LBO Home Page

December Ringing Totals

A total of 42 birds of 8 species ringed this month. All of these were caught in the Helgoland trap and it is our highest December ringing total for 15 years.

Greenfinch 25 Wood Pigeon 1
Goldfinch              6 Blackcap         1
Blackbird               3 Chiffchaff 1
Chaffinch               3
House Sparrow      2

Thursday 31st December 2015

Just in case anyone has Cormorant photo withdrawal symptoms here's some heading out over the obs. Apart from this regular spectacle at this time of the year heading south this morning 452 Golden Plover, 51 Shelduck, 25 Brent, 15 Pintail, 3 Gadwal, 2 Teal & Red-throated Diver. Despite the strong winds Mrs Collared Dove is siting tight on her clutch with a walk around the site producing the Chiffchaff but little else with most of the regular overwintering birds here keeping there heads down.

Ringing: 3 greenfinch

Wednesday 30th December 2015

Glaucous Gull knocking about again this morning in a southerly gale. Pomarine Skua went north and several Bonxies going both ways and harassing gulls probably only involved a couple of individuals but who knows considering the regular sightings we are getting this winter. On the move southbound 55 Kitts (+15 in dock area behind) 65 Teal, 42 Shelduck, 23 Brent, 10 Wigeon, 7 Gannet, 5 Dunlin, 2 Gadwal, 2 Red-breasted Merganser, Red-throated Diver, Pochard, Goldeneye, Knot & Curlew plus northbound 7 Red-throated Diver. At least 273 Cormorants flew out to sea this morning to feed despite the gale. Pochard is the most notable of the species listed above as we don't get many records each year and with the numbers utilising the UK plummeting in recent years then they are likely to become even more notable.

Tuesday 29th December 2015

A first-winter type Glaucous Gull was around and about all morning amongst the assorted big gulls (don't try looking for it in pic above as it's not there !). Southbound 145 Brent, 83 Shelduck, 70 Teal, 65 Wigeon, 61 Pintail, 21 Black-headed Gull, 6 Red-throated Diver, 6 Kitts, 4 Mallard, 3 Curlew, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Oyks, 2 Barwits, 2 Dunlin, Little Egret, Knot & Common Gull plus 20 Common Scoter & 2 Gannet offshore. 13 Siskin went south and in the compound at least 2 Goldcrests & a Chiffchaff are still with us.

Ringing: 2 greenfinch

Monday 28th December 2015

A handful of records accumulated before this mornings litter pick including southbound 70 Golden Plover, 16 Shelduck, 14 Brent & 1 Oyk plus northbound 3 Red-throated Diver. In the passerine department 5 Siskin went north & a Skylark south. That's your lot !

Sunday 27th December 2015

Perseverance (or martyrdom) in the poor light with occasional drizzle staring offshore produced southbound 469 Golden Plover, 48 Brent, 42 Kitts, 4 Common Gull, 3 Gannet, 3 Wigeon, 3 Bonxie, 2 Red-throated Diver & Shelduck plus northbound Red-throated Diver, Gannet & Oyk. A Chiffchaff on site is presumably the one from recent days. The vast bulk of the Golden Plovers came past in one go causing speculation as to where they are feeding overnight now that we have sussed they are spending the day time roosting in Hamford Water.

Ringing: 2 greenfinch, 1 house sparrow.

Christmas Litter Pick

This years Christmas Litter Pick will be on Bank Holiday Monday 28th December 0930hrs start. More details on the Events page of

Saturday 26th December 2015

What was presumably yesterdays Chiffchaff decided to turn up in the Helgoland trap & it looks pretty bog standard. Mild & windy day with starring offshore for a few of hours in the morning hard graft producing southbound 43 Brent, 7 Teal, 4 Golden Plover, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Teal, 2 Bonxies, & Wigeon plus northbound 5 Brent.

Ringing: 1 chiffchaff

Friday 25th December 2015

26 Siskin went south & a Chiffchaff on site that did not allow those present to get there bins on it are this mornings notables. 447 Cormorants went out fishing but other offshore movements negligible. Just to prove the Collared Doves have started nesting this one only on one egg so far but will presumably lay another imminently as clutch size is always two. Spring's coming !

Thursday 24th December 2015

The shifting sands of Landguard that looks impressive when your out there but in a still photo not so. A Sooty Shearwater hacking north is late in the year and two sightings of Pomarine Skua that maybe/possibly/probably/definitely relate to the same individual. Also battling south 60 Shelduck, 24 Kitts, 17 Pintail, 11 Common Gull, 8 Brent, 3 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Golden Plover, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Guillemot & Oyk plus northbound at great speed with the wind up their jacksie 6 Red-throats & Gannet. A walk around the reserve was brazing but largely birdless.

Ringing: 1 greenfinch.

Wednesday 23rd December 2015

Just when one thinks autumn is done and dusted a "tristis" Chiffchaff appears in the Holm Oaks. A walk around at high tide produced 16 Ringos on the beach & 3 Turnstone on the groynes in front of the Butts. The high tide winter roost of Ringos rarely happens these days and the number of regular wintering Turnstone has gone to pot in line with a nationwide decline in this species. 344 Cormorants went out fishing this morning but very few other offshore movements as the currant bun was out (not that we are going to moan about that as it was good to see it). Moan - us moan - wouldn't dream of it especially now we are past the winter solstice and the days should start getting longer.

Ringing: 1 house sparrow

Tuesday 22nd December 2015

442 Golden Plover south this morning heading to Hamford Water which apparently holds between 500 - 1,500 roosting birds at this time of the year. Windy old morning produced just a handful of movers & shakers in the form of southbound 28 Black-headed Gull, 16 Shelduck, 8 Kitts, 6 Brent, 6 Knot, 4 Oyk, 4 Common Gull, 3 Wigeon, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Great-crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Grey Plover & Dunlin plus northbound 3 Brent, Red-throated Diver & Gannet. The highlight of the morning was the sausage rolls and mince pies with a cup of char !

Monday 21st December 2015

487 Cormorants flew out to sea & 180 Golden Plover went south. As GP's forage a lot at night maybe they are feeding in south Suffolk and going into Essex to roost during the day contrary to the suggestion in yesterdays blog written before engaging brain cells. If any readers out there know what GP's are up to in the Walton backwaters and Hamford Water area during the day then please drop us an e.mail to as it's not a part of the world we go to. A handful of the regular species going past offshore this morning in low numbers with a Ringed Plover coming in off from way out then heading up over the obs inland being the only record of note. This is not normal Ringo behaviour for the time of year and it's presumably a bird coming in from the continent for the winter. The local Peregrines are only occasionally seen during the autumn but once into December they become much more obvious as they spend more time on territory ready for the spring.

Ringing: 1 greenfinch

Sunday 20th December 2015

In the good 'ol days one only saw winter movements of Golden Plover during cold weather whereas in recent winters flocks heading south in the morning have become more routine. Presumably they roost somewhere to the north of us and risk going into Essex for some day time foraging. Southbound today were 110 Golden Plover, 49 Brent, 5 Wigeon, 4 Shelduck, 2 Red-throated Diver & Common Gull plus northbound 9 Red-throated Diver, 6 Brent & 4 Common Scoter. Overland 19 Siskin, 4 Goldfinch & Mipit went south with a Fieldfare dropping in briefly on site.

Ringing: 4 greenfinch

Saturday 19th December 2015

Kitts have been scarce all autumn so it's good to note 80 southbound this morning. Also on the move 222 Golden Plover, 6 Brent, 5 Teal, 3 Shelduck, 2 Red-throated Diver, 2 Wigeon, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Common Gull, 2 Bonxie, 1 Oyk, 1 Grey Plover & 1 Redshank plus north bound 50 Teal, 13 Red-throats, 6 Brent & Common Scoter. A Mistle Thrush is the best of the birds on site.

Ringing: 1 greenfinch, 1 goldfinch.

Friday 18th December 2015

Ridiculously mild. 330 Cormorants headed out this morning with the first ones from 0740hrs when it's barely getting light. Apart from that not a lot with 2 Siskin, Meadow Pipit & a Golden Plover heading south. Otherwise it's the usual birds in the usual places with the warm conditions meaning that the 2 Goldcrests attempting to overwinter in the Holm Oaks shouldn't have any difficulty finding enough to eat despite the short day length at this time of the year.

Thursday 17th December 2015

Still some visible migration with 9 Goldfinch, 7 Siskin & 2 Chaffinch heading south. This years ongoing Siskin movements have been unprecedented with birds noted in every month except January begging the question - why ? 40 Golden Plover flew south over the obs with offshore movements barely worth a mention. Rock Pipit on the point is presumably one that is attempting to overwinter here.

Wednesday 16th December 2015

Sea watching up to 0930hrs produced southbound 124 Wigeon, 111 Golden Plover, 87 Teal, 48 Shelduck, 32 Lapwing, 29 Brent, 14 Red-throated Diver, 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Knot, 4 Common Gull, 2 Mallard, 2 Shoveler, 2 Goldeneye, Great Northern Diver, Red-breasted Merganser, Pomarine Skua & Bonxie, northbound 8 Red-throated Diver & an Oyk plus 268 Cormorants heading out to sea from inland. The highlight of a perambulation around the peninsular produced a Rock Pipit on the groynes in front of the Butts.

Ringing: 1 greenfinch

Tuesday 15th December 2015

Damp and dreary old morning with poor visibility deteriorating into rather unpleasant drizzle as the morning went on. A few bits noted moving offshore despite the inclement conditions including southbound 15 Black-headed Gulls, 10 Common Scoter, 8 Red-throated Diver, 7 Brent, 3 Snipe, Great-crested Grebe, Shelduck & Oyk. Only 186 Cormorants flew out to go fishing this morning and in this murk they didn't bother going out until 0930hrs. 2 Fieldfare were here first thing & a Mipit flew north. The Collared Doves are looking a bit furtive so one suspects they may have started nesting in these mild conditions.

Monday 14th December 2015

After the dismal showing of recent days offshore movements were positively riveting in comparison. Although it's mild here Northern Britain has seen some cold weather which is probably responsible for the following trickling southbound movements of 154 Wigeon, 150 Teal, 132 Shelduck, 101 Brent, 53 Red-throated Diver, 46 Black-headed Gulls, 21 Kitts, 16 Mergansers, 14 Pintail, 14 Shoveler, 14 Goldeneye, 14 Common Gull, 14 Dunlin, 12 Common Scoter, 9 Knot, 6 Mallard, 6 Pochard, 3 Oyks, 2 Curlew, 2 Bonxie, Great-crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Velvet Scoter & Redshank plus northbound 20 Brent, Shelduck & Guillemot. It just goes to show that it's not necessarily the weather here that matters but the weather elsewhere where the birds come from that matters. 2 Redwing were here first thing before departing inland & a flock of 30 Linnet is notable for December. The "inner ridge" buoy is not very close to the observatory watch point so you will be excused if you fail to identify the above.

Ringing: 1 wood pigeon, 1 chaffinch.

Sunday 13th December

Flat calm and raining is not conducive for much enthusiasm - in theory it should be good to pick up anything sitting on the sea if there was anything out there. Offshore movements limited to southbound 17 Shelduck, 7 Brent, 4 Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter & Barwit plus northbound 15 Common Scoter & 3 Wigeon. A Grey Heron in off was a bit more notable as it makes it's way to the UK for the winter. Even the gulls were not very active this morning and the bulk of the Cormorants didn't go out fishing until 0930hrs. Maybe it's not just us that don't like dull wet dreary mid-December days. Now where's the Valium kept ?

Saturday 12th December 2015

At least the rain held off for the first couple of hours. Not a lot achieved apart from starring out to sea which produced southbound 12 Red-throated Diver, 10 Kitts, 3 Merganser, 3 Oyk, 2 Brent, 2 Shelduck, 2 Wigeon, 2 Common Scoter, 2 Barwits, Teal & Knot plus northbound 10 Common Scoter, 6 Brent, 4 Red-throats & a Teal. A Reed Bunting in the Holm Oaks had presumably roosted here overnight and departed south. Some vis mig was apparent  in the shape of southbound 22 Goldfinch, 19 Siskin & 2 Mipit. It's good to get some Red-throats offshore this morning as they have been noticeable by there absence so far this winter which is not due to lack of fish as plenty of Whiting are being caught by fishermen and the sea is supporting good numbers of big gulls and Cormorants. Sulphur Tuft is a very common and widespread fungus on decaying wood that is here in small patches.

Friday 11th December 2015

Hunt the Meadow Pipit was successful on the reserve but just the one - yes folks it's that time of the year when it is extremely predictable down here. Offshore, after yesterday's "Bonxie fest", was very poor with southbound 23 Brent, 7 Common Scoter, Gannet & Shelduck plus northbound 5 Brent. Plenty of big gulls behind shipping with 595 Cormorants heading out to feed means it is not birdless, just a tad uninspiring. In the bushes at least 2 Goldcrest are lingering but otherwise it's the usual birds in the usual places. Hopefully we are not going to have a long mild winter or it will be difficult to find much to eulogize about.

Ringing: 1 chaffinch

Thursday 10th December 2015

Thumper recycling the last remaining Lilac leaves as they fall to the ground. It would be good to give you a photo of one of the 12 Bonxie's that flew south but none were close enough for that so you will have to put up with a photo of a bunny rabbit. Back in "the good old days" Bonxies were scarce here and non-existent in the winter but they have evolved to winter further north but this number is exceptional for this the time of the year. Also southbound 29 Dunlin, 20 Pintail, 12 Shelduck, 10 Teal, 5 Brent, 5 Wigeon, 3 Gannet, 3 Red-throated Diver, Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Scoter, Guillemot & the first Long-tailed Duck we have noted so far this year. Northbound 4 Common Scoter, Guillemot & Red-throated Diver. Plenty of Gulls behind shipping plus a handful of Gannets & Kitts. The only Vis Mig sighting was a single Mipit south. The moth traps were packed away for the winter this morning so don't expect any more moth records this year.

Ringing: 6 greenfinch.

Wednesday 9th December 2015

With a sunrise like this not a lot of staring out to sea but at least some vis mig in the form of southbound 26 Siskin, 23 Goldfinch, 6 Mipit, 2 Skylark, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Linnet & a Lapwing that narrowly avoided becoming breakfast for Mr Peregrine. On site 2 Redwing, Mistle Thrush plus the Rock Pipit on the point. Offshore, as the sun went round, Bonxie seen loitering in the shipping lane. Interestingly the Cormorants didn't go out fishing in force until 0930hrs this morning so are movements tidal as well as weather related ?

4 birds ringed: 3 goldfinch, 1 blackbird.

Tuesday 8th December 2015

Dull with drizzle or rain up to mid-morning deterred any visible migration although a few bits & bobs heading southwards offshore including 12 Teal, 3 Brent, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Goosander, 2 Golden Plover & 2 Dunlin. Also 2 Gannets went north & a Bonxie loitered just offshore in the shipping lane parasitising the gulls. We seem to be having a half decent autumn for Goosander records as this is not a particularly regular species noted here. In the bushes a late autumn female Blackcap is notable but considering how mild it is nothing surprises us any more. c.400 Starlings are currently gathering late afternoon wheeling around the dock lighting towers before going to roost somewhere in the dock complex. Another indicator of how mild it is, is this Diamond-back Moth, which may be a late migrant that has come north in the warm southerlies experienced presently.

4 birds ringed: 2 greenfinch, 1 blackbird, 1 blackcap.

Monday 7th December 2015

Moon and Venus in the same shot - just ! (and there was me thinking that Venus was bigger than the Moon ?). Very mild and the wind has dropped so two male Collared Doves cavorting around a female this morning plus a Song Thrush is singing his little heart out. Still some visible migration with southbound 74 Siskin, 6 Goldfinch & a Mipit. Offshore still dire although a Great-northern Diver flew north late morning with the only other record worth a mention being 9 Golden Plover. The Cormorants came out a lot later this morning with a mere 578 counted. Why they go fishing later some days than others is open to speculation although it is possibly weather related. Finally good to hear a Little Owl screaming his head off as this is being written.

Ringing: 1 greenfinch.

Sunday 6th December 2015

Still blowing a hoolie & the Cormorant record gone again with 784 heading out to sea to feed this morning. If you get bored of reading about the weather & Cormorants then look away now and come back in the spring as, the way things are at the moment, there ain't going to be a lot else to write about. Offshore big gulls and the odd Gannet following ships with a Bonxie joining them late morning. Movements poor with south bound 18 Golden Plover, 2 Kitts, Brent Goose & Red-throated Diver plus northbound 2 Red-throats, Brent & Oyk. 2 Siskin battling south was the only landbird movement. Winter Stalkball is a small fungi that occurs here in large numbers - it's an interesting little critter in that it occurs on calcareous dunes and lime rich areas so presumably is here due to the fact that lime was a common building material at the time the military defences were built and the lime is leaching out of the old concrete structures.

Ringing: 1 greenfinch.

Saturday 5th December 2015

Red sky in the morning birders warning ! Tad windy this morning. 689 Cormorants headed out to go fishing. Also noted southbound 67 Golden Plover 9 Brent, 9 Kitts, 4 Pintail, 3 Dunlin, 2 Wigeon, Red-throated Diver, Shelduck, Common Scoter, Grey Plover, northbound a single Guillemot plus 9 Gannet following a ship coming in. Single Fieldfare only land bird of note but in this wind birding not easy.

Friday 4th December 2015

Just 538 Cormorants flew out this morning. The only sighting of note in a day with little coverage was a Redpoll first thing plus one of the Goldcrests from the autumn is still loitering on site. Worth a mention is that a lot of Sycamore leaves are still hanging on this autumn - or should we be calling it winter by now ?

Ringing: 1 chaffinch

December Litter Pick

Usual monthly Litter Pick this Saturday 5th December 2015 0930hrs start. Further information on the events page of

Thursday 3rd December 2015

A late autumn Mistle Thrush popped in briefly & on a stroll around the nature reserve a Snipe was flushed that then departed inland. South bound went 48 Siskin, 13 Goldfinch & 4 Linnet. Offshore movements poor although a few Gannets following shipping is the norm lately and the usual mass of Cormorants went out fishing first thing.

The wind must have abated during the night for this Beautiful Plume to drop into a moth trap.

Wednesday 2nd December 2015

At least 767 Cormorants headed out to sea this morning which breaks the record - again ! Offshore hard work but worth a mention were south bound 17 Golden Plover, 8 Brent, 4 Common Scoter, Great-northern Diver, Red-breasted Merg & Curlew plus 11 Gannet following a ship in. Still some visible migration with 54 Siskin, 29 Goldfinch, 3 Linnet, Brambling & Little Egret heading south. On the reserve just the stuff that intends wintering here plus a brief appearance by a Snow Bunting. In the moth traps the odd migrant, like Dark Sword Grass, still showing up.

Ringing: 2 goldfinch

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Mist nets taken down for the winter this morning. Heading south this morning 12 Mipits, 2 Skylark, Rock Pipit & Goldfinch plus offshore 19 Golden Plover & 15 Knot. The usual "flight" of Cormorants was impressive again this morning with at least 691 heading out to sea. On the reserve a single Snow Bunting pitched in after flying over the observatory from the riverbank & a Rock Pipit was on the point. Mild conditions mean that a couple of moths were in the traps including Dark Chestnut which has been scarcer than usual for some reason this autumn.

Ringing: 1 blackbird.

Ringing Recovery

It was a surprise to find that the adult female Dutch ringed Blackbird caught here last week on 23/11/15 was the same bird that was caught here on 15/10/2014. It had been originally ringed 153km away at Westkapelle, Walcheren, Zeeland, The Netherlands on 04/10/2014. It is not the norm to retrap migrant Blackbirds here on consecutive years albeit a month later on passage this year than last.

November Ringing Totals

224 birds of 21 species ringed during the month including our first Pied Wheatear & only our third ever Waxwing.

Blackbird 77 House Sparrow  4
Lesser Redpoll  39 Wood Pigeon 2
Chaffinch 20 Sparrowhawk 1
Long-tailed Tit 14 Waxwing 1
Goldcrest 12 Pied Wheatear 1
Goldfinch 10 Fieldfare 1
Greenfinch 9 Dunnock 1
Song Thrush 8 Chiffchaff 1
Blackcap  7 Brambling  1
Redwing 6
Robin 5
Wren 4

Monday 30th November 2015

Rain so far & although it's due to stop for a while mid-day it's due to start again this afternoon. 344 Cormorants flew out to sea early on (I say early on but even they didn't bother getting up very early today) & 5 Common Scoter went south in about 1.5 hrs observation. Apart from that it's seagulls behind ships. If anyone pops down here later in the day & sees owt of note this blog will get updated later.

Shaggy Scalycap is, in my opinion, one of the better looking fungi with these ones coming up in exactly the same spot as they appeared last year.

Sunday 29th November 2015

With the weather as it is over the next few days, staring out to sea is likely to be the best chance of seeing anything. Today was no exception, as a total of 61 Golden Plover, 15 Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Common Scoter all went south, and 14 Gannet, 1 Bonxie, at least 1 Kittiwake and an adult Med Gull(above), were hanging around offshore.

Ringing only produced 1 bird, a House Sparrow.

Saturday 28th November 2015

Clear cold start plus the highest tides of the autumn & good early morning views of the moon. Autumn migration is rapidly grinding to a halt with south bound a few laggards in the form of 48 Siskin, 9 Goldfinch, 2 Skylark, 2 Mipit & 2 Stock Doves southbound. In the bushes a handful of new Blackies on site plus another late migrating Goldcrest. Offshore barely bothered with due to the glorious early sunshine in one's eyes but either side of the "currant bun" movements looked lamentable. The gull numbers behind shipping is picking up if the light would be kind enough to allow us to go through them properly.

9 birds ringed: 4 blackbird, 1 chaffinch, 1 goldfinch, 1 greenfinch, 1 house sparrow, 1 goldcrest.

Friday 27th November 2015

A small arrival of about 40 Blackies, 26 Fieldfare & 16 Redwing this morning mostly fairly quickly moved inland. The bushes otherwise typically quiet although a Blackcap was noted. Offshore at least 21 Gannets following shipping with the gulls, a "ringtail" Hen Harrier went south, Bonxie north and a Shag was sat on the sea for a while. Other offshore movements were paltry.

18 birds ringed: 13 blackbird, 2 greenfinch, 1 redwing, 1 house sparrow, 1 chaffinch.

Thursday 26th November 2015

After a cold start the morning warmed up nicely into a sunny day, and the birding improved as the morning went on also, as this stunning adult male Waxwing, that appeared just before mid-day shows. Other birds of note were 61 Siskin south along with 3 Brambling, 2 Fieldfare and 8 Lesser Redpoll, whilst the Short-eared Owl again put in an appearance along the beach and butts.

On the insect front, this male Winter moth appeared in the moth traps overnight and, although common and widespread in Britain is exceptional at Landguard. Also a Red Admiral butterfly was seen around the Buddlejas at the southern end of the compound.

10 birds were ringed including the Waxwing, also 3 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Chaffinch,2 Blackbird, 1 Greenfinch and 1 Wren.

Wednesday 25th November 2015

Still small numbers of finches are on the move, with 36 Goldfinch south, some of which dropped in to feed up on the remaining teasel seed heads. Also passing through were 105 Siskin,17 Chaffinch, with about 10 lingering and 7 Lesser Redpoll, all of which were heading south. The only other species of note were Skylark, with 4 south and 5 in off, plus 2 Chiffchaff on the Icky ridge.

10 birds were ringed, including 5 Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch and 1 each of Chaffinch, Goldcrest and Blackbird.

Tuesday 24th November 2015

How on earth one can swallow whole acorns plus the casing from Holm Oaks is beyond me but every year at this time the Wood Pigeons gorge on the Holm Oaks. You can tell not a lot happening when one resorts to waffling on about Wood Pigs - again ! Today it rained and drizzled up to 10am & again in the afternoon but at least it's a lot milder. Obviously a couple of new Blackies & Chaffinch on site but apart from that the highlight was 12 Gannet & 3 Kitts following a feeder container ship in then the Stenna Britannica back out.

5 birds ringed: 3 blackbird, 2 chaffinch.

Monday 23rd November 2015

A small arrival of late autumn migrants including a Dutch ringed individual amongst 40 Blackbird & a dozen Chaffinch. Both new Dunnock & Chiffchaff ringed is worth a mention as the last time new individuals of either of these two species was trapped was at the end of last month. Chiffchaff's at this time of the year can be more interesting but this one was a bog standard British race bird. Vis mig quietening off but included south bound 18 Goldfinch, 9 Siskin, Skylark & Mipit. Offshore 17 Gannet north plus one south and 2 Red-breasted Merganser south were the highlights amongst not a lot else.

26 birds ringed: 15 blackbird, 5 chaffinch, 2 song thrush, 1 chiffchaff, 1 lesser redpoll, 1 dunnock, 1 goldfinch.

Sunday 22nd November 2015

It looks like the Thrushes are finally beginning to arrive, as this female Blackbird (above) shows, with around 50 new birds, along with small numbers of both Redwing and Fieldfare having dropped in with the northerly gales of yesterday. Not much else on site, apart from a Blackcap, but offshore 6 Little Auks were noted along with around 80 Dunlin, 43 Shelduck and small numbers of other ducks and waders.

31 birds were ringed, 25 Blackbirds, 2 Redwing, 1 Blackcap, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Chaffinch and 1 Wren.

Saturday 21st November 2015

Cold, windy, showers, hail and, all in all, a tad wintry. This livened things up with single Littele Auks heading south plus another heading inland with Starlings. Offshore south bound 386 Black-headed Gull, 145 Teal, 107 Common Scoter, 71 Dunlin, 61 Brent, 57 Shelduck, 41 Kitts, 25 Wigeon, 24 Common Gull, 13 Goldeneye, 7 Bonxie, 3 Gadwal, 2 Lapwing, 2 Knot, 2 Turnstone, Guillemot, Arctic & Pomarine Skua; north bound 43 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 14 Common Scoter, 7 Turnstone, 6 Shelduck, 5 Guillemot, 4 Brents, Red-breasted Merganser, Oyk & Ringed Plover plus in off the sea 167 Starling, 45 Blackbird, 21 Fieldfare, 20 Snipe, 12 Redwing & 3 Woodcock. A quick perusal around the site in the bleak conditions revealed some extra Blackies, Redwing & Reed Bunting worth a mention. Several of the Blackies coming in off were running the gauntlet of marauding gulls and quickly diving into the nearest available bushes.

3 birds ringed: song thrush, redwing, blackbird.

Friday 20th November 2015

A rather cold, breezy and chilly start to the day with heavy cloud, resulting in a passage of finches early on and a few other bits and bobs.

Birds on the move this morning include 279 Goldfinch, 272 Siskin, 35 Linnet, 31 Chaffinch, 22 Greenfinch, 13 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Brambling, 3 Blackcap, 2 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Goldcrest, 12 Meadow Pipit, 7 Starling, 56 Woodpigeon, 628 Cormorant, 186 Black-headed Gull, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Common Gull, 2 Gannet, 1 Guillemot, 25 Brent Geese, 4 Red-throated Diver, 24 Wigeon, 23 Shelduck, 4 Goldeneye, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Dunlin, 1 Purple Sandpiper and 1 Turnstone.

This male Kestrel has been with us for a chunk of the autumn migration period and unfortunately had the taste for other small passerines. Feeding mostly on our Goldcrests, as well as numerous Blue Tit and Coal Tit along with Dunnock, Greenfinch and Robin. By the looks of things now, he has resorted to more traditional Kestrel fodder.

Ringing: 5 birds ringed this morning in the form of 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Chaffinch.

Thursday 19th November 2015

House Sparrows and a Starling investigating the nest boxes on the cottage wall today.

With the winds still strong and coming from the south-west, migrant activity is at a minimum. Needless to say not much was seen today, with the exception of the Short-eared Owl still patrolling the reserve, and yesterdays autumn record count of Cormorants was broken again with 716 counted leaving the roost. Apart from that 2 Great-northern Divers were seen, 1 of which flew low over the observatory into the harbour, where it landed and proceeded to feed before flying off up the River Stour past Harwich.

3 birds were ringed, 2 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Redwing.