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Saturday 10th March 2018

First Chiffchaff of the year this morning. Over the last 35 years first dates have ranged from 1st March to 5th April with only four previous years beating todays date. It is one day earlier than last year and two days earlier than the year before but, considering the recent sub-zero period, it was a slight shock as it was thought this year they may be a bit on the drag. Other migrants were hard to come by being limited to a fine male Stonechat by the cottage, 3 Mipits on the reserve & an obese Blue Tit trapped that must intend going somewhere considering the fat load it was carrying (Blue Tits are not renowned for putting on weight or moving much in the UK). Vis mig consisted of nothing probably due to the overnight rain only petering out here just pre-dawn. Offshore movements almost non-existent.

The moth traps, that were put out mid-week, produced the first takers of the year in the form of a couple of Dotted Borders.

2 birds ringed: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Blue Tit.

Friday 9th March 2018

Handful of migrants on site today including Mistle Thrush, Long-tailed Tit, Bullfinch & a handful of new Dunnocks. The Lotti & Bully are likely to be unpaired birds wandering in search of a mate but the Dunnocks may well include birds departing our shores for north-western Europe as, although British Dunnocks are fairly sedentary, continental birds migrate over quite large distances. Some vis mig included south bound 24 Barnacles, 2 Skylark & 2 Mipits with northbound 11 Barnacles. Offshore movements barely worth a mention in the benign conditions. A couple of Greylags heading out plus a couple north are probably birds looking for potential nesting sites to infest. Finally 2 Goldcrests were retrapped having survived the winter were originally ringed here on 27th September and 4th October last autumn. Only on a couple of previous occasions have Goldcrests managed to successfully over winter at Landguard and it is interesting to note that both these individuals were ringed fairly early in the autumn passage for this species and had learnt their way around the best spots for survival in this bleak location.

5 birds ringed: 3 Dunnock, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Bullfinch.

Thursday 8th March 2018

Adult Yellow-legged Gull just inside the dock fence. Offshore southbound 4 Oyk, 4 Turnstone,  3 Black-headed Gull, Brent, Shelduck, Dunlin & Common Gull with northbound 93 Brent, Fulmar, Red-breasted Merganser & Dunlin. Some vis mig with southbound 27 Starling, 2 Skylark, 2 Redwing & Mipit. 99 Cormorants went out fishing early on. In the bushes single Woodcock, Goldcrest & the first new Blackbird of the month.

Ringing: 1 Blackbird

Wednesday 7th March 2018

Murky start with light drizzle up to mid-morning. 553 Cormorants counted going out fishing early on. On the move southbound 4 Barnacle Geese, 2 Turnstone, Shag, Unidentified Auk, Skylark and Carrion Crow with northbound 6 Red-throated Diver, 5 Brent, 2 Mipits, Oyk & Kittiwake. Mistle Thrush on site is todays migrant.

Recent Ringing Recoveries

Whitethroat ringed Landguard 4th June 2015 was retrapped 4,617 km away at Kartong, The Gambia on 25th January 2018 which is the first British ringed Whitethroat ever to have been caught in the Gambia (although two Gambian ringed birds have been retrapped in the UK). Also Lesser Redpoll ringed Landguard 28th October 2017 retrapped 16 km away at Hollesley Heath on 28th January, 3rd & 10th February 2018.

Tuesday 6th March 2018

685 Cormorants went out feeding early on. On the move southbound 10 Barnacle Geese, 2 Oyk, 2 Dunlin, Great-crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Skylark & Meadow Pipit with northbound 29 Brent & 3 Oyks. A pair of Mallard paid a visit & 2 Goldcrest were on site.

Monday 5th March 2018

The first Jackdaw seen here this year is a good candidate for a nominate race bird C.m.monedula or better still even C.m.sommeringii from north-east Europe although racial determination is not easy and the powers that be would like ringing evidence to prove from whence it originates. Glorious sunny start with other migrants being southbound 5 Lapwing & a Skylark although thick fog that rolled in 0830 hrs hampered observations. Only other sightings worth a mention are 9 Greylag Geese north and a dead emaciated Snipe on the tideline which is presumably another victim of the cold snap.

Sunday 4th March 2018

Thaw setting in. A Grey Heron walking around the reserve early on is novel for here as is a Barwit on the beach. Also on the beach 7 Ringed Plover, Sanderling & Turnstone with a Little Gull feeding just offshore. 1192 Cormorant went out fishing early on. A few offshore movements including southbound 4 Dunlin, Red-breasted Merganser and Oyk with northbound 20 Brent, Shelduck, Oyk & Curlew. On the reserve single Fieldfare & Mipit plus the Rock Pipit around the jetty. Good to find a couple of Robins & Wrens plus a Goldcrest have survived the cold snap although the amount of mortality will become apparent over the coming days. An emaciated freshly dead Woodcock in the compound & a dead first-winter Kittiwake on the tideline are known casualties although other corpses will no doubt have been quickly scavenged.