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Saturday 16th May 2020

A quieter day than yesterday but there were still a few birds moving through.

A couple of Spotted Flycatchers were present in the Holm Oaks. A Chiffchaff was singing from the bushes and 2 Willow Warblers dropped in late in the morning. Vis-mig included 13 Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail.

On the reserve all the Wheatears seem to have departed leaving just 8 Pied Wagtails by the Tank Blocks. On the Sea 5 Little Terns were feeding offshore.

The Large Yellow Underwing is now out and about. It is a ubiquitous species that can occur in vast numbers in some years as it now a resident and immigrant.

Ringing: 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Linnet, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Wood Pigeon

Friday 15th May 2020

Museum Paris ringed Lesser Whitethroat

Only the sixth site record of Short-toed Lark was seen by just two observers early morning down alongside the boardwalk at the point before departing. A handful of other migrants included 6 Swallow, 2 Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Whimbrel & Yellow wag plus a couple of new Lesser Whitethroat. 8 Male Whitethroat were singing and if they all stay it could be our best breeding tally on record.

Teleiopsis diffinis was one of only a handful of moths to brave the overnight frost & put in an appearance. It lives on Sheep's Sorrel and can be very common here later in the season.

A French ringed Lesser Whitethroat is only the third French ringed Lesser 'throat ever trapped in the whole of the UK. The above map shows the Foreign Location of all Lesser 'throats ringed or recovered in the UK - nicked from the BTO with further information at

Ringing: 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Linnet, 1 Willow Warbler

Thursday 14th May 2020

Another chilly start to the morning with a light wind from the north picking up as the morning progressed.

There were a few migrants still passing through with a Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and a Blackcaps in the bushes along with the usual singing local summer migrants. Vis-mig was quiet but a single Skylark headed north.

The Stonechat was still on the Reserve along with 3 Wheatears by the Tank Blocks and a Sanderling was on the beach.

On the Sea 17 Common Terns and 7 Little Terns were feeding offshore and a single Kittiwake headed north.

A Muntjac was seen by the fort first thing this morning.

Cochylis atricapitana is common here with the larvae feeding on a range of weed species including Ragwort which is not very common here, so its far likely they are feeding on St John's Wort which is abundant.

Ringing: 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler

Wednesday 13th May 2020

The northerly airflow is curtailing any action although for many species spring migration will be done & dusted before long. Today's migrants include 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Wheatear, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler plus the female Stonechat present the last couple of days who, when trapped, was found to be carrying some fuel reserves and is quite possibly a bird of the nominate race, Saxicola torquata rubicola, heading back to her breeding grounds on the continent as British birds will be feeding young by now. Offshore a couple of Gannet went north & 5 Sanderling were on the beach.

Only the second site record of Seraphim showed up. It is not that rare a species where it occurs but is one that doesn't wander much to places like this.

Ringing: 1 Blackcap, 1 Linnet, 1 Stonechat.

Tuesday 12th May 2020

It was hard to imagine we're in May first thing this morning, with a chilly start making it feel a little like autumn and the thermometer only reading 4°C, before eventually warming to a pleasant sunny day.

Not only did the weather feel slightly autumnal but the birds as well. A Brambling dropped into the Holm Oaks with a pair of Chaffinches before heading north. We've had 6 previous May Brambling records with the latest being a single on the 19th. A 'continental' type Robin was also ringed, presumably still heading back to its breeding grounds somewhere in the north.

Also around were at least 10 Lesser Whitethroats, 10 Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler. On the reserve a Stonechat was by the Practice Guns and 2 Wheatears were still by the Tank Traps.

On the Sea 25 Common Terns and 12 Little Terns were feeding in the mouth of the river first thing this morning.

The cool nights are certainly not very productive for moth trapping and there was a distinct drop in the numbers found in the traps, so partly in desperation I think this is the first time we've put up a photo of a Heart & Dart. One of the commonest and most widespread species in the UK.
Ringing:1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Robin, 1 Willow Warbler

Monday 11th May 2020

A bitter cold north east wind isn't particularly welcome after experiencing a brief spell of warm weather.

With the high tide backed by the strong wind it caused a bit of havoc with the fencing for Nesting Birds on the seaward side of the Reserve. A chilly march out saw the fencing put back into place, hopefully the waves will leave it be and the job won't need to be repeated tomorrow.

Apart from the usual breeders in their bushes, it was rather thin on the ground on the land with only a Stonechat and 3 Wheatears of note.

Offshore was a little more exciting, with a Arctic Skua heading North, along with 6 Gannets and a Sandwich Tern. In the River a group of around 30 Common Terns and 15 Little Terns were feeding before heading out.

With the cold weather moth numbers have plummeted over night although it didn't stop this Silver Y from finding the trap.

Ringing: Nil

Sunday 10th May 2020

Orange Tips are present just outside the recording area along View Point Road north of the Custom's House but only occasional does one wander down to visit us.

Glorious start with the wind increasing as the day progressed. Migrants hard to come by although 8 Sanderling were on the beach & 3 Wheatear on the reserve. 4 Swallow & 2 Yellow Wagtail went south plus 35 Common Scoter south offshore. In the bushes it's becoming a case of Lesser Whitethroats & Whitethroats pairing up in their territories plus a returning male Blackcap from last year singing in the observatory compound.

Chamomile Shark is only noted a couple of times annually but is obviously present at a low population density and always a joy to see.

Ringing: nil.