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Thursday 16th September 2021

Coal Tit

 Warm and humid with a light westerly breeze; there was a bit more life out there than the last couple of days especially overhead as birds heading south included 12 Grey Wagtails, a Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 96 Meadow Pipits and 55 Swallows.   Grounded migrants added 5 Chiffchaffs, 11 Wheatears, 3 Black Redstarts, single Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat, a Coal Tit and a White Wagtail to the day list.

A few bits at sea comprised 2 Grey Plovers, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Red-throated Diver.

Ringing: Grey Wagtail 9, Robin 3, Song Thrush 1, Chiffchaff 3, Blue Tit 1

Star-wort is far from annual with this one flying late in the season for this species

Wednesday 15th September 2021

Southbound 283 Teal, 66 Wigeon (first pulse of the autumn), 20 Common Scoter, 10 Cormorant, 9 Ringed Plover, 4 Swallow, 3 Turnstone, 2 Mipit, 2 Shelduck, Grey Wag, Little Egret & Oyk with northbound 4 Common Scoter & 3 Gannet. As far as grounded migrants are concerned then its not getting any better with todays meagre offerings 5 Wheatear, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat & Willow Warbler. Offshore a couple of lingering Little Tern are with the feeding flock of Sandwich & Common Tern.

2 Delicate are the first of the autumn proper of this renowned immigrant that can arrive anytime June onwards with the bulk from mid-September to early November.

Ringing: 1 Chiffchaff.

Tuesday 14th September 2021

Lunar Yellow Underwing is a nationally scarce species that either wanders down here from up the coast or may live here at a low population density

 Mid-September, nice ESE breeze coming in right from the continent, a bit of drizzle just before dawn and spells of light rain through the morning - just what you want for a nice selection of migrants at a prominent east coast migration site....well, no actually, the nets were literally empty of any birds and the bushes were basically devoid of any new birds.

All the interest was offshore where, despite the poor visibility birds comprised a Sooty Shearwater north at 09:45, a Little Tern feeding with 62+ Sandwich Terns, 65 Teal south, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 3 Gannets, 2 Common Scoters, a Razorbill north (always scarce here), 2 Guillemots, a Great-crested Grebe and an Arctic Skua.

Ringing: Grey Wagtail 1

Monday 13th September 2021

Its the time of the year when the odd Bulrush Wainscot puts in an appearance wandering from local reedbeds

 Partly cloudy with light ENE winds produced few grounded migrants but those unearthed did include 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Wheatears, 3 Grey Wagtails, 3 Blackcaps, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Whitethroat.

Ringing: Robin 2, Chiffchaff 3, Grey Wagtail 3, Willow Warbler 1, Dunnock 2, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Blackcap 1

Sunday 12th September 2021

A family party of 7 Egyptian Geese out then north is our largest ever group of this very scarce visitor to Landguard. Late morning at least 18 Buzzard soaring drifting high south is notable. A handful of grounded migrants included 6 Whitethroat, 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Wheatear, 3 Blackcap, 3 Mipit, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser 'throat, 2 Spot Fly, Chaffinch plus a wandering Great Spotted Woodpecker. Also southbound 10 Sandwich Tern, 7 Grey Wag, 6 Swallow, 5 Mipit, 3 Common Tern, Common Gull, Kestrel, Marsh Harrier & Yellow Wag. A Black Red could be a locally bred bird  or not as they have been a tad elusive recently.

201 Setaceous Hebrew Character in the traps this morning is very high numbers here.

Ringing: 5 Grey Wag, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Mipit, 1 Wren.

Saturday 11th September 2021


 Overcast through the morning although it became brighter and sunnier by lunchtime with a light SW breeze; it was the first day of the autumn so far with a little overhead passage to talk about as birds on the move included 447 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins, 5 Grey Wagtails and 31 Meadow Pipits accentuated by 3 Hobbies and an Osprey high over the docks.

Grounded migrants were thin on the ground but comprised 5 Wheatears, a Blackcap, a Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warblers and a Reed Warbler.

Ringing: Robin 1, Blackcap 1, Willow Warbler 2, Reed Warbler 1, Grey Wagtail 1

Chinese Character is a classic "bird-poo" mimic in the traps at the moment

Friday 10th September 2021

Pearly Underwing is a migrant that has been in short supply this year

 Light southwesterlies and light cloud cover through the morning becoming sunnier in the afternoon; quiet again for new migrants which today comprised 16 Grey Wagtails south, a Yellow Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 2 Wheatears, 2 Sand Martins, 2 House Martins and 40 Swallows south, a Blackcap and 2 Whitethroats.

With the change in wind direction we could at least see the sea to confirm there were few birds passing by rather than just thinking there is - there was though a Gannet, a Curlew, 4 Teal, 2 Wigeon and a Tufted Duck.

Ringing: Robin 2, Grey Wagtail 2, Whitethroat 1, Dunnock 1, Song Thrush 1

Thursday 9th September 2021

First noted here in 2007, Cypress Pug is now annual in small numbers, wandering here from stands of alien Cypress trees

 After some light overnight rain, it was a calm morning with cloud and mist drifting in and out before bright sunshine won the rest of the day; it was a quiet birding day as migrants just comprised 7 Grey Wagtails, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Wheatears, a Willow Warbler, a Whinchat and 5 Yellow Wagtails.

As the light breeze swung round into west a trickle of 180 Swallows, 8 House Martins, 2 Jackdaws and a Heron responded by moving south.

Ringing: Robin 2, Blackcap 1, Grey Wagtail 2, Dunnock 2, Blue Tit 1

Wednesday 8th September 2021

Migrant Hawkers

 Warm, bright sunshine again right through the day with the slightly increased ENE breeze failing to clear the hazy conditions again rendering any attempts at seawatching tricky to say the least; there were fewer migrants across the area than yesterday as totals comprised 10 Grey Wagtails, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Wheatears, 2 Meadow Pipits, a Blackcap and a Willow Warbler.

Feathered Brindle is a nationally scarce species that occurs from Suffolk southwards on areas of vegetated shingle & sand dunes.

Ringing: Woodpigeon 1, Robin 1, Blue Tit 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 1, Grey Wagtail 3

Tuesday 7th September 2021

Grey Wagtail

 Very calm with warm, bright sunshine throughout becoming virtually hot by late morning; it remained very hazy though bordering on misty first thing meaning there was no chance of any meaningful seawatching and all the interest had to be gleaned from the land.   There was though a nice selectin of migrants which included the Wryneck again being very elusive, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 13 Whitethroats, a Tree Pipit, an excellent 14 Grey Wagtails (with seven of them tempted into the Heligoland trap), a Reed Warbler, 12 Wheatears, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Willow Warblers and 2 Redstarts.

Also of note were 32 House Martins and 4 Swallows south and an influx of presumably local 20 Robins.

Ringing: Blackbird 1, Robin 5, Reed Warbler 1, Whitethroat 2, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 1, Tree Pipit 1, Grey Wagtail 7

Some of the 179 Treble-bars in the traps this morning - nice to see this species doing well on its second emergence

Monday 6th September 2021

First site record of the nationally scarce Lesser Calamint, Calamintha nepeta has been found on the banks of Darrell's Battery.   Rather bizarrely it was named the "2021 Perennial Plant of the Year" back in January, an award given it by the Perennial Plant Association. 

 Light ENE winds and bright but hazy sunshine throughout didn't drop too many migrants into the area but those that were included the Wryneck seen briefly again, 9 Wheatears, 3 Willow Warblers, 6 Whitethroats, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Lesser Whitethroats and a Whinchat.

Other little bits comprised 26 Teal south, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone, a Dunlin and 3 Kestrels.

Ringing: Blackbird 2, Robin 2, Blackcap 1, Garden Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Willow Warbler 1

First record this autumn of Feathered Ranunculus which does well on this stretch of coast

Sunday 5th September 2021

A handful of migrants in very low numbers including 6 Swallow, 5 Wheatear, 4 Whitethroat, 3 Grey Wag, 3 Lesser 'throat, 2 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Reed Warbler, Sand Martin, Spot Fly & Yellow Wag plus Pied Fly & Wryneck from yesterday still present. 

One knows is autumn when the Brick is starting to show up.

Ringing: 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Blackcap, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Great Tit, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler.

Saturday 4th September 2021


 Largely overcast through the morning with a stiff NE wind becoming bright and sunny by the afternoon; the now daily scattering of migrants was highlighted by a superb Wryneck which found a mist-net mid-morning.   Also seen were 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 Redstarts, a Whinchat, 3 Wheatears, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat and 3 Blackcaps.

Elsewhere a Black Tern was with a good 112+ Sandwich Terns offshore, 84 Teal went south, a Purple Sandpiper was on the jetty, 2 Knot flew north and 11 Swallows and a Sand Martin were flying around.

Worth an honourable mention was the Osprey scoped up the river early morning as it hovered over the water somewhere opposite Trimley Marshes - rubbish views and a long way outside the Obs recording area but still nice though!

Ringing: Wryneck 1, Blue Tit 1, Willow Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 3, Blackcap 1

Cochylimorpha straminea has only been seen twice in the past ten years, whereas prior to that it was more regular

Friday 3rd September 2021

Pied Wagtail

 A bit more east in the wind and brighter conditions - becoming actually sunny by late morning produced small numbers of migrants which today consisted of a Reed Warbler, 4 Grey Wagtails (two of which were lured into the Heligoland trap), 2 Wheatears, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Redstarts, a Meadow Pipit and 3 Yellow Wagtails.

Also of note were 21 Teal south, single Purple Sandpiper, Sanderling and Turnstone on the jetty and 3 Mediterranean Gulls.

Ringing: Robin 2, Reed Warbler 1, Grey Wagtail 2

Rest Harrow is a Red Data Book species that has colonised over the last five years

Thursday 2nd September 2021


 Same same again, weather wise, overcast with the moderate northerly breeze flirting with the east; as in the last few days there was a little smattering of migrants across the reserve which today included a Grasshopper Warbler on The Butts, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Wheatears, a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Reed Warblers, 4 Whinchats, a Redstart, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 4 Willow Warblers.

Offshore, the few birds of note comprised a Curlew, 6 Common Scoter, 13 Teal, 13 Gannets, a Golden Plover and 4 Oystercatchers.

Ringing: Sparrowhawk 1, Reed Warbler 2, Willow Warbler 2, Pied Flycatcher 1

We weren't expecting to add Golden-rod Brindle to the site list.   Its a northern species that has presumably wandered down in this northerly airflow.

Wednesday 1st September 2021

Once again a smattering of migrants in, what has become characteristically, low numbers including 7 Wheatear, 3 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Redstart, 2 Whinchat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff & Lesser Whitethroat. Offshore a couple of Arctic Skua with northbound 16 Gannet, 4 Common Scoter, 3 Barnacle Geese & Whimbrel. A Kestrel came straight in off the sea.

Citron Plume was first noted here in 2017 & has settled in in low numbers.

Ringing: 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler.

August Ringing Totals

Redstart and Tree Pipit

As is seemingly the theme this year, it was a generally poor month for ringing totals, despite the nets being utilised on the majority of days through the month, there was simply, just a lack of migrants.   We can hope things will pick up through the traditionally busy months of September and October.

Willow Warbler




House Sparrow










Pied Flycatcher












Lesser Whitethroat




Green Woodpecker








Tree Pipit


Reed Warbler


Spotted Flycatcher


Garden Warbler


Great Tit



Some nice birds were caught despite the numbers!

Green Woodpecker and Cuckoo

Tuesday 31st August 2021


 A touch of drizzle at dawn, albeit far less than yesterday produced another little selection of grounded migrants across the area which today comprised a Snipe, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 8 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, a Redstart, 4 Whitethroats, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, a Meadow Pipit, 4 Willow Warblers and 3 Pied Flycatchers.

There was a bit more offshore than of late as well including 108 Teal, 18 Wigeon, 67 Cormorants which came straight in off and up the river, 2 Arctic Skuas, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Curlew, 16 Dunlin, 38 Gannets, a Fulmar, 7 Common Scoter and a Little Tern.

Ringing: Woodpigeon 1, Willow Warbler 1, Whitethroat 2, Redstart 1, Pied Flycatcher 3

Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix is a less than annual visitor

Monday 30th August 2021

Purple Sandpiper

 Low cloud and bits of drizzle in the morning with a light northerly breeze produced at least a bit of expectation that there would be some grounded migrants through the day and this did indeed prove to be the case with the light smattering of birds seen comprising 4 Wheatears, 3 Tree Pipits, 3 Whinchats, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts, a Yellow Wagtail, a Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whitethroat and a Meadow Pipit - amazingly, the first Meadow Pipit seen since 24th April (an outstandingly poor showing!).

The migrant highlight of the day though was a Camberwell Beauty which flew north across The Butts but wasn't seen to stop - the third record after individuals in 1995 and 2016.

There wasn't too much else to mention although a Golden Plover flew upriver, 13 Teal flew south and a few waders on the shore at the point included a Purple Sandpiper, 3 Turnstone and a Sanderling.

Ringing: Sparrowhawk 1, Tree Pipit 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Pied Flycatcher 2

White-line Dart is one of our commonest species at the present time

Recent Ringing Recoveries

Blackbird ringed Landguard 20th October 2018 found entangled in crop netting 1,657km away at Keelva, Laane-Harju, Harju, Estonia 25th July 2021 which is presumably its natal area.

Lesser Redpoll ringed Landguard 11th November 2020 retrapped 508 km away at Pebbles, Scottish Borders on both 31st July & 11th August 2021 which is also presumably its natal area. 

Sunday 29th August 2021

Sea Holly

3 Chiffchaff is a typical date for the start of autumn migration. Other migrants include 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Wheatear, Blackcap, Whinchat & Yellow Wag. A Great Spotted Woodpecker paid a visit, a Jackdaw flew south & what is presumably the same Tree Sparrow as noted in recent days was here again.

Cydia splendana is a great wanderer that feeds on Oak & Sweet Chestnuts.

Ringing: 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 House Sparrow, 1 Wood Pigeon.

Saturday 28th August 2021

First noted in 2017, Celypha rufana is an immigrant that has possibly colonised

 Same again, with the sun poking out through the clouds on occasion and a moderate but increasing northerly based wind; very few migrants on the ground still, totalling 2 Whitethroats, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, a Whinchat, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 2 Willow Warblers.

Offshore, birds comprised 21 Common Terns, 48 Sandwich Terns, 55 Teal, a Common Scoter, 7 Wigeon, a Fulmar and an Arctic Skua.

Ringing: Robin 1, Blackcap 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Willow Warbler 1 

Friday 27th August 2021


 A similar day again albeit with a lighter northerly breeze; there was a similar spread of not too much as 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Yellow Wagtail were the migrant highlights.

Offshore 15 Teal and 5 Dunlin went south and a few terns floated around.

Ringing: Pied Flycatcher 2, Blackbird 1

Dusky Thorn was only noted for the first time last year with this one making it two years in a row; it lives on Ash so is unlikely to make its home with us

Thursday 26th August 2021

The first Lesser Swallow Prominent that we have seen this year, although it is not annual here

 Largely overcast, although the sun did make a few appearances and a brisk NW wind so perhaps unsurprisingly it was a quiet day; offshore, birds comprised 5 Turnstone, 4 Oystercatchers, a Golden Plover, 2 Dunlin, a Greenshank, a Grey Plover and 9 Teal.

The few migrants on the land consisted of single Whinchat, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.

Ringing: Nil

Wednesday 25th August 2021

This worn Wall, first seen a couple of days back, is on the observatory Buddleja and is our first for three years of this declining species.

Migrants were, once again, difficult to come across with todays meagre offerings 4 Whitethroat, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Spot Fly & Wheatear. A Tree Sparrow with the sparrows at the cottage could well have been the one from the north end of the reserve a couple of days back.

Twin-spotted Wainscot is a reed bed species that wanders down here on only rare occasions.

Ringing: 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler.

Tuesday 24th August 2021

These mating Small Red-eyed Damseflies at the cottage pond, makes it an unbelievable 21 species of Odonata noted this year

 A nice calmish start with some cloud cover but the NNE wind picked up significantly by mid-morning blowing the clouds away; again, there was a little scattering of migrants across the area which today included 3 Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Willow Warblers, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Yellow Wagtail.

Also of note were 2 Arctic Skuas including a juvenile lingering just offshore, 3 Common Scoter, a Fulmar and 86 Teal and 6 Gadwall south at sea.

Ringing: Robin 1, Willow Warbler 1

Ancylosis oblitella is a nationally scarce species on the wing at the moment

Monday 23rd August 2021


 A nice day with a light northerly breeze and light cloud cover; it was perhaps, the first day of autumn proper - in terms of autumn passerines anyway as the little scatter of migrants across the area comprised 2 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears, a Redstart, 11 Willow Warblers, a Tree Pipit, a Reed Warbler, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Pied Flycatcher, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Whitethroats and a fine juvenile Cuckoo which found a mist-net early morning.

Conversely, the offshore passage was quieter today but birds of note did consist of 108 Teal, 8 Gadwall and 2 Oystercatchers whilst terns were conspicuous in their absence, partly we're sure due to the unprecedented 1,476 Common Terns which flew south yesterday evening - easily a record count and one that contained 6 Black Terns and 2 Little Terns.

Ringing: Cuckoo 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Pied Flycatcher 1

Bulrush Wainscot is a reedbed inhabitant only noted in a few previous years

Sunday 22nd August 2021

Despite the lack of migrants new dispersing juvenile Robins, on the look out for a winter territory, keep turning up most mornings suggestive of the fact that pairs nearby have reared some young.

The number of departing summer migrants turning up has been very poor with this mornings paltry offerings single Reed Warbler, Spot Fly & Whitethroat with not a single Wheatear or Willow Warbler noted. Southbound movers included 30 Swallow, 8 Black-headed Gull, 4 Turnstone, 3 Great Black-backed Gull, Sand Martin, Tufted Duck & Yellow Wag. There are plenty of birds on the reserve to look through with 220 Linnet, 160 House Sparrow, 16 Goldfinch & 14 Pied Wag plus the locals a welcome sight its just that we would appreciate a bit more variety.

Dark Spectacle is present in small numbers presumably feeding on nettles around the compound.

Ringing: 2 Robin, 1 Reed Warbler.

Saturday 21st August 2021

Sandhill Rustic is a nationally scarce species on saltmarsh that occasionally visits us

 Super flat-calm and overcast through the day with the feather-light breeze swinging round into the SE by late-morning - too late for today but it did provide some anticipation that autumn migration will get going over the next few days!   There was a varied bit of offshore, southerly passage in the morning which comprised 4 Shoveler, 103 Teal, 16 Oystercatchers, 6 Grey Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 29 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Dunlin, 3 Herons, 4 Shelduck, a Common Scoter and a Fulmar.

Also of note were 3 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 14 Swallows, 4 Willow Warblers and 2 Wheatears.

Ringing: Robin 2, Dunnock 2, Willow Warbler 1, Linnet 1