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Saturday 31st October 2020

 A breezy morning with strong south westerlies gradually picking up later in the morning.

This led to it being rather quiet in the bushes except for a few lingering Goldcrests. A Mistle Thrush pitched into the Hawthorn behind the Obs and a Brambling was briefly in the Poplars.

There was a bit of vis mig with 150 Goldfinch, 28 Siskin, 8 Linnet, 6 Redpoll, 4 Chaffinch, 3 Greenfinch, 8 Meadow Pipits, 1 Rock Pipit, 2 Skylarks and 4 Swallows heading south. With the wind picking up 191 Starlings and 27 Chaffinch in off the sea.

There were 7 Turnstones and 2 Purple Sandpipers on the Jetty at low tide this morning but little else on the reserve. 

On the sea this morning, 1847 Cormorants headed out to their fishing grounds first thing, a Brent, 2 Shelduck and a Golden Plover headed south along the beach and 8 Gannets headed south further out to sea.

Ringing: 8 Chaffinch

October Ringing Totals

One of two Yellow-browed Warblers caught this month

A busy month with 1,000 birds of 35 species and some good day totals as well. 

Rainy easterlies on the 3rd led to the highest day total with 150 birds caught throughout the day, including 81 new Robins and a Brussels control. A couple of scarcities were also ringed including 2 Yellow-browed Warblers and a Red-breasted Flycatcher, as well as some late common migrants including a Pied Flycatcher, a Reed Warbler and a Whitethroat. A late Grasshopper Warbler was then also caught the next day.

The highlight of the month came on the 13th when a Radde's Warbler was ringed. This was the 4th individual to be ringed at the Observatory. Also of note this month were 11 Firecrest, a late Willow Warbler, 2 Ring Ouzels and a Purple Sandpiper which was caught in a walk-in-trap on the Jetty.

There was also a good movement of Lesser Redpolls throughout the month, which led to 226 new birds being ringed and also the capture of 3 British Controls and a Mealy Redpoll which had joined one of the flocks. Also of note this month was a Brussels ringed Goldcrest, one of 146 caught this month.


Friday 30th October 2020

Yucca flowering at the northern end of the Reserve.

A rather quiet day with next to no vis-mig and very little moving on the sea.

Vis-mig included 94 Goldfinch, 54 Redpoll, 43 Siskin, 13 Chaffinch, 5 Linnet, 2 Greenfinch and 3 Meadow Pipit. A male Merlin was hanging around the Obs and seen on several occasions, it was presumably trying to make a meal out of one of these migrants. The bushes were quiet except for a few lingering Goldcrests.

Out on the Reserve a single Wheatear was still by the Tank Blocks and 5 Turnstone and 2 Purple Sandpiper were on the Jetty. 

On the Sea 6 Common Scoter, 2 Brent, 1 Great-creastyed Grebe, 3 Turnstone and a Grey Plover headed south and 5 Brent headed north.

Ringing: 1 Lesser Redpoll

Thursday 29th October 2020

A bit of action prior to the rain setting in including 2 Little Bunting flying south calling low over the observatory watch point. Also southbound 314 Goldfinch, 137 Siskin, 62 Redpoll, 53 Mipit, 36 Linnet, 14 Chaffinch, 2 Grey Wag, Pied Wag & Swallow. Offshore southbound 13 Brent, 12 Black-headed Gull, 11 Pintail, 7 Knot, 4 Common Gull, 4 Gadwal, 2 Dunlin, Great-crested Grebe & Guillemot with northbound 3 Red-breasted Merganser & Guillemot plus 2 Gannet & a Bonxie loitering. In the bushes not a lot apart from 2 Goldcrest, Blackcap, Chiffchaff & Firecrest plus the lingering Wheatear on the reserve.

Ringing: 23 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Song Thrush.

Wednesday 28th October 2020

Glorious sunny start with the weather looked set fair for a reasonable spell of visible migration first thing but, for some unknown reason, it largely failed to materialise with just southbound 74 Goldfinch, 40 Redpoll, 32 Siskin, 24 Mipit, 23 Wood Pigeon, 20 Linnet, 7 Chaffinch, 6 Greenfinch, 2 Skylark, Marsh Harrier & Reed Bunting. Offshore movements very poor with southbound 3 Brent, 3 Gannet, Knot & a Red-throated Diver that pitched in. On site loitering from recent days 3 Goldcrest, Blackcap, Firecrest & Wheatear. A juvenile Peregrine has been around in recent days in addition to the resident pair.

Ringing: 8 Lesser Redpoll.

Tuesday 27th October 2020


Cormorants heading out to fish.

A breezy cloudy start to the morning with rain setting in by 0930.

There was a smaller finch movement than the previous couple of days with, 307 Goldfinch, 134 Siskin, 103 Redpoll, 51 Linnet, 39 Chaffinch, 8 Crossbill, 6 Greenfinch and 3 Brambling. The Wood Pigeons have finally started to move as well, with 565 heading south along with 5 Stock Doves. Other birds on the move included 69 Meadow Pipits, a Rock Pipit, 7 Swallows, 4 Reed Bunting and 2 Little Egrets. A Ring Ouzel headed inland and 500 Starlings came in off the sea when the rain started.

A Woodcock was behind the Obs at first light this morning and there were still a few birds in the bushes including a few Goldcrests, a Firecrest, a Chiffchaff and a couple of Blackcaps. On the Reserve a Wheatear was still by the Mine Station.

On the sea 19 Brent, 2 Pintail, a Shelduck, a Gannet and 2 Knot headed south. over the course of the morning 515 Cormorants went out to fish on the sands and a Purple Sandpiper was on the Jetty.

Ringing: 15 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Redwing, 1 Wood Pigeon.


 Landguard is looking for people who are passionate about looking after one of Suffolk’s most important places. Bordered by the North Sea, Orwell estuary and the Port of Felixstowe the Landguard Peninsula contains a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Scheduled Ancient Monument, Nature Reserve, Bird Observatory, Museum and Grade 1 listed Fort. We need people who are willing to use their skills, experience and enthusiasm to ensure Landguard’s natural environment and heritage is conserved and enhanced for the future. A new Landguard Charitable Trust will be established as an incorporated charity that will manage challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. The Trust will replace the existing loose partnership structures. Managing the allocation of finance and resources it will take a joined up approach, maximising the benefits the peninsula has to offer. To do this we very much need a board of trustee’s who can work together for the benefit of Landguard.


If you are interested in getting involved in shaping Landguard’s future, or if you know someone who might, please email: and more information will be provided. There is no obligation.


The LBO are looking for one trustee to represent them. The board will also be made up of six independent trustee’s. Knowledge of Landguard is not essential, just the desire to make a difference and become part of Landguard’s long history. Support and training will be available to all those selected.


Ringing Recoveries

 Looks like the Belgium ringing office is getting back to work with the following received -

Goldcrest ringed Landguard 23rd September 2019 was retrapped 323 km away at Neerharen, Limburg, Belgium 12th October 2019. We previously have Goldcrest recoveries from Belgium but this is our first in the opposite direction in the same autumn.

Blackcap ringed Assende, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium 26th September 2019 retrapped 187 km away at Landguard 6th April 2020.

Blackcap ringed Wingene, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium 10th October 2019 retrapped 166 km away at Landguard 6th April 2020.

Both of these birds would have been ringed on their first autumn migration in Belgium were retrapped here on the same morning. We have a total of nine Blackcap recoveries to & from Belgium. It is impossible to tell whether these individuals were coming into the UK to nest or birds leaving the country having wintered here as Blackcap's have responded to climatic change over the last 30 - 40 years.

Monday 26th October 2020


Another morning with a good Vis-mig first thing before petering out.

Again it was mostly finches on the move with 415 Goldfinch, 76 Linnet, 64 Siskin, 64 Redpoll, 19 Crossbill, 14 Chaffinch, 13 Greenfinch and 4 Brambling. Also on the move were 143 Woodpigeon, a Stock Dove, 37 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 23 Skylark, 12 Swallow, a Buzzard and the highlight, a ringtail Hen Harrier heading south and then passing low over the Obs and across the river into Essex.

The bushes were quiet except for a few Goldcrests and 2 Blackcaps up by the Butts. On the reserve there were 2 Wheatears out by the Mine Station and a Turnstone on the Jetty.

There was a small movement of birds on the sea with 2 Brents and 7 Golden Plover heading south.

Ringing: 5 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Wheatear.

Sunday 25th October 2020

It's been another bumper Woodlark autumn although not many of them have pitched in.

Vis mig entertaining for the first couple of hours with southbound 146 Siskin, 128 Goldfinch, 86 Redpoll, 36 Crossbill, 25 Chaffinch, 22 Linnet, 22 Mipit, 11 Skylark, 10 Greenfinch, 5 Swallow, Reed Bunting, Rock Pipit & Sparrowhawk. Very few grounded migrants although 4 Goldcrest, 2 Wheatear & 2 Woodlark worth a mention. Offshore pathetic with southbound 7 Wigeon, 4 Brent, 2 Common Gull, Gannet & Pintail plus 2 Gannet north. 45 Ringed Plover & 2 Dunlin were on the beach at high tide early doors before the punters arrived.

Ringing: 5 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Robin.