9 birds ringed: 4 Linnet, 2 Dunnock, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Robin

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Tuesday 30th May 2017

New birds seen this morning on the reserve were 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Sanderling which had stopped off on the beach, passage over the reserve going South were 5 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Swift and 1 Med Gull. Also going South offshore, 2 Sandwich Tern.

Moth traps are getting busier, Shoulder Striped Wainscot is a common moth nationally but only shows in the traps occasionally here.

4 birds ringed: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Linnet, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Robin.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Monday 29th May 2017

A new Lesser Whitethroat appears to be today's new migrant as it slowly becoming baby bird time of the year as late spring migrants are definitely hard to come by at the moment. Why some Lesser Black-backed Gulls decide to nest on containers just over the dock fence is a strange decision as they are liable to be moved and consequently fail.

7 birds ringed: single Blackbird, Linnet, Lesser Whitethroat, Robin, Starling, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Sunday 28th May 2017

Additions to the Landguard moth list are hard to come by so it was good to get Beautiful Hook Tip today.
A gentle breeze from the Southwest and clear sky during the morning today. New birds on the reserve are 1 Blackcap heard singing from the Ickie ridge and 1 Reed Warbler found by the aggregate yard feeding and singing along the hedge towards the fort. Passage noted going South with 6 House Martin and 5 Swallow over the reserve, offshore also going South 1 Common Tern,

1 bird ringed: 1 Blackbird

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Saturday 27th May 2017

Orange Footman only occurs here very occasionally and has not been recorded for the last three years.
There was a clear sky overnight and strong southeasterly wind during the start of the morning, topped with a thunder storm to finish the morning. No grounded migrants noted today but a family party of freshly fledged Goldfinch are the first juvenile Goldfinch seen on the reserve for this year.
Passage over the reserve going South 1 Siskin, 6 Swallow, 6 Swift and 1 North. Offshore going North 1 Avocet.

6 birds ringed: 4 Magpie, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Linnet

Friday, 26 May 2017

Friday 26th May 2017

With warmer conditions plenty of Common Blue butterflies are now on the wing.
A glorious day in late May and the main passage of migrants has slowed down, this morning 71 Brent geese going North being the only movement noted, other  newly arrived migrants on the reserve over recent days have now moved on. The Starling flock has increased as juvenile birds fledge to join the communal foraging and the Magpies are busy collecting food to take back to the nest.

Todays feature moth is Iron Prominent that puts an appearance in here occasionally.

1 bird ringed: 1 Woodpigeon