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Saturday 13th December 2014

A Great-northern Diver flew in off fairly high heading inland over Dovercourt & Harwich to presumably drop in on the River Stour for some crabbing having been out to sea to fish. Offshore heading south 35 Golden Plover, 25 Teal, 6 Red-throated Diver & north bound 7 Red-throated Diver & 7 Brent. On the reserve 4 Snow Bunting, Mistle Thrush plus a Linnet flying south. Little Owls are very vocal at the moment as pair bonds & territories are set up.

Ringing: 1 Chaffinch

Friday 12th December 2014

Plenty of Cormorants & seagulls plus up to 14 Gannets following shipping. Also noted heading south 14 Red-throated Diver, 4 Great-crested Grebe, 3 Grey Plover & Knot plus heading north 2 Red-throated Diver & Brent Goose. On the reserve the only migrant noted was a Mistle Thrush.

Thursday 11th December 2014

A Woodcock was flushed alongside View Point Road in the half light early on. Increasing winds plus more shipping offshore stirring thinks up resulted in more effort being put into staring out to sea. Plenty of seagulls & Cormorants but otherwise sightings were limited to north bound 14 Red-throated Diver, Gannet & south bound 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great-crested Grebe, Gannet & Common Scoter. Another Gannet was following ships as were 7 Kitts. Around the site 2 Redwing were new in & a Stock Dove put in an appearance. A large rotund female Sparrowhawk trapped was over 25% heavier than the last one caught (or is that just a recently consumed Blackbird in it's crop ?).

Ringing: 1 Sparrowhawk.

Wednesday 10th December 2014

Basic winter coverage this morning although i get the impression if a lot of effort had been put in it wouldn't have made much difference. Offshore in about 40 mins heading south 4 Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver & heading north 5 Red-throated Diver & a Common Scoter. 1 Skylark south also noted.

Tuesday 9th December 2014

Obviously some new Blackies still passing through the site along with a new male Chaffinch present at the biggie end of the scale. Most years right at the end of the migration season (mid-November to early December) we get the odd Chaffinch turn up with big wing lengths which have presumably come from further afield than most of the ones we get. Difficult to know where the new Blackies are from which could just be late passage from the continent or birds from northern Britain moving south to the coast to escape harsher weather conditions - either way they are migrating at a time of year when birding to find new migrants is hard graft. Finally the mild conditions up until the last few days have prompted this Med Gull to start developing his black hood already. It's part read ring number suggests it is one we have ringed here in a previous winter but not sure which one. If you have a half decent camera & have nothing better to do then loiter in the View Point car park photographing gulls legs from different angles and sending us the photos/numbers then we would be most grateful - in the biting wind this afternoon I was in danger of getting hypothermia so I whimped out.

Ringing: 3 Blackbird, 1 Chaffinch.

Monday 8th December 2014

Glorious & sunny with a wintry feel about it. A small arrival of roughly 25 Blackies plus a couple of Songies new in on site. 4 Wood Pigeons went high south but offshore movements were limited to Cormorants coming and going and literally nothing else apart from gulls in an hour starring out to sea early on.

Ringing: 3 Blackbird

Sunday 7th December 2014

A piebald adult male Blackbird was obviously new in as not seen one round the observatory for a long time. A new British race Songie also new on site has probably moved down to the coast as winter sets in. Looking out to sea for any movements extremely tedious with just 4 Teal, 3 Shelduck, Red-throated Diver & Snipe moving south in over an hours observation although on the plus side the Kittiwake count behind shipping has just squeezed into double figures and a Pom Skua put in an appearance. After no moths in the traps for the last six nights and an upcoming chilly week forecast they have been packed away for the winter.

Ringing: 2 Wood Pigeon, 1 Song Thrush, 1 House Sparrow