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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.