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Saturday 6th June 2015

Changing winds today to a westerly brought a slightly colder feel to the air, but several new migrants were evident throughout the day. New migrants today included 1 Hobby early on this morning, 50 Swift, 13 Swallow, 13 House Martin, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Curlew, 2 Little Egret, 2 Common Tern, 1 Little Tern, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Spotted Flycatcher.

Migrants in other areas with which referring to butterflies, moths, damselflies and dragonflies have been rather productive of late and today was no exception. In the moth traps this morning were 2 Small Square-Spot and several Diamond-back Moths.

This Red-veined Darter, (above), was found by several observers on our daily census of the site this morning and quite a rare migrant here. Our past records have been singles on June 20th 2007 and June 21st 2009, so a real privilege to record this species here again.

Ringing: 23 birds ringed this morning including 13 Starling, 3 Greenfinch, 2 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 2 Linnet and 1 Woodpigeon.

Friday 5th June 2015

The east/south east breeze throughout yesterday continued overnight and into this morning and with the hope of something from further afield, nothing unusual appeared to present in-and-around the observatory. Torrential downpours and thunderstorms during this morning made observations interesting.

Migrants were rather thin on the ground with 1 Stock Dove landing on the nature reserve briefly, 6 Meadow Pipit, 1 House Martin with 3 Swallow and 17 Swifts. Others included 6 Sandwich Tern and 2 Siskin and a total of 32 Canada Geese flew South.

The warm and humid weather produced a good haul of moths in our traps this morning including this Peppered Moth, (above). The first of the year for us - two individuals were attracted. Several migrant moths were also present included 1 each of Rush Veneer and Small Mottled Willow and 8 Diamond-back Moth.

Ringing: 5 birds ringed during the morning including 2 Greenfinch, 1 Linnet, 1 Robin and 1 Blackbird.

Thursday 4th June 2015

Awakening to a clear, calm and warm observatory - it was a beautiful morning for our observatory work. Several new migrants were evident around the observatory early on including 2 singing Chiffchaff.

Other migrants included 25 Swallow, 1 Stock Dove heading South, 4 Jackdaw, 9 Common Tern, 1 Little Tern, 3 Sandwich Tern and 1 Swift.

In the moth traps this morning we were greeted by this Sand Dart which is a nationally scarce species that has increased in numbers in recent years, (above).

Albeit a micro moth, several Adela croesella were found this afternoon, in search of other day-flying
moths and butterflies, (above).

Ringing: Another lovely days ringing with 20 birds ringed during the morning including 9 Linnet, 5 Starling, 2 Great Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Blackbird, 1 Common Whitethroat and 1 Chiffchaff.

Wednesday 3rd June 2015

A warm wind greeted us this morning, very welcome and nice to feel what summer weather feels like, compared to yesterdays strong winds and dribs and drabs of drizzle. Several new migrants were evident in-and-around the observatory and on the nature reserve.

A stunning Cream-spot Tiger moth awaited us this morning in our moth traps. This is the first of the year for the observatory, in which maybe this warm weather will bring a few more to us as its not that common here.

New migrants totalled 30 Swallow, 9 House Martin, 7 Goldfinch, 2 Siskin, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Common Tern, 1 Little Tern, 1 Curlew and 1 Grey Plover.

Still the Brent Geese head North with 4 birds this morning, slowly decreasing in number from this area. A total of 40 Canada Geese flew South on their way to their moulting grounds. A decent sized flock of Starlings can be seen on the nature reserve, consisting of well over 500 individuals.

Ringing: 19 birds ringed during the morning including 6 Starling, 3 Linnet, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Robin, 1 Dunnock, 1 Blackbird, 1 House Sparrow,1 Chiffchaff and 1 Spotted Flycatcher.

Tuesday 2nd June 2015

It's one of those mornings whereby if we hadn't bothered to turn up then it wouldn't really have mattered. An unseasonal gale is in progress more akin to the type we get in mid-winter. Flaming June it ain't ! 31 Swifts went south but if there were any migrants in the bushes or on the nature reserve then they were keeping their heads down. Starring out to sea has been a total waste of time with the only sighting of note being one Fulmar. Three moth traps produced just six moths. Before we start consuming the St. John's Wort or reaching for the Valium we should just consider how better off we are than the baby Bunny's on site. We have a small number of "hunter-killer" Herring Gulls who are expert at dispatching baby Rabbits which are then shared with the less expert gulls & crows.

Ringing: 1 Blackbird.

Monday 1st June 2015

Late spring migrants are single Chiffchaff & Blackcap although this is something of a misnomer as both birds were females that have already attempted breeding before turning up here. This phenomena of breeding, failing, then continuing to migrate to pastures new is one that is not fully appreciated or documented in these two species. The first Curlew of the autumn went south. I can hear some of you cringing at the thought of autumn migration starting but this is a fairly typical date for the first Curlews to be going south past here. What is happening in Curlews is that failed breeders depart the nesting grounds and head south to their chosen estuary to moult. In contrast a Sanderling on the beach will still be heading north to breed as it will not want to arrive on it's nesting grounds in the far north in the Arctic until early June. Other migrants noted today include south bound 15 Swallow, 4 Swift, 4 Barnacle Geese, 2 Mallard, 2 House Martin, Fulmar plus 2 Canada Geese northbound. A Siskin was also heard. Finally Mr & Mrs Peregrine are still loitering on site having given up with this years nesting attempt at the end of April.

7 birds ringed: 4 greenfinch, 1 dunnock, 1 chiffchaff, 1 blackcap.

May Ringing Totals

A total of 251 birds of 31 species were ringed during the month. In 2014, a total of 310 birds were during the month of May but due to the wet and windy weather this year, at times, migration in May was halted so not as good a month of ringing as it could have been but all the same a very productive month. 

Woodpigeon  3 Common Redstart  2
Collared Dove  3 Wheatear  7
Turtle Dove  1 Firecrest  1
Magpie 4 Willow Warbler  29
Ringed Plover  4 Chiffchaff  30
Blackbird  7 Blackcap  12
Starling  11 Garden Warbler  2
Chaffinch  5 Common Whitethroat  16
Greenfinch  13 Lesser Whitethroat  12
Goldfinch  4 Sedge Warbler  4
Linnet  40 Reed Warbler  3
Blue Tit  2 Meadow Pipit  8
Great Tit  3 Pied Wagtail  1
Wren  1 Spotted Flycatcher  9
Dunnock  7 Swallow  2
Robin  5

Sunday 31st May 2015

The last week of May is usually the best week of the year for oddities - but not this year. May has petered out with a whimper rather than going out with a bang with this mornings wind & rain (now just odd bits of drizzle) not conducive to constructive birding. "Hunt the Migrant" basically failed with nothing new noted on site. Far more time spent staring offshore than it really deserved produced just 2 Fulmar, 2 Tufted Duck, Gannet plus a Collared Dove well offshore heading south for some bizarre reason. A few more baby birds are slowly appearing with the nearest pair of Crows, that nested on a lighting tower alongside View Point Road, bringing their young down onto the reserve in recent days. Many local nesting birds are struggling to produce any young this year and you know conditions are tough when the local Crows only appeared to have two offspring.