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Saturday 24th August 2019

A Whinchat was down at the southern end of the reserve today.

It was a clear, warm morning with a gentle easterly breeze promising to push a few migrants along the coastline. On their way south were 49 Black-headed Gull (a shadow of their numbers from yesterday), 14 Oystercatcher, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Yellow Wagtail, while northbound there were singles of Arctic Skua, Oystercatcher and Gannet. On site there were 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Redstart, 1 Lapwing and 1 Kestrel. With the light easterly winds due to persist for the next few days, there's every chance something special will turn up.

We haven't seen Bordered Sallow since 25th July so is this part of a second emergence or just one that that forgot to come out earlier?

Ringing: 1 Robin, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Pied Flycatcher.

Friday 23rd August 2019

The early risers today were rewarded with views of a northbound Balearic Shearwater in flat calm conditions. This is only the 4th record of Balearic Shearwater for Landguard, and it also holds the dubious honour of being the only species on the British List of birds that is classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. If present rates of decline continue, this species will be extinct within 40 years.

Also a sight to behold was the estimated 2,500-strong flock of Black-headed Gull (and 1 Mediterranean Gull identified from a photo of the flock) coming in from the east after sunrise.

Just a portion of the gull flock.

Aside from the dawn gull and shearwater invasion, there were 45 Swallow, 22 Black-headed Gull, 7 Whimbrel, 4 Teal, 2 Fulmar, 1 Kestrel, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 1 Meadow Pipit all southbound, and 1 Sandwich Tern northbound. On site there were 6 Willow Warbler, 2 Wheatear and 1 Whinchat. Also notable was a Coal Tit ringed today, as August is an unusual time of year for them to turn up here, which only 5 previous August records.

There was a significant emergence of Latticed Heath overnight.

Ringing: Robin 3, House Sparrow 3, Goldfinch 2, Woodpigeon 2, Blue Tit 2, Coal Tit 1, Willow Warbler 1, Dunnock 1.

Thursday 22nd August 2019

First thing this morning the feeling was that it was going to be pretty much a standard day here, with dry, bright and breezy conditions similar to the past few day, and not really promising much in the way of new migrants. However we were pleasantly surprised by our second Wood Warbler of the autumn, and then graced by the presence of a Turtle Dove in front of the Obs in the early morning sun. 

Since the 1970s Turtle Doves have declined by an astonishing 93%, and sadly are still shot on migration through Europe. Suffolk and Essex are now the summer home to around a third of the UK's remaining Turtle Dove population.

Other migrants on their way south included 96 Swallow, 17 Oystercatcher, 15 Teal, 10 Grey Plover, 8 Sand Martin, 7 Turnstone, 3 Knot, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Common Tern, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 1 Whimbrel. Northbound were 4 Sandwich Tern and 3 Common Tern. On site migrants were 8 Willow Warbler, 1 Wood Warbler, 1 Turtle Dove and 7 Wheatear. 

Monopis monachella is a rare and not very well known species thought to live on animal remains and owl pellets.

Ringing: 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Wren, 1 Robin, 1 Wood Warbler, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Starling.

Wednesday 21st August 2019

Handful of expected mid-August migrants including 10 Willow Warbler, 7 Whitethroat, 5 Wheatear, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap & Pied Fly. Southbound 46 Swallow, 34 Oyk, 16 Black-headed Gull, 12 Dunlin, 8 Teal, 6 Common Scoter, 4 Shelduck, 2 Common Tern, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Whimbrel  & Redshank with northbound 35 Sandwich Tern & Fulmar. Juvenile female Peregrine again put in an appearance.

Cypress Pug is a recent colonist to our shores that we have noted in most years since 2007 that lives on ornamental conifers.

Ringing: 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Robin, 1 Blackcap, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Pied Flycatcher.

Tuesday 20th August 2019

Clouded Yellow is a migratory butterfly that we have not seen at the Observatory since June

The south south-westerly winds eased slightly today and it was sunny and bright, so lots of interesting invertebrates about including the above Clouded Yellow, and also Emperor Dragonfly and Small Red-eyed Damselfly. Southbound were 8 Swift, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 51 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin, 1 Tree Pipit, 18 Oystercatcher, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Dunlin, 2 Grey Plover, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Teal, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Sanderling, 6 Knot and 1 Grey Wagtail. Northbound were 3 Sandwich Tern and eastbound out to sea was a single Turnstone. On the reserve there were 12 Willow Warbler, 5 Wheatear, 1 Common Sandpiper and 2 Purple Sandpiper. The Purple Sandpipers are particularly early, being only the 11th and 12th August records of this species for Landguard. 

The Drinker is a moth that likes damp areas, so consequently is not recorded at Landguard often. An alternative but unofficial name is "Womble Moth".

Ringing: Starling 14, Willow Warbler 2, House Sparrow 4, Blackcap 2, Robin 1, Sparrowhawk 1.

Monday 19th August 2019

One the three Tree Pipits that stopped by the Observatory today.

Among the migrants on this bright and breezy morning were 3 Tree Pipits on their way south. As part of a project to recapture juveniles ringed much further north in Scotland we had some Tree Pipit music playing to try and entice them into the nets, but unfortunately the Sparrowhawk spooked them and they carried on their journey. Tree Pipits are usually earlier to migrate than Meadow Pipits, and we should start to see some Mipit movement in the coming weeks. You can tell Tree Pipits from Meadow Pipits by their bubblegum-pink legs and bill.

Other movers south were 6 Dunlin, 4 Grey Plover, 4 House Martin, 9 Oystercatcher, 15 Redshank, 14 Sand Martin, 2 Shelduck, 14 Swallow, 1 Swift and 7 Teal. On site there were 5 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 6 Willow Warbler and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Very few micro-moths are around at the moment, but Eucosma tripoliana (sometimes known as Saltmarsh Bell) has been showing up in recent days. It lives on sea-aster, so is probably here following windy conditions on the saltmarsh up river.

Ringing: Willow Warbler 4, Blackcap 1, Robin 1, Goldfinch 1.

Sunday 18th August 2019

Second Osprey in a week but no prizes for photographic excellence.

Also in the raptor department Hobby, Sparrowhawk plus a visit from a juv Peregrine as opposed to one of the local pair. Grounded migrants consisted of just a couple of Willow Warbler & a single Wheatear. Southbound 19 Oyk, 19 Swallow, 6 Dunlin, 6 Sand Martin, 5 Grey Plover, 5 Teal, 3 Whimbrel, 2 House Martin, 2 Knot, Fulmar & Sandwich Tern plus a Common Scoter south which did a U turn and back north. Although it might sound not a lot about there are loads of birds on the reserve with at least 200 Linnet, 100 House Sparrow, 40 Goldfinch, 10 Greenfinch plus a dose of Starlings that normally increase in number as the day goes on.

Anania crocealis is apparently, common enough but infrequent in our traps.

Ringing: 1 Robin, 1 Starling.