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Saturday 14th March 2015

First winter Glaucous Gull flew north offshore at 10.05hrs seen by 2 lucky observers but missed by 3 unlucky observers who were stuffing their faces with tea and crumpets in the kitchen ! Also offshore in a cold north-easterly wind south bound 23 Brent, 18 Red-throated Diver, 2 Gadwal, Fulmar, Tufted Duck & Oyk plus north bound 4 Grey Plover & Curlew. Very few migrants in the bushes indicating few passerine moving although both the Blackbird & Starling ringed were on the skinny side suggesting that they had been flying around the north sea looking for land having been caught out on migration by the changing conditions. All the locals are setting up territories & if anyone out there would like to come and census our Dunnock population then they are more than welcome to give it a go. I have been trying for years to work out an accurate way of finding out how many "pairs" of Dunnock we have and I wouldn't mind betting my "guesstimates" are on the low side not helped by the complicated sex lives of this species.

Ringing: 1 blackbird, 1 starling, 1 greenfinch.

Friday 13th March 2015

A Lapwing displaying over the reserve first thing soon moved on. Migrants almost non-existent in the bushes apart from a couple of new Great Tits & a single Long-tailed Tit. Sanderling on the beach with a Turnstone near the point is possibly the one that has been on the beach up the town all winter as Sanderling seem to have abandoned us so far this year. Four regular Song Thrush singing at the moment with one by the Butts pond, one on Icky ridge & two in the observatory compound. Up to the mid 1990's we had 3 pairs of Song Thrush until they gradually became extinct here around the turn of the century in line with the national decline of this species. Pairs started nesting here again only a few years ago building up to 3 pairs in the last couple of years. Traditionally they only had very poor rates of breeding success but last year was a bumper year which quite possibly accounts for the fact that 4 males are singing their hearts out really giving it some welly in recent weeks. The pair by the Butts pond have been nest building already.

Ringing: 2 great tit.

Thursday 12th March 2015

Pheasant is a site rarity with only 17 previous live ones noted here (although several more dead corpses have been noted on the riverbank). This may be the first Pheasant ever photographed at Landguard which is just the sort of thing that is going to impress one's grand-kids or ornithological cohorts - or maybe not ! As you have probably realised by the above waffle there is not a lot about in the migrant department although a Grey Wag & a new gang of Long-tailed Tit paid us a brief visit plus a single Fieldfare was around all morning. Signs of spring are still in short supply although it is worth mentioning that a couple of Shelduck have been cavorting on the reserve early morning the last couple of days & the Linnet numbers have picked up to at least 30.

Ringing: 6 long-tailed tit, 1 great tit.

Wednesday 11th March 2015

Despite the sunny weather there is still a chill in the air, consequently there is not much to report. Resident birds are beginning to sing and hold territories, but very little in the way of migrants as yet. Today saw only   2 Jackdaw south, 2 Rock Pipit, 2 Shelduck and a Curlew, also all going south, whilst on site a female Sparrow Hawk and an immature female Peregrine paid visits, along with a brief stop-off  for a couple of Redwing first thing.

Ringing produced 5 new birds. 2 Blackbird, 2 Great Tit and 1 Sparrow Hawk.

Tuesday 10th March 2015

Not a lot this morning bird wise with 3 Redwing, 2 Fieldfare on site plus 2 Jackdaw heading south. Offshore 2 Red-throated Diver & Shelduck south. A couple of Hebrew Characters in the moth traps plus the micro moth Agonopterix curvipunctosa which is a Red Data Book species that is rarely recorded anywhere else in the country apart from here at Landguard (and even then we only have a couple of examples in some years). Also worth a mention is the fact that we have been notified by the mycologist powers that be that this example of Cramp Balls or King Alfred's Cakes Daldinia concentrica , first featured on this blog a month or so back, is notable in the fact that it growing on old felled Holm Oak which is the first time that it has ever been noted on this host in the UK (apparently it likes dead Ash but as there is none here it has presumably had to make do with what is available).
Ringing: 1 chaffinch.

Monday 9th March 2015

Fairly standard early March fare as evidenced by the ringing totals with a Grey Wagtail trapped the first one ever caught here in spring. At least 15 Great Tit on site as well as single Redwing, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit & Red-legged Partridge calling again first thing. Yesterday's new Robins have moved on. Overhead single Jackdaw went south with offshore movements limited to just 2 Red-throated Diver north. The moth traps have been on since the end of February, yesterday we caught the first moth of the year & today we had our biggest catch of the year with 2 Common Quaker - if it gets much more exciting in the traps I will have to go and have a lie down to recover !

13 birds ringed: 5 great tit, 3 blue tit, 2 dunnock, 1 grey wagtail, 1 robin, 1 long-tailed tit.

Sunday 8th March 2015

This Dotted Border is the first moth of the year caught in the traps here at Landguard Bird Observatory.

It is beginning to feel more like spring now,and there is a trickle of migrants starting to pass through the site. These include Robins, Thrushes and 1 or 2 Grey Wagtails returning to there breeding grounds further north. Also seen on the move today were Barnacle Geese with 152 south offshore, along with 19 Golden Plover, 5 Jackdaw and 3 Rooks also south. On site the 5 Long-tailed Tits are still around along with 3 Skylark.

Ringing today produced 6 new birds. 4 Robin, 1 Blackbird and 1 Great Tit.