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Saturday 18th April 2020

Another blustery cold day with a bitter north east wind.

There were a few migrants around with a Blackcap belting out its song at first light and a female present in the bushes. The Redwing was still present on the Reserve. New in were a Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler both of which were doing their best to avoid the wind. At least 7 Wheatears were also present around the Warren.

On the sea a Whimbrel, 12 Gannet, 11 Common Terns, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Fulmar, 2 Red-throated Diver and a Sandwich Tern headed north and a Brent Goose headed south. A Porpoise was feeding in the River mouth and 2 Common Seals were also seen offshore.

Ringing: 1 Blackcap, 1 House Sparrow

Friday 17th April 2020

It's a Bonxie, Honest!

A bitter north east wind this morning. Which was able to chill you how ever hard you tried to hide from it.

Much of the morning was spent seawatching with a good selection seen. A Bonxie, 29 Common Tern, 11 Arctic Tern, 9 Little Terns, 9 Gannet, 8 Fulmar and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit headed north. A Black Swan, a Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit were seen heading west up river and 4 Goosander headed across the river into Essex. The Goosander are a notable record at this time of year with only three previous April records.

On the land a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff were in the bushes and a Swallow headed north low over the Obs. On the Reserve a Whimbrel was battling against the wind on the deck, as were at least 9 Wheatear, most of which looked to be of Greenland race. A group of c.25 Sanderling were also flushed from the Jetty end of the beach.

Ringing: 1 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear

Thursday 16th April 2020

A cool start to the day with a light north easterly breeze. There were a few more Phylloscopus around today, with 5 Chiffchaffs and 2 Willow Warblers in the Poplars and around the Fort. A Firecrest, Siskin and a Blackcap were also in the bushes.

On the Reserve were 24 Shelduck and at least 14 Wheatears. A Lesser Whitethroat was towards Customs House and a Woodlark flew over heading east. A single Turnstone was still on the Jetty.

On the sea a Great-northern Diver, a Kittiwake and a Fulmar flew north and 14 Mediterranean Gulls flew south.

In the afternoon a Fieldfare appeared behind the Obs, a Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel headed upriver and there was a small arrival of Wheatears, of which 6 were ringed and all proved to be the Greenland leucohora subspecies based on biometrics.

Ringing: 6 Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, 1 Song Thrush

Wednesday 15th April 2020

Our first Whitethroat of the year was just south of the caravan site with a Lesser Whitethroat just outside the recording area in the Customs House grounds. Other migrants today were 2 Blackcap, 2 Wheatear, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Jay, Redpoll, Redwing, Rook, Swallow & Woodlark which might look an impressive list but its a lot of effort for few birds. On the ringing side the Greenfinch is the first one ringed this year which is a very sad state of affairs when one considers that for two years running in the 1980's over a thousand Greenfinch were ringed just in the month of April alone - how times have not been kind to this once ubiquitous species.

Ringing: 2 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Wheatear.

Tuesday 14th April 2020

Cool start but at least yesterdays biting wind has abated. What few migrants that were about included 4 Blackcap & 4 Wheatear. Offshore observations again pathetic with the highlights of an hours observation being single Fulmar and Gannet amongst a handful of Cormorant & seagulls. 6 Turnstone were on the point & a Sanderling on the beach.

Moth traps were pathetic producing just 2 moths so here's a stunning Pebble Prominent from yesterday which is a species partial to Poplars explaining why the occasional one is found here.

Ringing: 3 Linnet, 1 Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear

Monday 13th April 2020

A change in the weather this morning with the still, blue skies of yesterday now seeming like a distant memory. A strong north east wind and the thermometer not rising above 8 degrees, its no  surprise that the birds have cleared out en mass.

Of note today bird wise, a single female Blackcap control was caught in the Heligoland. On the Reserve, 4 Turnstone were at the Jetty and 23 Whimbrel bravely struggled north offshore.

The moth tap was a little better with the first Dark Sword-grass of the year, it is presumably of migrant origin.

Sunday 12th April 2020

Glorious start followed by a warm morning that brought a selection of migrants including our earliest ever Reed Warbler beating our previous earliest by four days (although we only have a grand total of 16 previous April sightings since 1982 as the bulk of reedies pass through in the second half of May & June). Other migrants included 20 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, Black Red, Bullfinch, Fieldfare, Jay, Robin, Willow Warbler & Yellowhammer. Overhead southbound 37 Black-headed Gull, 28 Goldfinch, 5 Swallow, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Meds, 2 Siskin, Jackdaw & Mipit.

Warmer night so moth traps starting to pick up including the first Angle Shades of the year which, despite being common, is a good looker.

Ringing: 12 Blackcap, 2 Linnet, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Bullfinch, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin, 1 Wood Pigeon, 1 Wren.