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Saturday 2nd April 2022

A snowless day, though still quiet on the migrant front. Some notable highlights were a short-eared owl heading north mobbed by gulls and crows, and a new firecrest ringed. A ringed rock pipit was present on the point. Late morning 6 siskins flew south, and the local female peregrine was present for the first time in a while, though not for long. 

No moths graced the traps this morning, though eventually as the afternoon wore on, a dark bordered beefly was present in the Helgoland.

Birds Ringed: Chiffchaff 1, Firecrest 1, Robin 1

Friday 1st April 2022


Heavy snow showers this morning, with a biting north wind, precluded much migration monitoring. Most birds rather sensibly chose to stay in cover rather than expose themselves to the elements. Some were more hardy, such as the long staying purple sandpipers on the point, the local partridge and woodpigeons. Even the shelduck were only noted passing by rather than congregating in the grassy areas.

Alas for the Observatory staff, we had to venture out in this to rescue and re erect the ringed plover fencing that had been washed away by the strong waves overnight. Despite our fears, every post was still present and between three of us, the posts were back in place before the end of the morning. Thankfully the weather had abated slightly during this, only to come back with a vengeance once we'd returned.

Red- throated diver flying south and a brave chiffchaff present in the obs grounds were the avian migrants of note, with the moth traps producing a single familiar Hebrew Character.

Birds ringed: zero, nets were not opened in this weather, for obvious reasons. 


This March was slightly higher than last years totals, by a paltry 16 birds for a total of 129! Perhaps a combination of COVID measures last year restricting ringing and pretty poor weather and wind direction this year. Neither year compares to 2020, which saw a March total of 219 birds ringed. blackbirds as usual dominated the month, closely followed by chiffchaffs. Of the 27 blackbirds ringed, it was almost a 50-50 split between the sexes, with 14 females ringed and 13 males, 3 of the former showing signs of breeding condition, with brood patches emerging. 

The most notable record of the month was a 2nd year male grey wagtail. Whilst autumn can see us ring or recapture into the hundreds, spring ringing records are very much in the single figures. Two other grey wagtails were seen investigating the Helgoland trap, but sadly neither were caught. 

Also of note were a pair of firecrest, caught in the same net at the same time on 14th, equalling the numbers of goldcrest for the month which is unusual, but perhaps representative of the awful breeding season the latter had last year.


No. ringed











Song Thrush


Blue tit




Great Tit










House Sparrow




Black Redstart






Grey Wagtail








Thursday 31st March 2022


Unsurprisingly, much like elsewhere in the south, weather was  foul today. Strong winds, snow/sleet and ice on the ground. Only a few nets up, prior to the snow, and only one bird ringed. 

A few migrants through in the wind, a grounded golden plover and a summer plumaged black throated diver flying north were most notable, though a male brambling calling on the obs grounds was a close third. A lot of gulls present offshore, 450 herring and 150 great black backed the majority, though single figures of common and black headed went through also.

One moth in the trap, not surprisingly, due to the low temperatures, and equally unsurprising, it was a Hebrew Character.

Ringed birds: Blackbird 1

Wednesday 30th March 2022

Grim start with annoying drizzle clearing to give few migrants including 16 Redwing, 3 Black Redstart, Blackcap, Chiffchaff & Skylark. 31 Sanderling were on the beach early doors plus a couple of Purps on the point. Offshore northbound 75 Brents, 5 Common Gull, Common Scoter & Kittiwake with southbound a Red-throated Diver.

Ringing: 2 Redwing, 1 Chiffchaff.

Tuesday 29th March 2022

A windier day today, though a lot more migrants seen than yesterday. A second grey wagtail of spring was seen briefly checking out our ponds before flying south. A fracas between two male black redstarts saw one end up in a mist net and getting ringed, an adult and probably a few years old based on plumage. 80 redwings were hanging around the observatory early morning, though only one was ringed. First greenfinch of the year ringed, an adult female. Another blackcap and two chiffchaffs were new in. Two blackbird females caught today showed brood patches, which means they're gearing up for the breeding season.

Moth wise, we had our first Early Grey. This is a species that is common around honeysuckles and occasionally finds its way down to the observatory.

Ringing: Blackbird 2, Blackcap 1, Black Redstart 1, Chaffinch 2, Chiffchaff 2, Greenfinch 1, Robin 1, Redwing 1, Song Thrush 1.

Monday 28th March 2022

A very quiet day today, with heavy mist and low temperatures. Migrant numbers were lower than usual, with a couple of chiffchaffs and some meadow pipits moving in the fog. Shelduck numbers up to 11 currently, highest we've had so far this year. 40 sanderlings at the point early morning were of note.

Only 3 birds ringed today, however that beats yesterdays total of 0.  

Moths were similarly thin on the ground, with a Pine Beauty being the highlight. This is a coniferous species, no surprise, that wanders in the spring.

 Ringed birds: Chiffchaff 2, Robin 1

Sunday 27th March 2022

Cool misty morning clearing to give a glorious sunny pm although north-easterlies at this time of the year do us no favours at all. 34 Redwing cleared off early on plus a Brambling dropped in for a while were today's grounded migrants. Offshore northbound 4 Red-throated Diver, 2 Oyk, 2 Shoveler, Curlew & Little Egret. Single Purp was on the point.

Very few moths with nothing new for the year so here's a Dark-edged Bee-fly for a change. Adults are excellent pollinators although the larva are parasites on solitary bees. 

Ringing: nil.