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Tuesday 1st to Monday 7th February 2011

Tuesday 1st to Monday 7th February 2011
A fairly predictable week. 9 Shelduck south on 1st, 6 Long-tailed Tits on 3rd, 2 Gadwall south on 6th, 19 Brent's, 6 Teal & a Wigeon south on the 7th. Waders as per January below with 3 Purple Sands on Groyne 19 on the 6th (this is the preferred groyne although they are not always present within our recording area and presumably can be found on any groyne along Felixstowe promenade). Gull numbers again impressive this week with up to 8,000 Common, 3,000 Herring, 700 Black-headed, 150 Great Black-backed and the occasional Lesser Black-backed, Kittiwake & Med Gull present amongst the melee following shipping. As in January, more time is currently being put into site maintenance than birding - if you visit Landguard and see anything that you think we might have missed please let us know so that records can be added onto the site log. Finally please note plenty of work is currently being undertaken on the nature reserve. Visitors are requested to keep clear of areas where men in bright overalls with machines are working - your co-operation is appreciated.

January 2011

Welcome to the new style LBO website & blog. Apologies for the delay in the first few entries for 2011. This is a one off monthly summary for January to catch up. The rarest bird of the month was a female Pheasant on the 2nd & 3rd - we have very few site records of this species. Of greater interest were the 2 Shorelarks from December 2010 noted again on the 1st & 3rd. A solitary Golden Plover was present on the reserve on the 2nd. On the 4th a Little Egret flew south and it's nice to know that some of its kind that stayed in Britain throughout the cold spell last month have survived. The 8th saw 7 Lapwing and a single Great-crested Grebe moving south. A flock of 325 Knot went south on the 14th, an exceptional count for a species that we only rarely see outside the main migration periods. Also on this date 2 White-fronted Geese and a Black-throated Diver flew north and 4 Long-tailed Tits gave us a rare mid-winter visitation. The 15th brought 3 Shelduck and 2 Wigeon south, a Common Scoter north plus a Pomarine Skua offshore. The next day produced 3 Pink-footed Geese north, 37 Wigeon south, 5 Teal north plus 12 south, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers north plus a single Skylark on site. 8 White-fronted Geese moved south on the 19th with a single Fieldfare on site. On the 20th a solitary Bean Goose flew south low over the observatory calling its head off looking for friends before going up river. Also on this date 5 Eiders and 3 Pintail north, 4 Fieldfares on the reserve and a solitary Waxwing sitting on a Hawthorn bush by the observatory gate. Gull numbers have been impressive on many occasions throughout the month with a peak count of 5,000 Common, 750 Herring, 300 Black-headed & 100 Great Black-backs on this date. Kittiwake numbers, in contrast, have not exceeded 20 all month. The 22nd produced 15 Teal and 2 Mute Swans north. On the 24th 58 Barnacle Geese went north, 2 White-fronted Geese north plus one south and a single Yellowhammer flying around calling before departing into Essex. The next day another 61 Barnacle Geese went north, so what's happening in the Barnacle Goose department to cause these mid-winter movements is a bit of a mystery. Cormorant numbers have been increasing in recent years and this winter birds seem to be going offshore to the sandbanks to feed, particularly at low tide. The feeding must be good as something disturbed them all on the 27th with at least 270 flying around - a site record count by some considerable margin. Also on this date 4 Great-crested Grebes moved south. On the 30th 3 more Long-tailed Tits showed up. Throughout the month small numbers of Red-throated Divers, Brent's, Wigeon & Teal noted on several dates moving offshore. Along the shore up to 13 Turnstone, 5 Sanderling, 3 Purple Sands and the occasional Redshank & Grey Plover with Ringed Plovers occasionally attempting to roost at high tide peaking at 46. The bushes are fairly predictable in mid-winter with just a handful of common species tolerating the bleakness of the site. On occasions they were joined by Fieldfare and Redwing in small numbers with, unusual for us at this time of the year, up to 7 Linnets. The usual male Peregrine was noted on just two dates and the Little Owls on not many more. Finally the best day count for Med Gull was 7.