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Saturday 7th September 2019

An interesting Lesser Whitethroat which has lost some of its juvenile tail feathers. The two feather on the left half of the tail are juvenile type; pointed, the white parts having a brownish cast; and the corresponding feathers on the right are adult type; broader, with purer white parts. Its likely that the Lesserthroat lost half its tail feathers evading a predator such as a Sparrowhawk.

A clear night and a north north-westerly wind brought a chill in the air this morning and plenty of migrants for the patient watchers. Southbound there were 92 Swallow, 50 House Martin, 22 Meadow Pipit, 7 Swift, 5 Grey Wagtail, 4 Dunlin, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Golden Plover and 1 Cormorant, whereas northbound there were 2 Wigeon, 1 Lapwing, 1 Gannet and 1 Oystercatcher. On site there were 6 Willow Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Tree Sparrow, 4 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat, 3 Greenfinch, 3 Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Kestrel, 1 Pied Flycatcher (probably one of our previously ringed birds), 1 Redstart, and 1 Garden Warbler. A hybrid Tree x House Sparrow (Treehouse Sparrow...?) was also noted with the sparrow flock.

Large Groundling (Teleiopsis diffinis) is usually abundant here, but this year seems to be much less frequent, probably as a result of last year's drought which devastated its food plant, sheep's-sorrel.

Ringing: 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 1 Redstart, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Linnet, 1 Woodpigeon.

Friday 6th September 2019

A Spotted Flycatcher was spotted fly catching today.

Still quite a breezy day but a bit of cloud makes all the difference when it comes to ringing, though it wouldn't have taken much to beat yesterday's total of 1 Blackcap. Today saw our first autumn 'crests with a handful of Goldcrest on the ridge and a Firecrest heard in the poplars by the kitchen. Chris the Landguard Ranger was lucky enough to get 3 Tree Sparrow on his feeder in the bungalow garden, and we also caught our first Grey Wagtail of the season. Migrants logged going south were 47 Black-headed Gull, 12 Oystercatcher, 8 Grey Wagtail, 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 Knot, 3 Sandwich Tern, 1 Med Gull and 1 Cormorant, with a further 2 Cormorant and 1 Sandwich Tern heading north. As well as the previously mentioned crests and sparrows, on the reserve there were 7 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 Wheatear, 1 Turnstone and 1 Spotted Flycatcher.

The migratory Rush Veneer is only appearing occasionally this year.

Ringing: 6 Willow Warbler, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Robin, 2 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Pied Flycatcher.

Thursday 5th September 2019

Pied Flycatchers are still making daily appearances, hawking for insects over the net rides.

The bright sun and strong north-westerly breeze made opening the nets for ringing challenging today, and in the end a single Blackcap was the only bird caught all morning. While it was a disappointing day for the ringers, those watching the migrants pass by had a much better morning with a flock of 3 Great White Egret passing to the south, then inland towards the Essex coast. Three of these magnificent herons is a high count for Landguard. Other migrants on the move south were 98 Swallow, 35 Meadow Pipit, 11 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 9 House Martin, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Grey Plover and 1 Yellow Wagtail. A single Swift was noted flying north, as were 2 Sandwich Tern, and 2 Redshank were seen coming in off the sea and upriver early morning. One site migrants were a bit hard to come by but singles of Hobby, Wheatear, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart were all noted.

Burnished Brass is common throughout the British Isles but only noted occasionally here.

Ringing: 1 Blackcap.

Wednesday 4th September 2019

Only 18 Pied Wags on the reserve this morning - the local breeders have had a reasonable year.

Good to have a belt of rain as we have been deteriorating into drought mode - unfortunately as it stopped the wind picked up. Migrants typically hard to come by but included 2 Wheatear and a small handful of Lesser ' throat, Whitethroat & Willow Warbler. Southbound 26 Common Tern, 10 Redshank, 8 Barwit, 8 Dunlin, 7 Wigeon, 4 Mallard, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Med Gull, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Shelduck, 2 Turnstone, Knot, Sandwich Tern & Swift. A Chaffinch heading south is a first of the autumn on a typical date.

Dark Sword Grass is a migrant that is not having a very good year so far despite the fact that its larvae eat a wide variety of plants.

Ringing: 2 House Sparrow, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Herring Gull.

Tuesday 3rd September 2019

A juvenile Sparrowhawk was the star bird caught and ringed today.

A cloudier day than of late but the west north-west wind persists. Migrants on their way south were 15 Swallow, 8 Teal, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Black-headed Gull, 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 Turnstone, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Common Gull, 1 Curlew and 1 Greenshank. On site there were 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff,  2 Hobby, 2 Wheatear, 1 Kestrel and 1 Pied Flycatcher. The Pied Flycatcher was caught and ringed on Saturday and retrapped today, so has stuck around for a few days to feed up, though it has only put on 0.1g since the weekend. 

Gold-spot Slender (Euspilapteryx auroguttella) lives on St John's-wort, so certainly likes it here.

Ringing: Willow Warbler 4, Chiffchaff 2, Robin 1, Sparrowhawk 1.

Monday 2nd September 2019

Green-veined White usually prefer quite damp areas, hence we haven't seen many on the reserve.

With a distinct autumnal chill in the air early this morning, today saw our first significant autumn movement of Meadow Pipits logged with at least 49 moving south and 3 feeding on the reserve, plus one that was caught in our special Mipit nets before being sent on its way with a BTO ring. Other birds moving south were 224 Black-headed Gull, 33 Swallow, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 7 Dunlin, 3 Oystercatcher, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 House Martin, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Common Gull and 1 Common Tern. Migrants noted around the reserve were 8 Willow Warbler, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Wheatear. 

Although we get the occasional Lilac Beauty in the summer we have never noted one on the second emergence before.

Ringing: Willow Warbler 4, Meadow Pipit 1, Blue Tit 1, Wren 1, Chiffchaff 1, Woodpigeon 1.

Sunday 1st September 2019

Migrant Hawker have not been present in large numbers so far this year.

Todays migrants included 10 Willow Warbler, 4 Wheatear 3 Lesser 'throat, 3 Whitethroat & 2 Sedge Warbler. Southbound 31 Swallow, 5 Sand Martin, 5 Teal, 2 Cormorant, 2 Curlew, 2 Sandwich Tern & House Martin.

Old Lady lives in the old buildings and only rarely turns up in the traps and when they do they are normally a bit worn.

Ringing: 7 Willow Warbler, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Sedge Warbler.