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Saturday 9th May 2020

Yesterdays Sanderling 

Another warm and reasonably still day, with the wind picking up slightly from the north-east as the morning progressed.

There were a few birds singing in the bushes at first light with at least 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroats, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcap and a Reed Warbler. Vis mig was quieter than yesterday with 15 Swallows, a House Martin, a Yellow Wagtail, Stock Dove and a Jay noted.

On the reserve a recently fledged Blackbird was seen by the Butts. There were also 3 Wheatears by the Tank Blocks

On the Sea 4 Common Terns lingered off the point fishing with 2 Little Terns, a Sandwich Tern headed North and 13 Brent Geese headed out.

In the trap this morning was the first Diamond-back Moth of the year, presumably this one is a migrant and in some years they can reach plague proportions filling the trap and kicked up in their hundreds while walking on the reserve.

Ringing: 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Whitethroat.

Friday 8th May 2020

Barely a breath of wind or a ripple on the sea at first light this morning, with only a slight breeze picking up by midday.

The pleasant conditions brought a few migrants in, with 15 Whitethroats, 10 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Blackcap and a Garden Warbler in the bushes, although there were strangely no Phylloscopus warblers about. A wandering pair of Long-tailed Tits were ringed, sadly the outcome of a failed breeding attempt elsewhere. Vis-mig included a Corn Bunting, 25 Swallows, 4 Yellow Wagtails, a Siskin and a Jay.

On the sea 15 Little Terns moved nosily north, as did a pair of Avocet, 4 Oystercatcher and a Common Tern. A Whimbrel and 2 Curlew headed South and a Sanderling was on the Beach.

The White-shouldered House Moth is common in buildings. Its larvae feed on dried plant and animal debris but not on your clothes. Only occasionally do we find them in the moth trap.

Ringing: 6 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Long-tailed Tit

Thursday 7th May 2020

Chaffinch numbers have been plummeting in recent years across the UK and has been lost as a breeding bird at Landguard. Four seen this morning are probably birds originating from way up north in Europe on their way back from whence they came.

A clear still morning with some haze up river led to a beautiful day. Things were quiet on the sea with a Whimbrel, Curlew and a noisy group 4 Sandwich Terns heading North and a Dunlin was in the old Aggregate Yard with a Ringed Plover. A Hobby came in off the sea, pursued by a group of Pied Wagtails. At least 10 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Whitethroats, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, a Reed Warbler, a Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher were in the Bushes. Vis-mig included 24 Swallows, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Sand Martins, 2 Yellowhammers and a Tree Pipit.

With the warm weather lots of Butterflies were on the wing, with Green Hairstreak, Small Coppers, Holly Blues, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Peacocks and Red Admirals all noted. The first Large Red Damselfly was on Butts pond with a Broad Bodied Chaser also present.

A Slow Worm was basking by one of the Batteries again and a Common Seal was seen offshore.

Finally who wouldn't want to see the first Poplar Hawk-moth of the year.

Ringing: 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Linnet, 1 Wood Pigeon, 1 Willow Warbler

Wednesday 6th May 2020

Always good to get 3 Whinchat on a spring morning with a supporting cast of 4 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff & Redstart plus the usual Whitethroats & Lesser's singing their little hearts out. 2 Whimbrel went out then north but nothing else noted on the move. Late news - Spot Fly appeared early afternoon.

Moth traps are producing very little not helped by cool overnight temperatures and easterly winds. Lychnis is now appearing which is a species we just get odd ones of throughout the season.

Ringing: 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Redstart, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Wheatear, 1 Wood Pigeon.

Tuesday 5th May 2020

A strong easterly wind this morning which seemed to be able to whip round corners.

Bird wise it was rather quiet, a Redstart was in the scrub between the Cottage and the Mine Station. The usual Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats were still singing from their territories and 2 Chiffchaffs were passing through. On the reserve there were still 5 Wheatears by the Tank Blocks and a White Wagtail with the Pieds. Vis-mig included 6 Goldfinches and 7 Swallows.

On the Sea a Sandwich Tern and 7 Whimbrel headed north and 46 Common Terns were feeding in the River Mouth.

Tachystola acroxantha is an adventive species from Australia that is common here.

Ringing: 1 Chiffchaff

Monday 4th May 2020

A male Slow Worm within the Fort

Landguard felt a bit like an island first thing this morning, with fog covering the sea to the east and the river to the west but with blue skies present above the Observatory.

Sadly it didn't do much to bring in the birds, with the usual Lesser Whitethroats and Whitethroats in place and only a few migrants. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling over the noise of the Port behind the Fort,  2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Willow Warblers were in the bushes. Vis-mig included 14 Swallows, 6 Sand Martins and 6 Goldfinch.

On the Reserve a Whimbrel was on the Beach and 5 Wheatears were by the Tank Blocks. On the sea a Bonxie headed north and 14 Common Terns loitered by the river mouth.

A few more butterflies were on the wing with an Orange-tip and Holly Blue seen on the Reserve. A male Slow Worm was recorded within the Fort, a notable record as none were seen last year.

'Bird Poo' moths are always challenging for the faint hearted. This one is Epiblema scutulana, the larval are partial to the roots and stems of Thistles.

Ringing: 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Wheatear, 1 Willow Warbler

Sunday 3rd May 2020

Calm & overcast morning. Migrants include 11 Wheatear, 8 Whitethroat, 4 Lesser 'throat, 3 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff & Yellow Wag. Vis mig southbound 15 Black-headed Gull, 10 Crows, 9 Goldfinch, 7 Med Gull, 7 Swallow & Jackdaw with northbound 2 Barnacle Geese & 2 Jackdaw. Offshore barely worth a mention although a Kittiwake loitering was notable for the time of year.

Female Emperor Moth very occasional come to light with this one looking like it has already had a rough time so the males might have encountered her already.

Ringing : 3 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Linnet, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wood Pigeon.