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Saturday 23rd April 2016

Once again some hardy souls are battling their way in despite the cool northerly airflow including the first Whinchat of the year. Other migrants include 6 Wheatear, 4 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Redstart plus the Whitethroats on the northern part of the reserve that have taken up territories with the males building nests in preparation for when the girls arrive. Offshore observations limited to 5 Whimbrel plus a Little Egret heading north over the site at early dawn. Porpoises are being seen regularly in the river out the back and off the point in recent days with one, unfortunately, being washed up dead on the beach this morning.

7 birds ringed: 2 chiffchaff, 2 wheatear, 1 redstart, 1 whinchat, 1 wood pigeon

Friday 22nd April 2016

The north wind doth blow & spring migrants will struggle to get through. Despite the far from ideal conditions a few hardy souls are making it through including 5 Wheatear, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Yellow Wags, 2 Blackcap & Willow Warbler. Prolonged observations starring out to sea (mainly caused by observers not showing much enthusiasm to trudge around the nature reserve) produced 7 Whimbrel, 6 Common Gull, 5 Common Scoter, 4 Gannet, 2 Fulmar, 2 Barnacle Geese, Great-northern Diver, Red-throated Diver, Bonxie plus some Cormorants going about their business.

Powdered Quaker in the moth traps is one we struggle to record every year (but in these cold conditions any moth is a bit of a novelty).

5 birds ringed: 2 chiffchaff, 1 willow warbler, 1 blackcap, 1 greenfinch. This is only the second Greenfinch ringed this month whereas back in the mid 1980's the observatory ringed over a 1,000 Greenfinch's for two years running just in the month of April alone giving a stark reminder as to the fate of this once abundant species !

April Litter Pick

Litter pick this Saturday 23rd April 0930hrs start. Further information on the events page of

Thursday 21st April 2016

Another rather cold and blustery day today with the winds persevering from the North East, haltering any sort of proper migration. Still, a few migrants dotted about here and there.

New arrivals came in the form of 3 Blackcap, 2 Common Whitethroat (pictured above), 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Swallow, 1 Siskin, 1 Wheatear, 1 Jay, 1 Sparrowhawk and a lovely Ring Ouzel showing intermittently throughout the morning.

Sea watching produced 12 Cormorant, 7 Black headed Gull, 5 Brent Geese, 3 Common Gull, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Whimbrel and the first 2 Little Terns of the year.

Ringing: 5 birds ringed this morning including 3 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Kestrel.

Wednesday 20th April 2016

The cold and frosty start to the day, with a north-easterly to easterly wind, means that very little of note turned up (hence the pretty picture of one of our 7 pairs of Great Tits. 

On-site just 5 Wheatear, 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler and a Rock Pipit on the point. 

Passing through were 6 Swallow south and 4 Sandwich Tern and a Hobby north. Other things of note were 3 Harbour Porpoise (interesting enough in the harbour) and this Dark Sword-grass, (below), possibly a migrant.  

Ringing only produced 5 birds, 2 Chiffchaff and 1 each of Blackcap, Great Tit and Linnet.

Tuesday 19th April 2016

A very pleasant start to the morning and an even better afternoon, with a decent variety of migrants on offer at the observatory and out on the nature reserve.

A Grasshopper Warbler was a very nice surprise early morning, reeling c. 05.30am and not a bird we see regularly here, (pictured above).

Observed were 8 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Blackcap, 4 Common Whitethroat, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Continental Coal Tit, 10 Wheatear, 1 Meadow Pipit, 3 Goldfinch, 15 Swallow, 7 Sand Martin, 2 House Martin, 1 Common Redstart and 1 Red-legged Partridge.

The first Hobby of the year passed through early afternoon.

Sea watching produced c. 34 Black-headed Gull, 16 Cormorant, 12 Whimbrel, 6+ Curlew, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Little Egret, 1 Common Gull and 1 Red-throated Diver.

Very few moths in the traps recently but plenty of these 'Icneumon' type critters, but as our identification skills in the hymenoptera department is very poor, does anyone out there recognise it? Possibly Ophion luteus?

Ringing: 13 birds ringed today including 5 Blackcap, 2 Linnet, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Common Redstart, 1 Wheatear and 1 Grasshopper Warbler.

Monday 18th April 2016

A cold and sunny start to the day, followed by thick and heavy cloud and a chilly wind from the West. A decent selection of migrants on offer today.

New arrivals were 6 Chiffchaff (pictured above), 5 Willow Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 8 Wheatear, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipit, 1 Firecrest, 2 Continental Coal Tit,  12 Swallow, 3 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 7 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 77 Woodpigeon, 3 Rook, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Fieldfare.

Sea watching produced 61 Cormorant, 17 Whimbrel, 13 Shelduck, 18 Black-headed Gull, 7 Common Gull, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Greylag Geese, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Gadwall, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Brent Goose and 1 Red-throated Diver.

Ringing: 10 birds ringed this morning including 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Fieldfare and 1 Wheatear.

Sunday 17th April 2016

One of the 2 Short-eared Owls seen on the reserve this morning.

Yesterdays Siskin still on-site, feeding up ready to move on. 

A cold night and north-westerly wind meant we did not hold out much hope of there being a great deal about, but as it happened there was more than anticipated. 
On-site the aforementioned birds above, along with 6 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Common Whitethroat, 9 Wheatear, 2 each of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Yellow Wagtail and a Blackcap and Goldcrest. Offshore, 50 Curlew and 1 Whimbrel went north along with 1 Rook and a Marsh Harrier, whilst 11 Sandwich Terns went south.

6 birds were ringed: 2 each of Pied Wagtail and Goldfinch, and 1 each of Greenfinch and Song Thrush.

Recent Ringing Recoveries

Lesser Redpoll ringed here 2nd November 2012 retrapped 371km away at Leighton Moss, Lancashire on 14th April 2016. Adult male House Sparrow ringed here 9th July 2015 was retrapped this morning on Orfordness - not only are House Sparrows an unusual bird out on the Ness but this is the greatest distance ever recorded for one of them from here !