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2013 Membership

Will our existing members please note that subs for 2013 are now due. If you are not a member or a friend & you would like to support us then please consider joining. As a small local organisation & a registered charity we largely rely on our friends & members to keep the whole operation running. Further info on the relevant section of


15 birds of 7 species.

4 Chaffinch, 4 Blackbird, 2 Greenfinch, 2 Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk & Woodcock.

Although it sounds pathetic this is the second largest total in the past seven years. Basically if mild winter ringing totals here are paltry.

Monday 31st December 2012

Grotty weather to end the year. A group of 8 Goosanders went south then turned inland which is reasonably notable for us. Also going south 54 Kitts, 13 Wigeon, 5 Shelduck, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Mallard, 2 Grey Plover & an adult Little Gull. A handful of Cormorants & Red-throated Divers also coming & going. 8 Meds (7 adults & a second-winter) were loitering around the View Point in the early afternoon. Nowt else worth reporting.

Sunday 30th December 2012

Merlin south at 0847hrs during 40 mins spent sea watching. Bit late for Merlin passage but we have had odd Merlin records in mid-winter in the past. Only other birds noted were 12 Brent, 8 Shelduck & an adult Little Gull south. A walk round the site in a gale was precisely that - a walk ! Afternoon update - 5 Waxwings dropped in.

Saturday 29th December 2012

Sea watching produced 58 Kitts, 47 Brents, 10 Teal, 5 Shelduck & 2 Mallard south. A total of 40 Waxwing went south in three groups during the morning. Unfortunately whilst litter picking this morning some kind soul decided to help themselves to the bag of bin bags, gloves, loops & sticks that we leave out for people to pick rubbish with. It never ceases to amaze me what people will steal these days if you leave it unguarded.

Friday 28th December 2012

Bit more of interest offshore this morning. 37 Wigeon, 20 Red-throated Divers, 15 Kitts, 12 Common Scoter, 11 Shelduck, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merg & an adult Little Gull south, 7 Brents north plus 25 Kitts following ships & several Red-throats feeding offshore. Not a lot else but considering it hasn't stopped raining long then little else done but sea watching.


Litter pick this Saturday 29th December 0930hrs start. Usual arrangements. All welcome. Further info on the events page of

Thursday 27th December 2012

Bucketing down - again ! 40 mins starring out produced a grand total of 4 Brents, 4 Red-throats south & 5 Kitts following a ship. When the weather conditions are mild & wet then i am sure you will find reading this blog as boring as i find writing it when there is nothing to write about. As we know we have a healthy number of readers, if you would like to make any comments about this blog over the last year(constructive criticism welcomed), then we would be grateful if you could e.mail any comments to Many Thanks.

Wednesday 26th December 2012

43 Ringos & 4 Dunlin were attempting to roost on the beach - that is until the dog walkers got to work on them ! A Waxwing went south overhead at 0830hrs. Glorious sunny morning  so gave starring out to sea (& into the sun) a miss. The highlight of a walk round the reserve was 3 Meds & a Skylark. Normally by this late in the year the only Skylarks we get are associated with cold weather so i presume this one has been flooded out from somewhere rather than frozen out ?

Tuesday 25th December 2012

62 Ringos were attempting to roost on the beach on the incoming tide but some idiotic dog walkers showed them some festive cheer by throwing balls for the dogs & that was the end of that. We used to have regular high tide Ringo roost in the past but due to public pressure it's a bit of a rare event these days. The highlight of 40 mins sea watching were 2 Gannets reasonably close going south & one of the local Peregrines also in festive spirit taking some poor soul offshore before i had a chance to identify it's victim. To be honest i hadn't even seen it's prey before it honed in on it - but then again Peregrines do have better eye sight than us & i doubt they celebrate christmas !

Monday 24th December 2012

3 adult Little Gulls went south this am as did 8 Kitts, 4 Brent, 4 GP's, 3 Dunlin, Common Scoter, Merganser & Guillemot in an hours observation when the drizzle stopped. The usual handful of Red-throats & Cormorants also coming & going.

Sunday 23rd December 2012

A walk around the site produced 4 Mipits on the Butts & what is probably record water levels in the Butts pond. 2 Mipits also flew south overhead. 6 Ringos were on the beach. Offshore not a lot in limited time spent observing except that the gull numbers following shipping is finally increasing. One notable absentee in the gulls is the fact that the number of Common Gulls is very low - but with the amount of water in the fields inland then i suspect they are feasting on worms flooded out of their burrows.

Saturday 22nd December 2013

Persisting down with an onshore wind & the forecast saying rain all day - think i might have to build an ark ! A Woodcock was flushed in the compound with sea watching on & off for about an hours worth producing 6 Kitts, 4 Brents, 3 Red-throats, single Teal, Common Scoter & Great-crested Grebe.

Friday 21st December 2012

Two flocks of Waxwing went south totalling 26 birds (15 + 11) as well as 3 Mipits. At least 3 Woodcock and 2 Snow Buntings on site with what is presumably the regular Sanderling on the shore. Next to no time spent sea watching although a Guillimot was fishing offshore.

Thursday 20th December 2011

No coverage as most of the regulars were doing a co-ordinated low water count up the river on a day when it rained non stop.

Wednesday 19th December 2012

Fog fortunately clearing by 9am. A walk around the reserve produced the dizzy heights of 2 Mipits plus a Sanderling on the beach. If you hadn't realised it by now mild conditions at this time of the year can be fairly tedious. Sanderling have an interesting diet with this one reported tucking into the dead Seal along the riverbank. The pair of Peregrines are still on the old crane. One of their favourite prey items this autumn was Woodcock and apparently they are still at it. Night time hunting with the aid of the dock lights has resulted in these Peregrines killing more Woodcock than we see on migration. Ever wondered why these raptors spend the bulk of the day doing diddly squat - well looks like they are up to no good at night !

Tuesday 18th December 2012

2 Redwings were new in after which the next highlight (!) was a Mute Swan in the river out the back. Bit off a waste of time this morning not helped by the head falling off the new broom whilst doing some on site management work.

Monday 17th December 2012

Half hour spent starring out to sea only produced 6 Brents but surprisingly one of them was a Pale-bellied Brent - this is about the tenth site record of this race. Otherwise it was down to 3 Shelducks south, Common Scoter north & c.20 Red-throated Divers moving about. Two groups of Linnets totalling 24 birds went south - Linnet passage should really be over & done with this late in the autumn. The only other record of note was a Siskin that went north inland over the docks.

Sunday 16th December 2012

Fairly tedious sea watching produced highlights of 3 Great-crest & 2 Mallard south ! 18 Linnets flew south & a Waxwing was heard calling on a couple of occasions.

Recent Recoveries

A fairly large batch of recoveries just received mostly of birds moving to & from other sites in Suffolk. Worth a mention are a Blackbird ringed at Kilnsea, Yorkshire on 1st March 2012 caught here on 29th October 2012, Robin caught here on 8th November 2011 taken by a cat 279km away in Seine-Martime, France on 31st October 2012, Great Tit ringed here on 24th February 2012 re trapped at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire on 16th September 2012 & a dose of Lesser Redpolls including one ringed on 6th October 2012 in Doncaster caught here on 13th October, one ringed on 2nd October 2011 at South Foreland, Kent caught here on 30th October 2012 & one ringed here on 6th November 2009 re trapped in West Lothian on 14th October 2012.

Saturday 15th December 2012

Adult Little Gull loitered offshore for c.20 mins this morning. 27 Kitts went south although very little else on the move compared with yesterday. A selection of records included 54 Teal, 5 Pintail, 5 Wigeon, 4 Dunlin, 4 Grey Plover, 2 Shelduck, 2 Great-crests south plus 6 Red-throats, 5 Brent & a Common Scoter north. A single Mipit went south & the pair of Peregrines were on the old dock crane.

Friday 14th December 2012

South-easterly gale which proved to be quite entertaining. A Leach's Petrel went south at c.0830hrs with another north at c.1000hrs. Also on the move going south 788 Wigeon, 464 Teal, 31 Dunlin, 17 Shoveler, 14 Pochard,  11 Avocet, 9 Shelduck, 6 Pintail, 5 Mallard, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Kitts, 2 Tufteds, 2 Goldeneye & a Common Scoter plus 5 Common Scoter, 2 Kitts & 2 Red-throated Divers north. Presumably the cold high pressure that we have had this week has drifted across to the low countries enforcing some cold weather movements. 5 Redwing on site were also new in. At 1115hrs torrential driving rain has stopped any more observations (although passage was easing up as the morning progressed).


Litter pick this Saturday 15th December 2012 0930hrs start. Further info on the events page of

Thursday 13th December 2012

Ground still frozen. A few bits moving south offshore including 24 Common Scoter, 4 Kitts, 3 Gadwal, 2 Velvet Scoter, 2 Mergs, 2 Great-crested Grebes & a drake Goldeneye. A couple of red-throats went back & forth offshore & 2 Brents went north. Hardly rivetting but the scoters were just off the beach which was good to see. 3 Sanderling on the beach, 2 Little Owls sunning themselves & Peregrine on the old dock crane. A Mistle Thrush put in an appearance mid-morning & a new Chaffy was caught in the helli.

Wednesday 12th December 2012

Flat calm, sunny, hoar frost - very picturesque. Sanderling on the beach, 5 Shelduck, 2 Brent, Mallard & Skylark went south.

Tuesday 11th December 2012

A Hooded Crow came in off the sea & headed in off over the town at 0845hrs during half hour sea watching which revealed the princely total of 1 Common Scoter & a dose of Cormorants. Glorious sunny, but frosty, morning with the only other records of note so far being 3 Siskins north & a Redpoll heard, but not seen. The 2 Little Owls are out sunning themselves & half a dozen Med Gulls are feeding off the point on the turn of the tide.

Monday 10th December 2012

14 Waxwing south & a Lapwing on the reserve. Only offshore movements were the usual Red-throats & Cormorants plus 2 Brent south. Although it feels cold it obviously ain't cold enough to get things moving.

Sunday 9th December 2012

A new British race Songie & a Chaff ringed once again indicating that autumn migration still isn't over for some species. Sea watching for half hour produced a dozen Red-throats coming & going, seagulls & a Common Scoter which is hardly riveting stuff. Resorting to some maintenance in the compound resulted in a Woodcock being flushed.

Saturday 8th December 2012

A Woodcock trapped in the helgoland was the 5th ringed this autumn - although why i am calling it autumn i don't know as this bird was considerably fatter than those caught at the end of October & in November and as such is probably a refugee from colder weather conditions inland rather than a fresh arrival from the continent. Also seeking refuge by the coast were 4 Lapwings although the first dog walkers of the autumn saw to it that it wasn't long before they flew inland over the docks. Another suspected refugee was a Reed Bunting who has also presumably come to the milder conditions on the coast. Offshore a handful of Teal & Wigeon moved south in very limited time spent starring out into the bright morning sun. Finally, 3 Goldies & a Mipit went south proving that, for some species, autumn migration is not over yet.

Friday 7th December 2012

A new juv female Sparrowhawk was trapped in the helli first thing is only the second new female caught all autumn. When the rain eased off starring out to sea for 40 mins produced 6 Gadwal, 3 Mallard, 3 Brents, 3 Common Scoter, 3 Teal, 2 Pintail, 2 Red-throated Diver & a Wigeon south. A new Chaffinch also trapped this morning & 3 Fieldfare flew over. An attempt to get on with some on site maintenance has been aborted due to a deluge of snow & sleet with the only sensible thing to do being an early blog today & abandon ship !

Thursday 6th December 2012

Sharp frost this morning brought a couple of new Songies onto the site, one trapped was a British race bird that presumably has been frozen out inland to seek refuge on the coast. 5 Goldies flew south, a Redpoll  but in a brief appearance & a Linnet is still loitering on site. A few birds moving south offshore including 99 Teal, 12 Wigeon, 9 Brent, 2 Mallard, Pintail, Pochard, Common Scoter, Dunlin, Barwit & Great-crested Grebe plus the expected Red-throats & Cormrants coming & going. A freshly plucked and eaten Turnstone in the bird observatory compound under the bushes had presumably been breakfast for a Sparrowhawk. Finally a colour ringed juv Great Black-back on a rotting seal carcass along the river is probably from southern Norway but the inconsiderate beast decided to fly off before the details of the white lettering on the black ring could be nailed.

Wednesday 5th December

A covering of snow first thing thawed as the morning progressed. Offshore a Razorbill sat on the sea flew off south. 25 Teal, 8 Brents, 3 Mergs & a Great-crest went south plus a few Red-throated Divers & Cormorants coming & going in c.75 mins of watching - i.e. not a lot considering the cold snap. A snipe was on the Butts first thing and a Woodcock was flushed on a quick stroll around the reserve.

Tuesday 4th December 2012

Mist nets taken down for the winter this morning. Whilst doing this a total of 16 Goldies went south overhead, 4 Siskins put in an appearance & a Redpoll was whizzing round for a while. No other indication of owt else on site with the limited amount of time spent starring out to sea after this was done producing next to nothing.

Monday 3rd January 2012

About 100mins starring out to sea up to 10am produced some southerly movement including 74 Teal, 34 Wigeon, 22 Red-throats, 6 Goldeneye, 6 Dunlin, 4 Great-crests & 3 Common Scoter. Obviously a few Blackies still trickling in for the winter as 4 birds came off the reserve & towered off inland over the docks. A Skylark on the reserve also went inland over the docks when disturbed. Apart from this the only other sign of migration was a Siskin heard but not seen. Finally a Sanderling was on the beach near the point.

Sunday 2nd December 2012

Sub-zero with a sharp frost this morning. A flock of 25 Waxwings flew south & on into Essex at 1009hrs and a gaggle of 21 Greylag Geese came in off the sea at 1030hrs then over the dock to Trimley marshes. 10 Siskin, 2 Skylark & a Siskin went south overhead. Offshore very quiet with 9 Wigeon & 9 Pintail south plus 4 Pintail & 3 Mergs north. No migrants in the bushes although a Goldcrest is still loitering on site.

Saturday 1st December 2012

Sharp frost this morning. New Blackies continue to trickle through the site along with the odd Chaffy. 2 Woodcock also on site this am. 7 Waxwing flew south early on with another on site later on in the morning. 41 Goldies & 15 Siskins also went south. Offshore 26 Teal, 13 Goldeneye, 4 Redshank & 3 Great-crests south with 7 Brents, 7 Common Scoter & an Eider north plus a few Red-throated Divers & Cormorants coming & going. It's now drizzling with odd bit of sleet. Will regular readers please note that throughout the winter there may be odd days when this blog is on the drag due to various other commitments.

November Ringing Totals

Lesser Redpoll70
Song Thrush13
Wood Pigeon4
Blue Tit3
Grey Wagtail1
House Sparrow1

Friday 30th November 2012

Still new Blackies arriving with 8 new birds ringed out of todays total of 12. 4 Waxwings dropped in briefly mid-morning. Also new in today Redwing, Fieldfare & a new Blue Tit. A new Blue Tit is notable for us at this time of the year but i don't suppose it's come very far. Not a lot moving offshore with 3 Goldeneye & a Merg the highlights. A Sanderling was out on the beach with the Turnstones & the Water Rail was heard calling ounce the sun started shining on it's favoured bushes.

Thursday 29th November 2012

A fresh arrival of at least 50 Blackies along with 2 Woodcock, single Fieldfare, Redwing & a fine male Bullfinch. Of the dozen Blackies ringed a couple were young males of the "stockamsel" variety suggesting they have come a fair old way to get here. Offshore not spectacular but did include a Great-northern Diver & 18 Eider north, 2 Goldeneye, Merg & Guillimot south plus 5 Gadwal sat on the sea for a while. A Skylark came in off the sea & a Snow Bunting was whizzing round over the obs mid-morning. Autumn should be grinding to a halt at this time of the year but obviously no-one has told the Blackies that as they just keep on coming. Later news concerns 2 male Goosanders south early pm - the 1st of the autumn.

Wednesday 28th November 2012

A skein of 96 grey geese heading north miles out were presumably pinkies or white-fronts heading for the Alde-ore complex but were nearer the Dutch coast than Suffolk ! Not a lot moving offshore but sightings included 19 Shelduck, 13 Brent, 11 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 2 Goldeneye, a Merg & a Guilly south with 22 Brent, 4 Pochard, 3 Eider & a Common Scoter north plus a handful of Cormorants & Red-throats coming & going. A handful of new Blackies in the bushes plus single Fieldfare, Redwing & Brambling. On the move 16 Goldies south with 2 Redpolls & a Siskin paying us a brief visit. Finally 30 Starlings came in off the sea at 1115hrs presumably having set off at first light from the other side.

Tuesday 27th November 2012

Still the odd new Fieldfare, Songy, Blacky & Chaffy showing up at what is now the very tail end of autumn migration. Also still a few Goldies & a Mipit heading south in the vis mig department. Offshore movements very quiet with 33 Common Scoter, 15 Shelduck, 11 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 4 Brents, 3 Red-throats & a Merg south with 7 Scoter, 6 Brent heading north. In the bushes at least one Goldcrest looks like it is going to attempt wintering here - only once before has a Goldcrest successfully overwintered here. Finally the pair of Peregrines were strutting their stuff over the docks & the local pair of Little Owls came out of their hole to sun themselves.

Monday 26th November 2012

100 Common Scoter, 38 Knot, 24 Wigeon, 5 Shelduck, 3 Teal, a Merg & a Guilly south offshore plus a handful of Red-throats, Cormorants & Kitts coming & going. Two groups of Siskin totalling 46 birds went south as did a couple of Mipits. In the bushes just a new Robin plus the reappearance of the Jay ringed here 11 days ago which must surely be trying to survive somewhere near here. Finally, just prior to siting down to write this blog, 2 Swallows have started feeding around the observatory.

Sunday 25th November 2012

Blowing a south-westerly gale. 108 Kitts south along with 22 Cormorants, 14 Wigeon, 9 Golden Plover, 8 Shelduck, 7 Common Scoter, 6 Dunlin, 4 Curlew, 3 Mergansers, 2 Tufteds & a Goldeneye in a fairly protracted sea watch. 6 Waxwing went south with another dropping onto the bushes next to the observatory watch point later in the morning. It's a record autumn for Waxwing for us in terms of the number of records here.

Saturday 24th November 2012

A handful of new Blackies, Songies, Chaffs & a Lesser Redpoll this morning as indicated by the 7 birds ringed. A Water Rail was seen out the back by one of the wood piles, a Grey Wag put in an appearance & an Eider was offshore briefly. Very little noted going past or overhead with 2 Mergs the highlight & nothing of note on a walk round the reserve.

Friday 23rd November 2012

Another 87 Goldies south this am, although from past experience vis mig in this species often continues into early December. 2 new Blackies ringed is also indicative of ongoing migration in this species. Offshore 27 Shelduck, 23 Brent, 6 Dunlin, 5 Knot, 2 Wigeon, Gadwal, Common Scoter, Goldeneye & Red-throated Diver south plus 11 Brent & a Red-throated Diver north. Judging from the poor numbers of Shelduck up the rivers it's about time a few more wandered back from moulting on the Waddensea. Finally, still a gang of Greenies feeding along the beach but only 5 Snow Bunts noted this am. Maybe one of the local Sparrowhawks fancied a change of diet ?

Thursday 22nd November 2012

Nice to see the currant bun out this morning with a stiff southerly breeze attempting to dry things out a bit. Of note this morning a Waxwing spent a couple of minutes sat on top of the trees behind the observatory before departing into Essex, 6 Snow Bunts were along the beach & a Bonxie briefly joined the gulls behind a boat in the river mouth. Still a handful of Siskins & Goldies going south overhead but offshore movements largely non-existent. At least 35 Kitts were offshore with the big gulls behind shipping. Ringing getting towards last knockings for the autumn with just single new Blacky & Chaff.

Wednesday 21st November 2012

Apologies for the late posting of these sightings but your blogger was up the river doing a co-ordinated low water count on a day when the weather was distinctly not nice. The observers present at Landguard reported that the local female Peregrine performed admirably for them beating up the pigeons over the reserve. A few bits & bobs going south offshore included 117 Teal, 22 Brents, 15 Wigeon, 11 Knot, 8 Dunlin, 5 Tufteds, 5 Mergansers, 3 Shelduck, 2 Pintail, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Common Scoter & a Ringed Plover. A Mistle Thrush was knocking around & a new Robin was the sum total of birds ringed.

Tuesday 20th November 2012

Fairly tedious mornings seawatching produced little in terms of quantity but some quality in the form of Long-tailed Duck & Pom Skua north plus a Black-throated Diver south. Supporting cast included 39 Brents, 24 Common Scoter, 15 Kitts, 8 Ringed Plover, 7 Shoveler, 6 Teal, 5 Gadwal, 4 Wigeon, 3 Knot, 3 Dunlin, 2 Barwits, Red-throated Diver, Merganser, Goldeneye & Guillemot going south. It's also getting to that time of the year when a few more Gulls & Kitts are starting to follow the boats offshore. Ringing produced just singles of Chaff, Greeny & yet another new Goldcrest.

Monday 19th November 2012

Far more interesting this morning in terms of birds going past offshore with the following going south: 81 Brents, 68 Knot, 37 Common Scoter, 28 Wigeon, 20 Mergansers, 9 Dunlin, 8 Teal, 5 Great-crested Grebes, 5 Kitts, 4 Shoveler, 3 Oyks, 2 Mallard, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Little Gulls, 2 Skylarks, Red-throated Diver, Velvet Scoter, Curlew, Guillemot & Razorbill. A flock of 16 Siskins went south overhead with a gang of 12 Waxwings flying south past the obs at 0947hrs & out over the estuary towards Dovercourt. Ringing produced just a new Goldcrest which should surely be the last new one of the autumn ? - but i have been thinking this for days and odd new ones just keep on coming.

Sunday 18th November 2012

Glorious sunny morning. 2 Snow Bunts on the beach plus a Mistle Thrush on site briefly early on are today's highlights. Some vis mig noted with 20 Goldies, 13 Skylarks, 10 Lesser Redpolls, 2 Siskins & a Mipit going south. Offshore movements almost non-existent. Ringing consisted of new Blacky, Songie & a handful of Lesser Redpolls.

Saturday 17th November 2012

Plagued by the dreaded mist & fog this morning that cleared 10ish to produce a hundred or so assorted ducks south plus a few waders including a Purp & 3 close Gannets (mind you if they weren't close we wouldn't have seen them in the murk). 7 Eiders going north will be birds coming in from the continent  heading for sites like the north Norfolk coast to winter. A Woodlark came in from the north-east before moving off inland over the docks. Ringing was a waste of time producing just 1 new Blacky. 15 Turnstone on the beaches is indicative of the time of the year with the reserve producing little else of note.

Friday 16th November 2012

244 Siskin going south is a hearty count for this, or any other, time of the year. Also going south 21 Goldies, 10 Starlings & 3 Mipits. Just prior to 0900hrs it was impressive to see a flock of at least 30 Blackies, 35 Redwing, 16 Fieldfare & 6 Songies fall out of the sky to join those already on site. Ringing wise new Blackies just squeezed into double figures plus a couple of new Songies, Greeny & a Goldcrest. It really is about time in the autumn for the Goldcrest passage to finish - but odd ones still keep on coming ! A Woodcock was on the reserve but little else of note. Offshore fairly tedious with a handful of Brents, 9 Wigeon, 3 Gadwal & a Tufted going past. Finally a partially oiled Red-throated Diver went into the river which is not what you want to see. Finally, although the moth traps are getting very few moths, it isn't stopping the odd Silver Y, Diamond-back & Dark Sword Grass putting in an appearance.

Thursday 15th November 2012

My final day at Landguard thankfully turned up a few birds to give me a good send off. Though surrounded by fog not much was on the move other than a couple of Brents, the odd Meadow Pipit, 3 Siskins and a handful of Goldfinches. Coming in of the sea were a bunch of 50 Starlings and 14 Skylark. A few thrushes around early morning mostly Blackbirds but a couple of Fieldfare, Redwing and Song Thrush mixed in for good measure. Ringing produced a nice selection of migrants including a Blackcap, 3 Robins, another Jay and 5 Lesser Redpolls, 2 of the latter being controls. The Last bird of the day should probably be far far away by now so hopefully he will make the journey.

Juvenile Swallow
Ringing: 17 Blackbird, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Robin, Swallow, Blue Tit, Jay, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Blackcap = 29


Wednesday 14th November 2012

Mist descending into thick fog not long after dawn only now clearing as i write this waffle. Worth a mention was a flock of 55 Siskins that paid us a visit & a Golden Plover calling in the fog. A handful of new birds ringed including single Blacky, Robin, Chaff, Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, Lesser Redpoll plus two British control Lesser Redpolls. Considering the thick fog that's a reasonable return on the time put in. Not a lot else to report although a couple of Redwings & Fieldfares are knocking about and the elusive Water Rail is still calling from the same patch of bushes it has frequented for several days.

Tuesday 13th October 2012

Pretty quiet again this morning but a couple of new things were learned: 1) Water Rails have no interest in eating tinned haggis - The ligering one shunning my offering of it this morning, 2) A good way to see Grey Wagtails here is to turn off the tape lure, immediately after doing so one with magically appear. We did manage to ring a few birds this morning however, 7  in total: 2 Blackbird, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Chaffinch and a Lesser Redpoll. Also amongst them was the Dutch Robin caught a couple of weeks ago so perhaps he is planning on staying the winter. Movement was restricted to 40 odd Siskins, 10 Mipits, 3 Red-throated Diver, 3 Skylark, 10 Brents and a couple of Great-crested Grebes. A Phalarope species was seen to land a fair distance offshore but did not show itself well enough for identification. The only other sighting of note was a somewhat shabby Common Darter resting on one of the nets

Monday 12th November 2012

A Barn Owl was flying around just after 0600hrs but not found subsequently - this is the 2nd one here this autumn of a species we don't record annually. Typical mid-November fare here today with a handful of new Blackies, Chaffs, Lesser Redpolls plus single new Dunnock, Goldcrest & Woodcock on site. It's always good to ring Woodcock as the recovery rate on them is very good due to them being a quarry species. Vis mig still apparent with 55 Chaffs, 16 Goldies, 7 Greenies, 5 Siskin, 3 Mipits, Reed Bunting & Waxwing going south. Loitering on site a couple of Redwing, Fieldfare & Brambling. Offshore a handful of Brents, Common Scoter, Wigeon & Black-heads trickled south. Also paying a visit was a Western Conifer Seed-bug - once again this was walking around the main observation area having presumably been attracted to the moth light nearby.

Sunday 11th November 2012

Glorious sunny morning. Waxwing, Jay & Brambling paid us a brief visit. A handful of new Blackies, Songies & a new Goldcrest on site. Finchs moving south in small numbers including Goldies, Greenies, Siskins & Lesser Redpolls with the Redpoll ringing squeezing into double figures. Skylarks also coming in off the sea & going south in small numbers. A Jackdaw went north & it is suspected that an additional Little Owl is still knocking about as one was on the reserve away from the regular pair's perches. Finally a pair of Peregrines are still around the old crane on Landguard Terminal - the other 2 old cranes having been demolished.

Saturday 10th November 2012

The Water Rail still with us & screeching his head off - but we still haven't seen it ! A handful of new Blackies & thrushy types on site this morning plus a handful of goldies, 2 Swallows, Grey Wag & a Jackdaw heading south. A Bonxie harassed some gulls in the distance offshore & then it's down to the regulars - Peregrine, Little Owl, Med Gull & a few Turnstones along the shore.

Friday 9th November 2012

Quiet again as winter sets in proper. A dozen Lesser Redpoll were the main characters in the ringing today, with a couple of Chaffinches, a Blackbird and a Song Thrush thrown in for good measure. Raptors were well represented by Peregrine, Merlin,  Kestrel and A Sprawk. A few finchy things heading South along with the odd Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. A Water Rail was again calling from the same bit of scrub and again could not be lured out to acquire a ring. Offshore were single figures of Brents, the usual flyby cormorants and still the odd Lesser Black-backed and Med Gull.

November Litter Pick

Litter Pick this Saturday 10th Novemberber 0930hrs start. All welcome. Further info on the events page of

Thursday 8th November 2012

Very quiet today with only a few Chaffinches and Goldies moving South. A large female Peregrine was on the beach at dawn and gave some good views as she headed up to the crane to join a smaller presumably male bird. A few Stock Doves and the odd woody also moved through with some Siskin and Meadow Pipits. A Water Rail was in the same spot as yesterday but remained elusive apart fro the odd call. Also on site a female Sparrowhawk, Firecrest, 3 Goldcrest, Single Snow Bunting and 5 Swallows.

Ringing: 2 Chaffinch, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Greenfinch = 5

Wednesday 7th November 2012

Distinct lack of Blackbirds with only c40 around today after yesterdays flourish. A few Mipits, Chaffs, Siskins, Wood Pigs and Stock doves accompanied 2 lonely Swallows heading south. A water Rail was screeching in the bushes for an hour or so this morning but failed to show itself. Also seen were 2 Mistle Thrush, a Snow Bunting, the adult female Peregrine, a couple of Red-throated Divers, a lingering male Firecrest and a couple of Rock Pipits.

Ringing: 9 Blackbird, 6 Lesser Redpoll, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Goldfinch = 18.

Tuesday 6th November 2012

Wood Pigs and Blackbirds were the order of today with the latter dropping in throughout and 13,100 Pigs heading South early on, accompanied by 242 Stock Doves. Also in off the sea with the Blackbirds were 60 Fieldfare, 16 Redwing, 4 Waxwing and 75 Starling. Otherwise a few other bits and bobs heading south including 14 Skylark, 10 Siskin, a Short-eared Owl, 16 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 2 Grey Wagtail and a handfull of Chaffs and Greenys in with 90 Goldfinch. At least 3 Woodcock were also on site.

Ringing: 91 Blackbird, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Robin, Redwing, Jay, Woodcock, Blue Tit, Goldfinch and another juvenile Wood Pigeon = 102.

Monday 5th November 2012

More Woodies heading South in the cold this morning with over 6500 counted. Amongst them 219 Stock Doves, 1 Rook, a Male Hen Harrier, a handful of the usual finchy suspects, a Grey Wagtail, 4 Jays and a Mistle Thrush. Ringing was slow going with a few new Blackbirds, Goldcrests and a lone Pigeon. A female Bullfinch was a nice addition to the years species list and the first ringed on site since 2007.

Ringing: Blackbird 9, Goldcrest 4, Goldfinch 4, Chaffinch 3, Lesser Redpoll 2, Wren, Woodpigeon, Redwing and Bullfinch = 26.

Sunday 4th November 2012

What are we doing here ? Bucketing down with rain most of the morning & when not heaving down it's still raining. The wind has picked up to a fairly strong south-easterly which could be promising - but isn't ! Offshore very little going past with the highlights being a couple of Eiders & Kitts. An adult Yellow-legged Gull put in an appearance along the beach. Very little noted in the bushes but in these conditions it's hardly surprising.

Saturday 3rd November 2012

Decidedly quiet today but we managed a few new birds to show our visitors from SOG. A few Stock Dove passed through with 150 Wood Pigs. 25 Siskin were in with 200 or so Goldies and 40 Chaffinch. Only one of a dozen Redpolls found a net along with the odd new Blackbird and Robin. Heading South were Turnstone, Gannet, 7 Common Scoter, 4 Reed Bunts, 17 Cormorant a Little Egret, a Mistle Thrush, Grey Plover and 7 Great-crested Grebes.

Friday 2nd November 2012

38 birds were ringed this morning including a new Firecrest, a couple of Golcrest, possibly the last Grey Wagtail of the Autumn and another dose of Lesser Redpolls. Pretty quiet out and about with 4 more Jays passing through, a couple of Southbound Crossbills and 100 Stock Doves being the highlights. 550 Goldies also headed South along with a few Chaffs, a dozen Swallows and 4 Rock Pipits. The minute snail pictured on October the 19th's blog has since been identified as Merdigera obscura, an uncommon species in Suffolk.

Ringing: Lesser Redpoll 16, Chaffinch 5, Blackbird 3, Song Thrush 3, Robin 3, Goldcrest 2, Goldfinch 2, Greenfinch, Firecrest, Wood Pigeon and Grey Wagtail = 38

Thursday 1st November 2012

A relatively quiet morning with the odd raptor being the highlight. A female Merlin and a Sparrowhawk passed through worrying the local finches, whilst the Peregrine dive bombed to pigeons above. The Little Owl was on his regular perch with no obvious sign of the alien one ringed yesterday. On site still 2 Firecrests, a Brambling, 4 Goldcrest and a couple of Redwing and Fieldfare.

Ringing: Blackbird 10, Goldcrest 3, Song Thrush 3, Robin 2, Lesser Redpoll 2, Greenfinch 1 and a Wood Pig. = 22

October 2012 Ringing Totals

A total of 1721 birds were ringed this month, almost a thousand more than this month last year. The last week contributed the bulk of the birds with 2 days of almost 300 ringed. This represents the 7th largest October total ever at the observatory. Notable for the site are the half dozen Jays (4 being the most ringed in a year previously) and the Waxwing, which was only the 2nd to be ringed here.

Robin228Wood Pigeon4
Lesser Redpoll211Brambling3
Song Thrush115Ring Ouzel3
Greenfinch105Great-spotted Woodpecker3
Goldfinch70House Sparrow2
Blackcap61Reed Warbler2
Meadow Pipit45Willow Warbler1
Long-tailed Tit20Sparrowhawk1
Great Tit19Coal Tit1
Blue Tit19Mistle Thrush1
Wren15Little owl1
Firecrest8Pied Wagtail1
Grey Wagtail7Total1721

Wednesday 31st October 2012

On the move 358 Goldies, 79 Woodies, 24 Siskin, 18 Swallows, 13 Lesser Redpoll, 8 Stockies, 5 Chaffs, 5 Linnets, 2 Reed Bunts & 2 Pied Wags going south. A handful of new birds of typical late October fare on site today in very low numbers. A new Little Owl was trapped with the two regular adults still present on their favoured perches. Offshore movements pathetic although 3 Gadwal were sat on the sea for a while. At least 2 Firecrests are still with us as is yesterdays Jay. 21 new birds ringed so far.

Tuesday 30th October 2012

Another big push of Woodpigeons today with 7200 heading south during the morning, some turning back briefly when harassed by the local Peregrine. Also on the move were 28 Siskin, 40 Chaffinch and Starling,  14 Swallow, 16 Mipits, 5 Jackdaw, a couple of Eider, 3 Gannet, A red-throated Diver and a lonely Waxwing. A very pleasant morning ringing with a small team saw a good bunch of Lesser Redpolls and Blackbirds ringed with British and Dutch controls of each respectively. 3 Firecrest remained on site but 2 Woodcock were the surprise catch of the day.


Ringing: Lesser Redpoll 31, Blackbird 26, Goldfinch 9, Greenfinch 6, Robin 4, Chaffinch 4 ,Blackcap 3, Goldcrest 2, Woodcock 2, Song Thrush 2, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Wren, and Jay = 93

Further entertainment was provided by an unfortunate error on the nearside of the docks as a container took and unscheduled dip.....

Monday 29th October 2012

With the vast majority of yesterdays Blackbirds seeming to have evacuated the site overnight todays ringing was a little more relaxed. 41 birds were ringed with 24 Blackbirds, 6 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Greenfinch, 2 Song Thrush, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Wren, 1, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin, and Chaffinch.

Moving through were 50 Brents, a couple of Dunlin, 3 Great-crested Grebe, 96 Goldfinch, 28 Stock Dove, 25 Common Scoter, 14 Skylark and a dozen Siskin

Sunday 28th October 2012

Cold, breezy, barely above freezing, belts of drizzle in the afternoon & loads of birds ! 7,000 Woodies south along with 129 Goldies, 99 Chaffs, 53 Greenies, 36 Siskin, 20 Stockies (at least), 16 Linnets, 10 Mipits, 10 Redpolls, 8 Skylarks, 5 Lapwing, 3 Pied Wags, Reed Bunting & Rook. Blackies continued to arrive all day with at least 400 passing through the site along with a handful of Fieldfares. Yesterdays Waxwing still with us plus another 17 coming in off the sea and heading straight inland over the docks. 10 Long-tailed Tits, 7 Jays & a Short-eared Owl also briefly paid us a visit. Also on site Bullfinch, Woodcock, Brambling plus a handful of new Goldcrests & a Firecrest (+2 others left over from recent days). Not many offshore movements noted but 2 Goldeneye are worth a mention. A Peregrine harassed several of the pigeon flocks passing through with a Little Owl possibly an alien as it was not on one of the usual perches. Quality autumn birding.

Ringing : 240 Blackies, 9 Chaffs, 8 Lesser Redpolls, 6 Lottis, 5 Goldcrests, 4 Robins, 3 Goldies, 3 Greenies, 2 Wren, Brambling, Firecrest, Blue Tit, Woodie  = 284 new birds.

Saturday 27th October 2012

A brief netting session before the sleet came in this morning. A few Blackbirds, Robins and Greenfinches were caught along with a Goldcrest and retrap Firecrest. Song Thrushes and Redwing appeared to have all cleared out over night but (presumably) one of yesterdays visitors evidently had roosted here overnight.


This is only the 2nd ever Waxwing to be trapped at the observatory and certainly cheered up the few hardy visitors on a cold morning! Elsewhere a Merlin was hanging about, at one point seeming to try and come into the obs in the rain. A few Eider and a Red-breasted Merganser passed through along with a Woodcock in off. Black Redstart, Brambling and Ring Ouzel were the best of the rest out on the reserve. In the afternoon a Snow Bunting was on the seaward side of the Butts, a Stock Dove came in off the sea & 17 Long-tailed Tits paid us a visit.

Friday 26th October 2012

Wildfowl were evidently on the move this morning with c3000 Brent Geese, 8 Shelduck, 3 Goldeneye, 320 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 100 Common Scoter, 2 Velvet Scoter, 4 Pintail an Eider and a Mallard passing by. Amongst them were 2 Red-throated Divers, 8 Red-breasted Merganser, a Dunlin, 6 Kittiwake, a Turnstone and half a dozen Gannet. The thrushes kept coming all day with 50 each of Blackbird and Song Thrush, 20 Redwing were hanging about too along with a fine adult male Ring Ouzel.

 A late Willow Warbler was ringed early on but the biggest surprise was a Waxwing Dropping at around 16:30, briefly using one of the net poles as a perch! Fairly quiet on the reserve with yesterdays Brambling amongst the usual finches, a Black Redstart at the mine station, 3 Firescrests around the obs and a few Redpoll passing through. Some visitors did report a possible Red-breasted Flycatcher but this could not be located sadly. Amongst the Robins caught was another control, this one bearing a Belgian ring.

Ringing: Song Thrush 15, Blackbird 13, Robin 10, Goldcrest 7, Redpoll 5, Chaffinch 4, Chiffchaff 3, Blackcap 2, Redwing 2, Willow Warbler, Ring Ouzel, and Greenfinch = 64

Thursday 25th October 2012

81 new birds ringed today with thrushes and finches being the main fare. As well as a few new Goldcrest in 2 Firecrests remained on site with one being from over a fortnight ago. A couple each of Ring Ouzel and Fieldfare were also on site as few Common Scoter, Wigeon, 4 Eider, a Stock Dove and 20 odd Swallows passed through. One of the Robins trapped later in the afternoon was bearing a Dutch ring, showing the origins of at least some of our winter visitors.

News came through today of a record of a Yellow-spotted Whiteface dragonfly sighted in front of the observatory back in May. Having submitted a description this record had been accepted by the powers that be and represents the first confirmed sighting in the UK for 150 years! A month or so later another individual was found up at Dunwich Heath,

Ringing: Blackbird 25, Goldfinch 17, Lesser Redpoll 9, Song Thrush 7, Greenfinch 7, Redwing 4, Goldcrest 4, Robin 2, Wren 2, Starling, Brambling,  House Sparrow and Great Tit = 79

Wednesday 24th October 2012

Quieter again today with only a few Robins and Blackbirds Lingering from the start of the week. 3 Firecrests were still on site along with a Rock Pipit, 3 Woodlark, Ring Ouzel, Reed Bunting a couple of Wheatear and 4 Chiffchaffs.

Wheatear (Allan King)

Ringing: Greenfinch 9, Blackbird 8, Robin 6, Song Thrush 5, Goldfinch 4, Chaffinch 3, Dunnock 2, Goldcrest, Lesser Redpoll and Blackcap = 40

Tuesday 23rd October 2012

Another busy day, even with most of the birds ringed yesterday seeming to have cleared out overnight. Fog persisted again throughout still 94 birds were ringed. Out and about were Snipe, Woodcock, 5 Skylark, 3 Short-eared Owl, Ring Ouzel, 3 Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, 4 Firecrest, 5 Brambling, 3 Wheatear and a Yellowhammer.

Ringing: Blackbird 45, Robin 21, Song Thrush 7, Goldfinch 6, Redwing 3, Lesser Redpoll 3, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Wood Pigeon and Ring Ouzel = 94

Short-eared Owl (Allan King)

Monday 22nd October 2012

A very busy day today with poor visibility due to persistent fog. 296 new birds were ringed, with Robins being the main feature. At least 200 were on site but likely many more. Thrushes were also evident with Blackbirds and Song Thrushes the main fare, though a few Redwing, Fieldfare and a Ring Ouzel were about too. 6 Black and 2 Common Redstarts were on the reserve along with Short Eared Owl, Merlin, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, 8 Brambling, 4 Firecrest, a couple of Lapwing and Woodcock and 2 Wheatear. The wind persists in the east tonight so perhaps another busy day tomorrow, and maybe the odd retrap Robin or 50!

Ringing: Robin 132, Blackbird 61, Song Thrush 44, Goldcrest 24, Chaffinch 10, Chffchaff 8, Blackcap 7, Redwing 7, Goldfinch, Brambling, Dunnock, Great Tit and Firecrest = 296. This is the 5th highest total of birds ringed in a day at the observatory since its establishment!

Sunday 21st October 2012

Filthy weather. Precipitation eased off for a short while to allow some ringing (38 new birds) before it had to be "red carded" due to the conditions. Loads of new birds in on site with at least 50 Songies, 40 Robins, 15 Goldcrests, 10 Chiffs, 4 Black Reds, 3 Blackcaps, Brambling, Wheatear, Whinchat, Stonechat & Pied Fly. Two flocks of Starlings totalling 320 birds came in off during the heavy rain late morning. Grey Heron & Lapwing also came in off. Offshore movements not riveting but did include a Red-throated Diver & a Merganser. At least one Firecrest from recent days is still with us. Obviously a lot more here than we have noted but the rain has precluded a lot of serious recording going on. Scarce Bordered Straw in the moth traps.

Saturday 20th October 2012

Another busy Saturday with just short of 100 birds ringed, a bit of variety too keeping our visitors from FSC happy. A dose more thrushes in with 20 Redwing, 50 Song Thrush and 54 Blackbirds. A few Starlings coming on off the sea later on joining the flock of around 250 already in residence. On the move 800 Goldfinches, 20 Pied Wags, 170 Wood Pigs, 180 Chaffinches, 24 Skylark, 3 Woodlark, 2 Reed Buntings and 34 Swallows. On site 3 Firecrest, Brambling, 2 Blackcap, Snipe and a lone Wheatear.

Ringing: 28 Greenfinch, 18 Lesser Redpoll, 11 Robins, 9 Chaffinch, 7 Blackbird, 6 Song Thrush, 6 Meadow Pipit, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Redwing, 2 Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail, Wood Pigeon and Jay = 99

Friday 19th October 2012

Despite some early morning shenanigans, with the predicted rain coming and going, a few new birds were ringed. Primarily in the finch department with 21 Lesser Redpoll, 14 Greenfinch and 6 Chaffinch. also making an appearance were Gold and Firecrest accompanied by a lonely Robin.

Amongst the Redpolls was this handsome chap

Elsewhere it was pretty quiet with a few early morning thrushes including a Ring Ouzel, the odd gang of Siskins and Mipits, 2 Firecrests, 3 Goldcrests, 9 Swallows, Snipe, Black Redsart and a solitary Reed Bunting. Non avian sightings included a couple of Grey Seal and a smart looking, if miniscule, snail. Any suggestions on species from Gastropod enthusiasts welcome!

Thursday 18th October 2012

Goldfinches were most obviously on the move this morning with over 400 heading through. 80 Siskin headed South too, along with a handful of Meadow Pipits and the odd Swallow. At least 2 Firecrests were on site amongst half a dozen Goldcrests and a few of the usual thrushes.. An adult male Ring Ouzel Trapped at dawn was an overdue addition to the autumns ringing totals, and was joined by a few Goldies and Greenfinches. A Jay dropped in in the afternoon followed by a band of angry tits and finches, both male and female Sparrowhawks were also hanging around most of the day.

Ring Ouzel

Ringing totals: Greenfinch 16, Goldfinch 8, Chaffinch 4, Blackbird 4, Goldcrest 2, Ring Ouzel, Redwing, Song Thrush, Wren, Blue Tit, Robin and a lone Blackcap = 41

Wednesday 17th October 2012

The gale & rain subsided not long after dawn to reveal very little. Ring Ouzel & a couple of thrushy types new in with both Fire & Goldcrest left over from recent days. A Rock Pipit and a dead juvenile Gannet was near the point with a Reed Bunting by the Butts pond. c.100 Greenies are feeding along the beach just above the tide line at the moment. A handful of Goldies, Skylarks & Swallows started moving south as the weather got better. Offshore movements dire. Hard work - but then again we are used to hard work !

Tuesday 16th October 2012

Hard work in the strong winds today. Very few birds on the move, the highlight being a large falcon species having a good go at a Brent Goose in the estuary. Nothing notable heading by apart from a Shag and a couple of Kittiwake close in. The long staying Firecrest still remained along with a single new Goldcrest. New in the moth Traps were Autumnal Rustic and Yellow-line Quaker. Late news of a Swallow x House Martin Hybrid briefly on site last Tuesday 9th October.

Swallow/House Martin hybrid (Adam Scott Kennedy)

Ringing: Greenfi ch 3, Chaffinch 2, Goldcrest, Blackbird and Song Thrush.

Monday 15th October 2012

Still a few Redpolls on the move with 12 ringed and a 3rd control in as many days. A bunch of 90 Greenfinches fed out on the shingle along with a few Goldfinches and Chaffs. 2 Rock Pipits headed over along with 3 Mistle thrush, half a dozen Siskin, 2 Skylark, a Grey Wag and 5 Rook. One of the PEregrines was up on the dock crane making the most of its favoured perch as the 2 other old cranes are dismantled below. A Firecrest ringed 6 days ago was retrapped showing just how well these little guys can hide up when the want to!

Ringing: Redpoll 12, Chaffinch 8, Greenfinch 4, Blackcap 2, Great Tit 2, Blue Tit 2, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Meadow Pipit = 33

Yesterdays Yellow-browed Warbler (Allan King)

Sunday 14th October 2012

A Yellow-browed Warbler was the star of the show this morning, feeding amongst the Holm Oaks for a few hours before disappearing. Migration was much reduced on yesterday with only a sparse selection of species. 60 Each of Chaffinch and Greenfinch headed South with 220 Goldfinch, a couple of House Martins, 40 Linnet, 15 Mipits, 5 each of Reed Bunting, Skylark and Stock Dove and  a dozen Swallow.

Ringing amounted to 37 birds: Lesser Redpoll 11, Chiffchaff 5, Chaffinch 5, Song Thrush 3, Goldcrest 3, Blackbird 2, Great Tit 2, Meadow Pipit, Wren, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Robin and Greenfinch.

Saturday 13th October 2012

An unexpectedly busy day today with over 100 birds ringed. Lesser Redpolls were the main visitors with 66 ringed, beating the previous day record of 44. 6 Ring Ouzels were on site with the usual thrushes, a Stonechat, 3 Brambling, with fly over Woodlark, Lapland Bunting and Tree Pipit. On the move 600+ Goldfinches, 10 Pied Wags, 2 Stock Dove, 17 Siskin, 100 Brents, 4 Grey Wags and 30 late Swallows.

Juvenile male Stonechat

Ringing totals: Lesser Redpoll 66, Chaffinch 10, Blackbird 6, Goldfinch 5, Grey Wagtail 3, Blue Tit 3, Chiffchaff 3, Robin 2, Wren 2, Great Tit 2, Stonechat, Blackcap, Sparrowhawk, Reed Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Greenfinch and Song Thrush.

Friday 12th October 2012

A good selection of birds around this morning, thrushes being the most evident early on with a few new Blackbirds, Redwing, Songys and a single Ring Ouzel. Wildfowl were definitely on the move with 1000 Brents, 380 Wigeon, 50 odd Teal, 6 Barnacle Geese a few Shoveler, Tufties, Pintal and Pochard and a single male Goldeneye. 7 Great Northern Divers and 2 Red-throated passed through along with 38 Skylark. Ringing amounted to 20 birds: Blackbird 6, Song Thrush 4, Robin 4, Chaffinch 2, Redwing 2, Coal Tit and a Goldcrest. The Coal Tit was the highlight being of the nominate continental race.

October Litter Pick

Litter Pick this Saturday 13th October 0930hrs start. All welcome. Further info on the events page of

Thursday 11th October 2012

A disappointing morning given the weather overnight with only 6 new birds ringed, a Mistle Thrush being the highlight, amongst singles of Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Goldfinch and Robin. A few bits and bobs out to sea including 520 Brents, 22 Pintail, a couple of Gannets and a Fulmar. On the reserve meagre offerings of a couple of Reed Bunting, 2 Jackdaw, 2 Skylark and yesterdays Firecrest. More surprising than the Mistle Thrush was a freshly dead adult Water Rail found on the path by a member of the public, with no obvious ailments it presumably collided with something overnight.

Water Rail

Wednesday 10th October 2012


A glorious sunny morning with a trickle of fairly predictable early October migrants here including a handful of new Chaffs, Goldies, Goldcrests, Firecrest, Blackie, Redpoll, Reed Bunt, Goldcrest, Great spot, Brambling & a dozen Long-tailed Tits. Wheatear still on the reserve & Sandwich Tern offshore. Vis mig & offshore movements very poor. In the moth traps the Delicate. Also worth a mention that following the finding of a Woodland Grasshopper in the moth trap a week ago several more were found on the reserve yesterday - how long have they been here ?

Tuesday 9th October 2012

A bit more evidence of migrants today, the most obvious being a dose of new thrushes early AM. With half a dozen new Blackbirds ringed, 5 continental type Song Thrushes and the first Redwing of the Autumn. A couple of unexpected sightings amongst the usual suspects included a Barn Owl roosting in the Holm Oaks and a brief flyover Hawfinch which disappeared over the docks. 2 male Firecrests were on site, Yesterdays bird and a new one, a Great-spotted Woodpeckers passed through briefly as did half a dozen Redpoll, a Reed Bunting and a Jackdaw.


Ringing amounted to 43 Birds by 16:30: Meadow Pipit 17, Balckbird 7, Song Thrush 5, Lesser Redpoll 3, Chaffinch 2, Blackcap 2 Blue Tit 2, Firecrest, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock and Redwing.

Monday 8th October 2012

Despite a good first round which included a juvenile male Firecrest, passerines were a bit thin on the ground. Apart from a couple of Skylark and Pied Wagtails movement was restricted to the sea with: 700 Brent Geese, 170 Wigeon, 56 Teal, 80 Gannet, 5 Pintail, 2 Red-throated Divers, 13 Common Scoter 9 Arctic and  3 Great Skuas. Also kicking around was a lone Redwing, Goldcrest, half a dozen Chaffinches, a Black Redstart, 2 Wheatear and a Snipe.

Ringing: Blackcap 3, Robin 2, Goldfinch 2, Firecrest, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock and Wren = 14.

Sunday 7th October 2012

Chilly clear start but then the dreaded fog rolled in for a while which put the mockers on it. Vis mig & sea watching consequently poor but did include 8 Canada Geese south which is odd for the time of the year. 8 Stockies south is also worth a mention. Bird of the day was undoubtedly a Hooded Crow that came in from the north before departing across the river into Essex - this is only the 6th site record. A selection of new birds in today included 2 Redwing, 2 Black Reds, Jay, Great-spot plus a handful of new Redpolls, Blackies, Goldcrests, Great Tits, Dunnocks, Blackcaps, Reed Bunts, Chaffinch, Wren & Blue Tit. A flock off 22 Blue & 8 Great Tits is quite good for us. Single Wheatear & Lesser throat are still with us on the reserve.

Saturday 6th October 2012

Fortunately a few birds were around for one of our annual migration mornings. A few Blackcaps, Chaffinches, Meadow Pipit and  Pied Wagtail were added to the ringing totals. No great numbers of birds passing through with 260 Goldfinch being the highest count amongst a few Chaffinches, Redpoll, Siskin and Greenys. At least 14 Magpies were on site along with 3 Jackdaws and 5 Carrion Crows. The first Long-tailed Tits of the autumn dropped in bringing with them a late Reed Warbler and a few Chiffchaffs. A couple more Jays were seen heading south over the docks along with two Common Buzzards

Friday 5th October 2012

Rain overnight and into the morning restricted movement somewhat, though a push of 145 Dunlin came through early on, joined by a couple of Sanderling, 24 Knot, a Grey Plover and 12 Bar-tailed Godwits. 70 each of Swallow and House Martin passed through with only 25 Meadow Pipits and a more respectable 340 Goldfinch. Ringing amounted to 9 birds; 3 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Meadow Pipits and a Robin.

Lesser Redpoll (Allan King)

Thursday 4th October 2012

A fruitful mornings migration watching produced over 3000 birds heading South. Top of the charts were 1800 Goldfinch, 600 Swallows, 500 House Martin, 350 Chaffinch, 330 Meadow Pipits. A few others passed through in smaller numbers including 40 Siskin, 8 Brambling, 25 Pied Wagtail, 5 Wheatear, 3 Skylark, 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow wagtail, a Grey Heron and 120 Linnets. As well as a couple of Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel Two Peregrines graced the remaining old style crane in the dock, whilst below the other two were demolished, will we see them as often once this last perch is removed?

Peregrine Perch

Ringing amounted to 40 birds: 11 Chiffchaff, 7 Meadow Pipits, 4 Chaffinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Blue Tit, 3 Blackcap, 2 Great Tit, 2 Wheatear, Robin, Goldcrest, Wren, Goldfinch and Dunnock. Amongst those was a control Goldcrest bearing a Dutch ring, obviously some of our winter visitors are making it through in these persistent Westerlies!

Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Another blustery day with a limited amount of passage. Still, a good few gangs of Mipits, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches battled through along with the odd Wagtail and hirundine. Ringing amounted to a handful of birds including a couple each of Lesser Redpoll, Meadow Pipit, Blackcap and the odd Wren and Dunnock. Two probable Lesnes Earwigs in the moth trap are a new species for the site, and a Black Rustic is the first for the year.

Tuesday 2nd October 2012

A productive morning with some sporadic visible migration as well as few birds in the bushes. 37 new birds of 12 species were ringed, perhaps the most unexpected being 3 juvenile Jays and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

As well as a steady stream of Meadow Pipits, Swallows, House Martins, Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Chaffinches heading South, a Tree Pipit, Reed Bunting, Yellow Wagtail , 2 Grey Wagtail, 10 Pied Wagtail, 3 Redpoll, 6 Siskin and 5 Jays joined them.

Ringing Totals: Blackcap 9, Chaffinch 8, Meadow Pipit 6, Jay 3, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2, Chiffchaff 2, Goldcrest 2, Grey Wagtail 1, Goldfinch 1, Wren 1, Robin 1, Song Thrush 1.

Monday 1st October 2012

Showers on and off all morning prevented much ringing this morning, still 7 Blackcaps of maybe a dozen site were ringed along with singles of Dunnock, Chiffchaff and Robin. 3 Goldcrest lingered that were ringed in previous days, along with the odd Robin, Song Thrush, 2 Wheatear and a Snipe which dived onto the reserve early on. Passing through the odd Tern, a few Brents, half a dozen Swallows, Pintail, Wigeon and a few House Martin.

September 2012 Ringing Totals

A total of 377 birds of 37 species were ringed this September, down about 100 on last year and lowest total since 2007. A continued battering of Westerly winds certainly didn't help us, with the brief window of Easterlies rescuing what was on track to be the poorest September ever! Full totals are below, no particular oddities or scarce species though the Manx Shearwater found in the docks was not one we expected to be on the list for the year!

Chiffchaff 57 Great-spotted Woodpecker 4
Meadow Pipit 48 Wren 3
Robin 39 Blackbird 3
Willow Warbler 39 Great Tit 3
Blackcap 30 Reed Warbler 2
Whitethroat 20 Swallow 2
Goldcrest 14 Lesser Redpoll 2
Greenfinch 12 Garden Warbler 2
Blue Tit 11 House Sparrow 2
Song Thrush 10 Pied Flycatcher 1
Dunnock 9 Brambling 1
Chaffinch 8 Sparrowhawk 1
Goldfinch 8 House Martin 1
Starling 8 Manx Shearwater 1
Sedge Warbler 7 Lesser Whitethroat 1
Redstart 7 Yellow Wagtail 1
Linnet 7 Wheatear 1
Grey Wagtail 6 Spotted Flycatcher 1
Wood Pigeon 5 TOTAL 377