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Saturday 12th May 2012

18 birds ringed this morning after less than ideal weather overnight. 5 Whitethroats, 5 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Reed Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Linnet, Wheatear and Chiffchaff. Out and about were Firecrest, 19 Wheatear, Turtle Dove, Whinchat, 4 Yellow Wagtail and a Hobby. A southbound Female Marsh Harrier was also observed early on. 23 Little Tern, 18 Common Tern, 4 Whimbrel,8 Swift, 37 Swallow, 48 Dunlin and 19 Common Scoter were also on the move. A Grey Squirrel out on the reserve was an odd sighting for the day!

Friday 11th May 2012

A 3rd nice fall of birds of the month today, with good numbers of warblers accompanied by Spotted Flycatchers and a lone Firecrest. 63 Birds were ringed as of 7pm with a Wood Warbler first thing and 8 Spotted Flycatchers being the highlights. Elsewhere throughout the day a male Serin sang briefly from the Holm Oaks, a Turtle Dove settled in the compound, 3 Hobbys passed through and Red-rumped Swallow and female Marsh Harrier went South. A lot more movement today characterised by 290 Swallows, 74 House Martin, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Sand Martin, and 50 Swift all heading South.

Terns were all heading North with 4 Little, 11 Common and 5 Sandwich, whilst later in he day 12 Little and 10 Common fed in the estuary. Other warblers around included 2 Sedge and 3 Reed, none of which were ringed, with at least 40 Whitethroat, 20 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffs and 6 Lesser Whitethroat.

Ringing totals c1900: 21 Whitethroat, 18 Willow Warbler, 8 Spotted Flycatcher (at least 11 present), 3 Garden Warbler, 3 Wheatear, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, and singles of Wood Warbler, Woodpigeon, Firecrest, Lesser Whitethroat and Long-tailed Tit.

Thursday 10th May 2012

Another late start due to rain, but extended netting into the afternoon was rewarded with a new female Redstart. 7 Other birds ringed: 2 Blackcap, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler and A Sparrowhawk. The latter bird brought with it the remnants of a Wheatear, ringed here 2 days earlier. 13 still surviving Wheatears were out on the reserve which also hosted 2 Cuckoos, 1 of which headed straight over and for the shores of Essex.

Some excitement on the Movement front as distant Osprey was seen going South around 08:50, but 15 minutes later a ringtail Montagu's Harrier passed North very close in. Also on the move North was Single Whimbrel, with this Bunch all heading South - 2 Common Scoter, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Swift, 4 Sand Martin, 80 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 18 Goldfinch, a Yellowhammer and a Redpoll.

In other news the observatory now has a shiny new Twitter account which can be found @LandguardObs

May Litter Pick

Beach Litter Pick this Saturday 12th May 0930hrs start, All welcome. Usual arrangements - further details on the Events page of

Wednesday 9th May 2012

A few hirundines around today with 71 Swallow going South, along with 4 Sand Martin and a House Martin. 4 Swift, 10 Black-headed Gulls, 51 Goldfinch and 2 Mallard headed the same direction with Single Common Tern, Cormorant and Whimbrel going North. White Wagtail, Whinchat and 22 Wheatear were the best of the rest out on the reserve. The first Firecrest of the month was ringed early morning along with 21 other birds: Whitethroat 7, Wheatear 5, Blackcap 3, Garden Warbler 3, Sedge Warbler 2, 1 Willow Warbler and 1 Chaffinch. A Fox with 2 cubs was also seen heading our way out of the dock complex.

Tuesday 8th May 2012

Although rain hampered ringing efforts early on it soon cleared out and 24 birds wire ringed over the course of the day, including 8 Wheatear, a Spotted Flycatcher and 7 Whitethroats. The Wryneck was not seen today though the male Black Redstart still remained. 3 Whimbrel North and 13 Swallows, a Yellow Wagttail, and 25 Goldfinch South were the highlights of any movement, with no terns being seen all morning. The years first juvenile Starlings were out feeding with parents on the reserve.

Male Black Redstart on the fort roof (Alan King)

Monday 7th May 2012

A clearer morning than forecast led to few birds than perhaps hoped with the S/E winds. 18 birds were ringed over the course of the morning, with the Wryneck eventually finding its way into the compound for a ring. The Tawny Pipit was not located again sadly but the male Black and Common Redstarts still brought a bit of colour to the reserve, with a supporting cast of at least 26 Wheatears.

Yesterday's Tawny Pipit (Bill Mackie)

On the move were 12 Little Terns, 9 Common Terns, an Arctic Tern, 11 Cormorant, aYellow Wagtail, a Grey Heron, an Oystercatcher and a single Swallow North, and 1 Little Tern, 33 Swallow, 2 Greylags, 2 Whimbrel , 3 Yellow Wagtail and a Curlew South.

Ringing: Blackcap 4, Whitethroat 6, Robin 2, Chiffchaff 2, Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Wryneck, and Woodpigeon.

Sunday 6th May 2012

Quality rather than quantity today, with a male Black Redstart being the highlight of the 4 birds ringed. The Wryneck was still out on the reserve showing well and a Tawny pipit was found later in the day also, which drew in the crowds. a male and female Redstart were feeding out in front of the obs along with 17 Wheatears. Very little movement with 20 Black-headed Gulls and a swift South, and 3 Cormorant, 15 Common Tern and 2 Swift North.