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Saturday 19th June 2021

After yesterdays deluge this morning was damp, cooler & with a northerly influenced airflow. Offshore 3 drake Eider south & 2 Sandwich Tern north was it. Overhead 2 Swift screaming & a Swallow went north along the beach. Good to trap a juvenile Black Redstart although whether it is an offspring of one of the pairs here or whether it is a dispersing youngster from other pairs breeding in the dock this year is not known.

The number & variety of moths was suppressed by the weather conditions. Small Elephant Hawk-moth is a regular here.

Ringing: 3 Linnet, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Dunnock, 1 Greenfinch.

Friday 18th June 2021

Rain, heavy at times & as the forecast isn't much better its an early bath today. Starring out into the abyss produced a Gannet but literally nowt else going past in several hours observation.

Brown Oak Tortrix has only been noted here previously in 2019 & is surprisingly scarce in Suffolk.

Ringing: nil.

Thursday 17th June 2021

Lesser Whitethroat - we have 5 pairs across the site with some now feeding young out of the nest.

Wet & muggy morning. Southbound 9 Curlew, 8 Sandwich Tern & Whimbrel with northbound 9 Common Scoter & Fulmar. A single Sand Martin south is the first of the autumn. Finally an adult Mistle Thrush is odd for the time of year as if we get any at this time then they are usually juvs.

Tawny-barred Angle is an inhabitant of coniferous trees and, as such, is infrequent here.

Ringing: 1 Goldfinch

Wednesday 16th June 2021

Freshly hatched chick heading back under mum. 

A warm onshore breeze brought no grounded migrants. Single Swallow, Swift, Tufted Duck & Whimbrel headed south, Fulmar north & a Kittiwake over the observatory into the river.

Cydia microgrammana is another Landguard speciality. This nationally scarce species is rarely recorded away from areas of Restharrow.

Ringing: 3 Linnet.

Tuesday 15th June 2021

Rose-coloured Starling

 Completely overcast through the morning for a nice change with the cloud breaking up from lunchtime to produce another warm afternoon albeit with a cooling easterly breeze; the day's highlight was an adult Rose-coloured Starling which was present out on the point with Starlings on and off all morning - presumably / possibly / probably a different individual from the bird last seen on the 9th.

Other birds comprised 2 Black Redstarts, 5 Common Scoter, a Fulmar, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, a Reed Warbler and 8 Swifts.

Ringing: Reed Warbler 1, Starling 1, House Sparrow 1, Linnet 5

Elachista biatomella is a nationally scarce species with Landguard one of the few Suffolk sites

Monday 14th June 2021

Mute Swans

 Sunny and humid throughout although cloud built up from mid-afternoon; birds highlights were few and far between but included another 13 Curlews heading south at sea - while always nice to see, it is somewhat sad to think that these early returning birds represent failed breeders, 4 Black Redstarts, a Chiffchaff, a Fulmar, a dispersing juvenile Coal Tit, 2 Jackdaws, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Swallow and 3 Swifts.

It was though, a notable day for Odonata with the first site record of Lesser Emperor - a female hawking around on The Butts along with another Norfolk Hawker (still <10 records here but with the species colonising southern Suffolk at a fair rate over the last few years and four records in the last three days, we're sure there'll be more to come), a female Broad-bodied Chaser ovipositing in The Butts pond and a Four-spot Chaser.

Ringing: Chiffchaff 1, Coal Tit 1, Linnet 3

Pugs are traditionally a difficult-to-identify group of moths but V-Pug here is one of the easiest

Sunday 13th June 2021

Never had a Pheasant here for so long, but as we occasionally see a female, that is probably the reason why.

Hot & sticky morning. Very much the time of year when its a case of "hunt the migrant". 4 Jackdaw paid a visit & single Fulmar & Swift flew south. Lots of busy adults are tending for their young & baby birds on site at the present time which is good, as a lot of the earlier attempts this year didn't get very far due to the cold drought in April followed by a cold & wet May.

Two Norfolk Hawker this morning including one quartering the area right down on the point near the jetty. With the plant with which it is associated in the new pond by the cottage will it colonise ?

We do quite well for Sand Dart. It is a nationally scarce species restricted to habitats like this, which accounts for its rarity.

Ringing: 1 Blackbird, 1 Linnet.

Saturday 12th June 2021

Black Redstarts are busy feeding young

 Generally fine and clear with sunny spells and a brisk NNW breeze to take the edge off the humidity; it was a quiet morning as birds of note consisted of 3 Black Redstarts, 2 Common Terns, a Fulmar, a Buzzard heading north over the river, 8+ Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Siskins going south and single Swift and Swallow.

Also of note was a Norfolk Hawker flying along the front of the compound late morning.

Ringing: Woodpigeon 1, Dunnock 2, Blue Tit 1, Linnet 2

Two Silky Wainscots were trapped overnight which is notable as we have only six previous records of this reedbed species

Friday 11th June 2021

Red-legged Partridge

 Fine and clear at dawn but within minutes cloud and murk rolled in obscuring the land across the river and even the tops of the dock cranes, this lasted a few hours and it eventually turned back clear, warm and sunny by late morning.   

More hints of autumn passage came with another 8 Curlews heading south at sea along with 19 Swifts and 9 House Martins while other birds comprised a Barnacle Goose, 23 Canada Geese, a Black Redstart, a Kittiwake, 8 Mediterranean Gulls, a Reed Warbler, 3 Sandwich Terns and the Starling flock rising to at least 800.

Ringing: Dunnock 1, Linnet 4, Goldfinch 1

Pine Hawkmoth - on the odd occasion that this species is recorded here they are usually tatty and worn but this one is pristine!

Thursday 10th June 2021


 Clear, sunny and warm first thing with a little, cooling NW breeze bringing an extended cloud belt at lunchtime which lasted through until mid-afternoon; a singing Marsh Warbler was very elusive halfway up the reserve, found late morning, it only gave brief tantalising views as it chuntered away deep in cover.

Other birds gave an autumnal feel to the summer's day with 7 Curlews south at sea being returning birds already and a dispersing juvenile Siskin looking like it was regretting leaving the forest so early along with 3 Black Redstarts, a Chaffinch, 4 Common Terns, a Buzzard, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns and 5 Swallows.

Ringing: Dunnock 2, Blackbird 1, Linnet 2

Broken-barred Carpet - only the second site record

Wednesday 9th June 2021

Good to see some juvenile Pied Wagtails appearing over recent days.

Glorious sunny morning. The Rose-coloured Starling reappeared briefly in front of the observatory early morning. No grounded migrants were apparent with southbound 7 Swallow & the first 2 Siskin noted since 26th April. 7 Sanderling were on the beach & the 2 regular Turnstone by the jetty. No apologies if we forget to mention Black Redstart on the blog every day as a couple of pairs are doing the business & are very much a welcome part of the scenery this year.

Celypha rosaceana haunts areas of vegetated shingle so occurs here in low numbers.

Ringing: nil.

Tuesday 8th June 2021

Common Blue

 Another gorgeous morning, calm, warm and sunny with a little onshore breeze developing towards lunchtime; there was a trickle of southbound birds perhaps hinting that this was though the first day of autumn (!) which included 2 Curlews, 4 Gannets, 2 Swifts, a Teal and a Grey Wagtail.

Other birds of note comprised some geese heading down the coast with 2 Barnacles, 2 Greylags and 66 Canadas, 2 Black Redstarts, a Common Tern, 2 Gadwall, 3 Avocets heading up the river, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 6 Sandwich Terns, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Sanderling and 2 Turnstone.

Ringing: Blue Tit 1, Linnet 4

Mother Shipton is a day-flyer on areas of rougher grass

Ringing Recoveries

Herring Gull colour ringed River of Life Church 1st July 2019 was at Havergate Island 9th October 2020, Herwedehaven, Dordrecht, Zuid-Holland, The Netherlands 23rd January 2021 then at LBO 2nd June 2021.

Mediterranean Gull colour ringed DeKreupal Island, Enkhuizen, Ijsselmeer, The Netherlands 19th June 2020 was at LBO 1st June 2021.

Lesser Whitethroat ringed Hollesley 2nd August 2019 was retrapped at LBO 16 km away on 13th May 2021.

Also two Lesser Redpoll ringed LBO last autumn at LBO were retrapped 16 km away at Hollesley end of February & early March 2021.

Monday 7th June 2021


 Another beautiful day, sunny and warm with a feather-light onshore breeze; the highlight was once again the fine adult Rose-coloured Starling which spent a bit of time first thing out on the common in front of the Obs but it never stayed in one place for long and soon disappeared towards town.

Other birds comprised an unseasonal female Firecrest trapped and ringed first thing, 2 Black Redstarts, dispersing juvenile Greenfinch and Chaffinch (presumably from fairly local nest sites), 2 Common Terns, a Kittiwake, 2 Sandwich Terns, 12 Swallows south and a Swift.

Cream-spot Tiger - A beautiful and fairly regular guest in the moth traps

Ringing: 1 Chaffinch, 1 Firecrest, 1 Great Tit, 1 Greenfinch, 1 Linnet.

Sunday 6th June 2021

With an influx of the species underway into north west Europe it was hoped that a Rose-coloured Starling would put in an appearance. This adult male ranged from the caravan park down to the point & is the 11th to be noted here with, hopefully, many more to come.

As expected, for the time of year, few other migrants present although 2 male Blackcap arrived & a Swallow was singing from the telephone wires. Otherwise southbound 5 Swallow & 3 Oyk with northbound a Whimbrel. The usual Black Red's are in their favoured spots as are the Lesser Whitethroat's & Whitethroat's on territory. 2 Turnstone at the point may be contemplating over summering with us.

The nationally scarce Tinagma ocnerostomella is a tiny tot that is a bit of a site speciality as it lives on Viper's Bugloss.

Ringing: 3 Linnet, 1 Blackcap, 1 Great Tit.

Saturday 5th June 2021


 After a great deal of rain overnight it was understandably grey and a bit chilly first thing but it very gradually brightened up becoming sunny and warm once again by midday; two new Chiffchaffs in the nets were late migrants going who knows where at this time of year.   

Other birds comprised a Black Redstart, a flock of 90+ Common Scoter heading north on the horizon, a Common Tern, at least 16 Sandwich Terns broadly heading south, a Curlew, 3 Fulmars, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, a Reed Warbler, 11 Swallows, 11 Swifts, and 2 Turnstone.

Ringing: Chiffchaff 2, Robin 1, Linnet 1

Eyed Hawkmoth is one of those stunning looking species which only occasionally turns up here

Friday 4th June 2021

A regular feeding flock of Gulls has been appearing off the jetty when the tide reaches a certain point

 A fine morning with a light NNE breeze and some sunshine until it gradually clouded over bringing pretty solid rain from midday and through the afternoon; nothing really in the grounded migrant department with a few birds floating around offshore including 3 Common Terns, 3 Little Terns, 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Kittiwakes, a Fulmar, 10 Mediterranean Gulls and a drake Pochard heading south.

Also of note were a Black Redstart, a Chaffinch, a Buzzard south, 14 Swifts and 3 House Martins in and north, a Reed Warbler and 3 Turnstone.

Ringing: Great Tit 1, Whitethroat 1, Robin 1

Oak Hook-tip lives on Oak trees, so is only occasional here

Thursday 3rd June 2021


 Another fine, warm day with some morning cloud and the wind now in the SW; 2 Chiffchaffs and a Reed Warbler in the nets hinted at some late spring passage still going on but it was again, a quiet day in the field.

Birds of note comprised 9 Barnacle Geese, 2 Black Redstarts, a single Brent Goose, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 5 Sanderling, 6 Sandwich Terns, 13 Swallows, a Swift and 3 Turnstone.

Ringing: Reed Warbler 1, Chiffchaff 2, Great Tit 3, Black Redstart 1, Linnet 3

The number and variety of moths is finally picking up - Phyllonorycter messaniella mines are abundant on the Holm Oaks, with the moth only 4mm long

Wednesday 2nd June 2021

Pied Fly at the northern end of the site was today's prize with a handful of other migrants including 6 Sanderling, 3 Turnstone plus 7 Swallow south & a House Martin north. Apart from this it is largely down to the breeding birds.

Light Brocade is one of those species that we just get occasional one's of.

Ringing: 1 Great Tit, 1 House Sparrow.

Tuesday 1st June 2021

Plenty of young Starlings out and about now

 Similar again with a slightly lighter ENE breeze and wall-to-wall hazy sunshine; birds today comprised 3 Black Redstarts, one flock of 12 Brent Geese going north (can't be too many more to come now), a Chaffinch, a Chiffchaff, 19 Common Scoter north, single Gannet and Fulmar, a House Martin, a Kittiwake, a Little Tern, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, a Reed Warbler, 3 Swallows and a Turnstone.

Ringing: Woodpigeon 1, Chiffchaff 1, Linnet 2

Heart and Dart - can be very common here but even they, are only appearing in very low numbers this year so far

May Ringing Totals

 Despite the very poor month we moved up in the rankings with May 2021 only the third worst May on record, just behind 2017 and 2018!   As in April we have been pretty much defeated by the weather, dominated again by cold northerly based winds obviously not productive in terms of spring migrants coming from the south!

Totals comprised;

Willow Warbler




Lesser Whitethroat








Spotted Flycatcher






Reed Warbler








Garden Warbler


Sedge Warbler




House Sparrow


Blue Tit


Lesser Redpoll


Common Redpoll










Despite many birds having a rough start to the breeding season, the first juveniles began to appear by the end of the month - here a Dunnock and a Linnet

Monday 31st May 2021

Black Redstart

 A similar day again with a brisk ENE breeze and clear skies but pretty hazy, reducing visibility; it was also similar in the fact that it was still very quiet on the bird front as sightings comprised another 48 Brent Geese north, 2 Chaffinches, 2 Black Redstarts, a Common Scoter, a Fulmar, a Great-crested Grebe which landed on the sea, a gathering of gulls off the point in the evening which included 300 Herring Gulls and 5 Mediterranean Gulls, a House Martin, a Little Tern, 2 Sandwich Terns and 4 Swallows.

Ringing: Nil (despite having a good number of nets open all morning!)

Toadflax Brocade is a Red Data Book species that has colonised urban gardens in Felixstowe this century which accounts for the occasional ones here

Recent Ringing Recoveries


This Oystercatcher was originally ringed as an adult at Fagbury over 35 years ago on 23rd March 1986 - the mudflats that are now covered by the port's Trinity Terminal. It is known to have nested on the reserve in at least 1997 & 2003 but often chooses to nest just inside the dock complex in many other years.

Lesser Redpoll ringed Landguard 29th September 2020 was retrapped 215 km away at Budby, Nottinghamshire 23rd April 2021.

Lesser Redpoll ringed Landguard also on 29th September 2020 was retrapped 473 km away at the Calf of Man, Isle of Man 13th May 2021.

Sunday 30th May 2021

Local sparrows are starting to reoccupy holes in the main Fort in recent years as all suitable sites at the main colony around the cottage are in use.

Fairly stiff north-easterly breeze. Today's migrants included 3 House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Swallow & Hobby. Have all the Brent gone as just 5 headed out then north - or had the head wind to migrate into put them off ?

Marbled Minor is one of those extremely variable species living on grasses.

Ringing: 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 1 House Sparrow.

Saturday 29th May 2021

First Small Heath of the year

 A few clouds first thing but the moderate ENE breeze had pushed them away by mid-morning, leaving a sunny and warm day albeit with an onshore wind; it was another quiet morning birdwise though with a Barnacle Goose south, 2 Black Redstarts, a Blackcap, another 106 Brent Geese heading out and north, 2 Chaffinches, 4 Common Scoter, 9 Common Tern, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, the first fledgling Robin of the year, a Sparrowhawk and 6 Swallows south.

Ringing: Dunnock 1, Robin 1, Blackcap - a Dutch control!

With the warming temperatures a few more micros are starting to appear including this Notocelia cynosbatella 

Friday 28th May 2021

Green Hairstreak

 We finally woke up to the long-prayed for SE breeze with some cloud cover so there was a touch more anticipation than of late but it proved to be a quiet morning with few grounded migrants; birds of note comprised 4 Black Redstarts, another 377 Brent Geese out of the river and north at sea, 2 Chaffinches, 18 Common Scoter north, 2 Common Tern, 2 Dunlin, 2 Fulmars, 3 Kittiwakes, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, a Reed Warbler, 15 Sanderling, 9 Sandwich Terns, 14 Swallows south, a Wheatear and 5 Whitethroats.

Ringing: Starling 2, Linnet 2 (including the first fledged juvenile)

Angle-barred Pug of the form "unicolor" can be very common here.   It used to be called Ash Pug with the subspecies living here, Tamarisk Pug with all three of these formally different, now lumped together as one species (I think that's right - according to the scribbled notes that I'm copying from anyway!)

Thursday 27th May 2021

 Light NW winds and some misty murky cloudy conditions produced a little smattering of migrants across the area including a Blackcap, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Reed Warblers, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, a Wheatear, 6 Whitethroats and 2 Willow Warblers.

Other birds of note comprised 2 Black Redstarts, another 163 Brent Geese heading out of the river and north, 17 Common Scoter north, 3 Fulmars, 4 House Martins, 9 Swallows and a Swift north, 2 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and 2 Turnstone.

Coxcomb Prominent visits occasionally.

Ringing: Wren 1, Whitethroat 1, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Blackcap 1, Reed Warbler 1, Willow Warbler 2, Chiffchaff 1, Spotted Flycatcher 3, Linnet 1

Wednesday 26th May 2021

This Grey Heron flying past is wearing a ring.

Getting towards 'last knockings' as far as the bulk of spring migration is concerned although this mornings offerings include 2 Spot Fly, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler & Wheatear. Heading south 9 Swallow, 3 House Martin & Swift plus offshore 12 Black-headed Gull, 9 Kittiwake, 4 Oyk, 4 Sandwich Tern, 2 Fulmar & Whimbrel. Another 267 Brent Geese headed to there breeding grounds in the far north of Asia. 2 Little Tern were offshore, Turnstone on the point & 4 Black Reds are still with us.

First Nutmeg of the season - the sort of fairly nondescript species that can put beginners off moth trapping.

Ringing: 1 Spotted Flycatcher