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Saturday 28th March 2015


Despite the clear and calm conditions we had yesterday evening, this morning turned out to be rather different. Overnight, several migrants had dropped in and weren't evident until several hours after first light.

Light rain and mist during the morning had grounded c. 5 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, 26 Redwing, 5 Fieldfare (see above picture) and 1 Yellowhammer, plus 1 Wheatear. Just 1 Black Redstart was still hanging around on the nature reserve.

Offshore, 3 Brent Geese, 2 Cormorant, 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Golden Plover and 5 Ringed Plover.

Ringing: 8 birds ringed today - 3 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin, 1 Chaffinch and 1 Blackbird and 1 Collared Dove.

Recent Recoveries

Grey Wagtail ringed here 4th September 2014 was photographed 48km away at Billingford, Norfolk on 15th March 2015 - ringed here as a juvenile she is now a female (well she was then but in juvenile plumage we didn't know it). The only way to explain this is as a youngster it went "walkabout" around East Anglian before settling in at Billingford presumably to breed. Willow Warbler ringed at Blanket Head Moor, North Yorks 17th July 2014 was controlled here 292km on it's way south on 31st August 2014. Female Sparrowhawk ringed here 23rd November 2014 was found dead in Harwich three weeks later. Robin ringed Hollesley Heath 5th September 2014 took 22 days to find the 16km here & Great Tit ringed also ringed at Hollesley Heath 28th September 2014 took 16 days to find it's way here. Finally a Herring Gull ringed 6th February 2010 on the rubbish tip 72km away at Pitsea, Essex was found dead on the riverbank on 3rd February 2015.

Friday 27th March 2015

Clear skies overnight followed right through until the morning with a stunning sunrise, later by overcast skies.
By the looks of things, a few migrants had dropped in over night and into the morning.

Around the observatory, 8 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Chiffchaff, 6 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Goldcrest and 2 Firecrest, along with 2 Wheatear. Just 2 Black Redstart remain, feeding out on the nature reserve.

Offshore, several Brent Geese and Cormorant flew South and 1 Red-throated Diver.

This Black Redstart, above, was seen singing during the morning, a beautiful call and a nice addition to our constant monitoring at the observatory, will he breed?

Also nice to find a Twin-spotted Quaker, a common moth here but scarcely recorded.

Ringing: 13 birds ringed during the day - 3 Great Tit, 2 Dunnock, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Wheatear and 1 Black Redstart.

Thursday 26th March 2015

Strengthening winds overnight continued throughout the whole of the day today, along with heavy rain from dawn and lighter rain showers well into lunchtime.

Hopes for a few migrants didn't reveal any but sea watching was the order of the day with 227 Brent Geese heading North just after dawn and a few stragglers heading South. Just 1 Red-throated Diver today, along with 1 Golden Plover and 2 Fulmar; battling the strong winds and driving rain.

Singles of Grey Wagtail and Goldcrest were seen albeit briefly but apart from that, a rather wintry feel to the day.

Several Black-headed Gulls are still scrounging around the car parks including this 1st-winter with juvenile birds having been in short supply all winter.

Ringing: 3 birds ringed today - 2 Blackbird and 1 Goldfinch.

Wednesday 25th March 2015

Despite the frosty start, the day warmed up into a fine spring morning, and with it a variety of migrants. As the sun got higher, cloud built up and by mid-morning there was a northward movement of raptors over the site. These included, 2 Red Kites, a Common Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier. On site Redwings and Blackbirds are still dropping in on their way back north, whilst a surprise female Bullfinch turned up in a net, along with a small number of Chiffchaffs and new Great Tits moving through. The Firecrest is still about, along with 1 Wheatear and 4 Black Redstarts, including a new male.

Birds ringed today, 17 including, 5 Blackbird, 4 Great Tit, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Redwing, 1 Dunnock, 1 Robin and 1 Bullfinch.

Tuesday 24th March 2015

This morning we were greeted by a north westerly wind and overcast skies, hopes were high for a few grounded migrants and we weren't disappointed, although in small numbers.

Chris our Warden with another Landguard regular, Matt, had a Spoonbill fly North in the first few hours of the morning and this looks to be the 8th record for the observatory.

Offshore, 25 Brent Geese, 9 Red-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 1 Bar-tailed Godwit.

Around the observatory, our resident 2 Little Owl and 2 Firecrest, 10 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Bunting, 20 Blackbird, 19 Fieldfare, 11 Song Thrush, c.50 Redwing with 1 Black Redstart and 1 Wheatear.

The Meadow Pipits are beginning to display out on the nature reserve, sure signs of spring on it's way and the first Chiffchaff was heard calling this morning.

Ringing: Decent morning with 17 birds ringed - 7 Blackbird, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Starling, 1 Redwing, 1 Firecrest, 1 Wren and 1 Song Thrush.

Monday 23rd March 2015

A beautiful clear and calm morning, with which we were greeted by a few migrants during the morning. Early on 26 Redwing and 1 Fieldfare dropped in briefly before moving off-site.

Offshore, 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Oystercatcher, 5 Brent Geese and a nice flock of 32 Bar-Tailed Godwit flew North. Relatively quite on the sea but around the observatory 3 Jackdaw, 1 Rook, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Siskin, 2 Firecrest, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Grey Wagtail and 1 Chiffchaff.

Several species of raptors around this morning, with 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin and at least 3 Peregrine Falcon.

Our first Wheatear of the spring was seen as the sun came out plus the first butterflies of the year in the shape of several Small Torts.

Late afternoon, the wandering White-tailed Eagle that has been around Norfolk/Suffolk for a good few weeks, was seen by our Warden, Chris, circling high over Felixstowe Docks and seen for a good 5 minutes, viewed from the top of the observatory, before heading off high and into Essex and out of view. This is the first record for the observatory! Plus c.120 Wigeon that flew North early evening.

Ringing: A good morning with 16 birds ringed - 4 Blackbird, 3 Redwing, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Robin, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Dunnock, 1 Greenfinch and 1 Linnet.

Sunday 22nd March 2015

The exceptionally low tide this morning revealed sand bars close inshore not normally seen.

Weather-wise, the cold north-easterly wind is still holding up spring migrants, so very little to report again today. 3 Black Redstarts, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest and a Redwing was about it on site, whilst offshore around 50 Red-throated Divers were heading north along with 3 Gannet and 2 Common Scoter, while 2 Drake Eider went south.

Ringing: 13 birds ringed, 10 Blackbird and 1 each of Great Tit, Blue Tit and Goldcrest.