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Saturday 25th April 2020

A rather overcast and cold start to the day this morning with the hopes that the cloud cover would drop some migrants in but it wasn't to be.

In the bushes were 4 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 2 Blackcaps. The female Ring Ouzel was still by the practise guns but proving very skulky when you try to approach her. A Yellow Wagtail and Whimbrel flew over calling. There were 7 Wheatears by the Warren.

The sea was largely dead although at least 5 Seals could be seen on the distant Cork Sands and a Common Seal was just off the beach. A Purple Sandpiper and 2 Turnstones were by the Jetty.

Phtheochora rugosana is one of the few micros bothering to put in an appearance at the moment. Its food plant is White Bryony which seems to look lush and green even in these drought conditions.

Ringing: 1 Blackbird, 1 Blackcap,1 Robin, 1 Wren

Friday 24th April 2020

Another day of fine weather, a light northerly breeze and a bit of cloud and haze which dropped a few birds in at first light.

A 'Continental' race Song Thrush was singing away at first light, and two 'continental' Robins were caught in the nets, so there are still a few wintering birds passing through. At least 4 Lesser Whitethroats and 3 Whitethroats were singing around the reserve. Other migrants passing through included a 3 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Swallows passing over, Chiffchaff, a Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 5 Wheatear and the Ring Ouzel was again by the Practice Guns.

On the sea 2 Whimbrel, 2 Fulmar and a Brent Goose headed north. A Common Seal was also seen offshore.

A Chocolate Tip was new for the years in the moth trap, this stunning little moth has a southerly distribution, with two flight periods a year and its larvae feed on Poplar spp.

Ringing: 2 Blackcap, 2 Robin, 1 Linnet, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler

Thursday 23rd April 2020

Finally a much needed change in the wind, with it dropping to a light north easterly breeze, finally allowing us to open more than just a few nets.

At least 5 Blackcaps moved through the scrub along with a Chiffchaff, 3 Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat. A Great Spotted Woodpecker briefly dropped into the Tamarisks, called a few times and headed SE across the river. A Yellowhammer flew over calling and 3 Swallows headed south and a single headed north. On the sea 39 Whimbrel headed north

 The Ring Ouzel was in the same spot as yesterday, a Yellow Wagtail was on the lawn along with 6 Wheatears. A Tree Pipit was present in the Cottage before briefly visiting the poplars at the Obs. Its noticeable how the number of tree pipits being recorded in the spring have plummeted this century. In the last 20 years there have been 5 where not a single Tree Pipit was recorded and the best April days have only recorded a maximum of two. A bit of a change from what many 'older' birders remember, who probably once took this species for granted.

The warmth meant there were a few more butterflies on the wing, a female Brimstone was in the Heligoland and Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Peacocks and Speckled Woods were also noted.

The moth trap this morning held a fresh Early Grey, an infrequent visitor who larvae feed on Honeysuckle, so it tends to be commoner in urban gardens.

Ringing: 3 Blackcap, 1 Blackbird, 1 Linnet

Wednesday 22nd April 2020

Migrants still hard to come by with the prevailing Scandinavian high pressure system so good to get a Ring Ouzel out on the parched lawn. Also noted 5 Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Jay, 2 Skylark, Blackcap & Lesser Whitethroat.

Moth numbers still pathetic due to the ongoing cool gale straight off the North Sea so here's the first Small Copper of the year.

Ringing: 1 Chiffchaff.

Tuesday 21st April 2020

Another day of easterlies, with little change in speed but still pleasant out of the wind. With the lack of rain and strong winds everything is starting to look rather brown and parched, we could really do with a good April shower.

The Redwing was still present on the Reserve this morning. At least 11 Wheatear were present by the Tank Block, 2 Whitethroats were still displaying, a Chiffchaff was singing behind the Obs and a Lesser Whitethroat singing on the Icky Ridge. A Purple Sandpiper was on the Jetty, avoiding the worst of the waves.

On the sea 10 Common Terns, 2 Fulmar, a Whimbrel and a Bonxie headed north.

Behind the Obs in the sunny shelter of the steps was a rather fresh looking Speckled Wood, which makes up for a distinct lack of moths at the moment.

Ringing: 1 House Sparrow

Monday 20th April 2020

Strong Easterlies again this morning but sunny and pleasant provided you can get out of the wind.
In the bushes 2 Whitethroats were displaying on the Reserve and a 2 Chiffchaffs were in the bushes by the Observatory. By the Warren there were still good numbers of Wheatears with 13 present and 29 Shelduck were roosting on the grass.

On the Sea, a Bonxie was sitting offshore. A Brent Goose headed south while a Red-throated Diver, 7 Common Terns and a Fulmar headed northbound.

The first of the years Shuttle-shaped Dart was caught but it will soon become one of the commonest moths in the traps over the next month.

Ringing: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Wheatear

Sunday 19th April 2020

17 Wheatear with a supporting cast of 4 Whitethroat, Blackcap, Brambling, Chiffchaff & Lesser 'throat. Heading north 20 Whimbrel, 11 Common Tern, 3 Swallow, Fulmar & Jackdaw. 3 Turnstone were on the point.

Pugs don't you just love them ? Brindled Pug only started to appear here during the course of this century and annually only in the past ten years. Even now we don't get many so always a bit of head scratching when they bother to put in an appearance.

Ringing: 5 Wheatear, 1 Sparrowhawk.