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Saturday 16th May 2015

The continued west south west winds produced the migrants in-and-around the observatory this morning and throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. 

The best of the rest came in the form of this stunning male Red-Backed Shrike that hung around on the nature reserve all day, the first of the spring. A male Serin also paid us a visit, making it the 5th record of Serin to the observatory this spring. 

Migrants included 634 Swallow, 77 House Martin and 3 Swift moving through during the course of the day. 20 Common Scoter, 10 Common Tern, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Whimbrel were offshore and 1 Siskin, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Turtle Dove, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, 1 White Wagtail, 10 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 26 Goldfinch on land. 

A Jackdaw showing the characteristics of one of the foreign races, (below). 

Ringing: 4 birds ringed during the course of the morning including 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Linnet.

Friday 15th May 2015

Changing winds during the morning and overnight produced the odd new migrant to the observatory. Migrants included 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Wheatear, 1 Hobby, 5 Common Whitethroat, 1 Little Egret, 1 Whimbrel, 33 Swallow and 4 Swift. 75 Common Tern, 20 Little Tern (above), and 1 Roseate Tern hanging around off-shore during the morning. 

Brown-tail Moth caterpillars have started to appear out on the nature reserve, the first seen of the year. 

Ringing: 5 birds ringed during the morning which included 2 Greenfinch, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Blackbird and 1 Willow Warbler.

Thursday 14th May 2015

Its the time of the year when a mellee of gulls & terns is starting to collect off the point as the tide turns to go out. Unfortunately the Roseate Tern that had been offshore earlier in the morning failed to join them. A minimum of 48 Common Tern & 21 Little Tern offshore plus north bound a further 16 Little, 9 Sandwich & a single Arctic. Fairly quiet in the bushes with the cold easterly wind not bringing owt of note. Worth a mention were a trio of Barnacle, Canada & Greylag going past, 2 Jackdaw, Skylark, Siskin but down to just a single Wheatear. On the beach 9 Sanderling plus a Turnstone by the point. A Striped Hawk-moth is a very notable migrant that was not expected this early in the season - we have had a couple previously in 2004 & 2009.

Ringing: 2 chiffchaff, 1 blackcap.

Wednesday 13th May 2015

Still of trickle of Goldfinch's heading south presumably heading back to the continent are regularly sung at by this male that has taken up a residency here. Heading south so far today 61 Swallow, 23 Wood Pigs, 21 Goldfinch, 2 Rook, 2 Jackdaw & Cuckoo. Migrants in the bushes included a couple of Willows, Chiffs, Spot Flys, single Blackcap & Reed Warbler. A couple of Jays paid us a visit this morning whilst out on the reserve the numbers of Wheatears are starting to thin out as they head north. On the beach a nice group of 10 Sanderling & 2 Dunlin plus a Turnstone on the point. A male Orange Tip was at the north end (one was also noted at this end Sunday) - we don't see Orange Tips here very often despite them being as close to here as Langer Park.

11 birds ringed: 2 chiffchaff, 2 willow warbler, 2 linnet, 1 blackbird, 1 reed warbler, 1 blackcap, 1 spotted flycatcher, 1 jay.

Tuesday 12th May 2015

A warm west south west breeze greeted us this morning at dawn, with a small scattering of new migrants evident in-and-around the observatory. Migrants included 5 Common Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 3 Meadow Pipit, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Sanderling (above), 1 Whimbrel, 5 Little Tern, 15 Common Tern, 2 Little Egret, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Siskin, 20 Goldfinch and 1 Stock Dove. 

Hirundine passage was good today with 179 Swallow, 51 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin and 5 Swift all on the move. 

Butterflies in small numbers and this impressive looking Common Carpet in the moth traps which is presumably a common carpet variation. 

Ringing: 11 birds ringed during the morning including 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Linnet, 1 Swallow, 1 Dunnock, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Spotted Flycatcher.

Monday 11th May 2015

A small arrival of new migrants on-site including 7 Wheatear, Firecrest, Sparrowhawk, Skylark, Turtle Dove, Jay & Spot Fly. Vis mig movements heading south included 380 Swallow, 43 Black-headed Gull, 33 House Martin, 24 Goldfinch, 8 Oyk, 6 Sand Martin, 3 Carrion Crow, 2 Siskin, Curlew, Tree Pipit & Yellow Wagtail. 6 Barnacle Geese went north then back south & 2 Avocet flew inland. The first baby Blackies of the year have just appeared - the bulk of the early nesting attempts appeared to have failed here due to the drought that existed here throughout April which meant that Mr & Mrs Blacky struggled to find enough food to keep junior alive in the nest.

Whilst swigging tea (us not the moth) this micro moth was noted which looks suspiciously like Incurvaria masculella, a species not noted here previously - although if it only flies around during the day and not end up in the traps at night then it has probably been overlooked previously.

11 birds ringed: 4 Meadow Pipit, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Jay, 1 Blackbird, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Firecrest, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Chiffchaff.

Sunday 10th May 2015

The first of the Ringed Plover chicks has hatched (top). (It's hiding under mum), whilst this Nut-tree Tussock (bottom) was the best moth caught in the traps, and is only the 3rd year it has occurred on-site.

Overnight conditions were clearer than predicted, although the light southerly winds were welcome, but the morning did not produce as much as we had hoped for. What there was though was a bit of a mix as a Little Ringed Plover dropped in briefly before flying off north, and a Corn Bunting went south over the reserve but carried on into Essex. Other birds of interest included a female Whinchat, 10 Wheatear, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, Jay, Jackdaw, 2 Yellow Wagtails and 1 Siskin that went south and a Hobby went north.

17 birds were ringed. 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Linnet, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldfinch and 1 each of Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat and a Chaffinch and a Blackbird.