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Saturday 3rd June 2023

Avian highlight of the day was the whinchat that has been here a few days being observed by all, finally. Two reed warblers, one of which was singing, were new in. Lots of juvenile birds present now, as expected in June. 3 pied wagtail juveniles joined the growing throng of young starlings and linnets on the reserve, all of which are eyed hungrily by the recently fledged magpies and crows in the area. 

Dragonflies took advantage of the sunny weather, with the first emperor being seen over the Butt's pond, and 5 broad-bodied chasers used the emplacement pond as a battleground late morning. 

Heart and Dart is the commonest species of moth in the traps presently. However the selection of species is not as diverse as it should be for this time of year.

Birds Ringed: Goldfinch 1, Magpie 1, Reed Warbler 1, Robin 1, Starling 1.


Friday 2nd June 2023

The morning started with a bang, when one of the observatories regular observers found a rose-coloured starling in town. This bird (or perhaps another) was then found later on the nature reserve hanging out with some common starling families. It was pretty flighty and had disappeared before 7am. Whilst birders were out looking for it a turtle dove was found, and either new whinchat and wheatear or the previous days birds were also encountered. 

The first juvenile great tits fledged yesterday and they and their parents were an obvious presence in the observatory grounds all morning. A new spotted flycatcher was seen, but it remained elusive all morning.

The larvae of Pale Mottled Willow moths live on grass seeds, so they do fairly well here.

Birds Ringed: Great tits 3.

Thursday 1st June 2023

We are stuck in a rut with the cool north-easterlies off the North Sea continuing. A selection of early June migrants cheered us up in an overcast morning with 5 Sanderling, 4 Reed Warbler, 3 Swift, 2 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Spot Fly, the first Wheatear for nine days & the first Whinchat for us this year. A total of 121 Brent headed out then north with others northbound including 24 Common Scoter, 5 Black-heads, 2 Common Tern, 2 Med Gull, Common Gull & Mallard plus what is quite probably the start of autumn passage for Curlew which normally get going at this time of the year. The usual Black Red was back on the Fort in the afternoon belting out his plaintive tunes. Finally the first baby Great Tits have come out of their nest hole (slightly on the drag this year).
Peppered Moth is a master of disguise. Stepping back slightly they totally blend in with the wall.

Ringing: 4 Linnet, 3 Starling, 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Dunnock, 1 Spotted Flycatcher.


May 2023 saw 50 less birds ringed than 2022, and certain species weren't ringed at all, great tit and blue tit being the most surprising. Almost all species were down on last year with the exception of garden warbler which at 4 birds ringed was double last May's number, and blackcap which were over double last years total at 19. This is most likely because the influx of juvenile birds has not occurred yet, as the spring seems, at least here, to be later than last year. The first juvenile linnet and starling were only ringed this morning for example, when in 2022 both were into double figures by this point. 

Wheatear numbers were significantly lower than last year, with only a couple of days of double figure records, none of which were in May. The ringing numbers were correspondingly low.

Spotted Flycatcher numbers were abysmally low compared to last year, with just a single bird ringed compared to 7 in May 2022. Perhaps they are late in, as the constant northerly winds will not help incoming migrants, but its quite possible that this will be the entirety of our spring records.

There was a first ringing record for Landguard with a 2nd year buzzard ringed on 22nd. This is not a species that was on the radar at all, as they scarcely occur over Landguard, still more rarely land on the reserve. This individual was harassed by the local corvids which almost certainly is the reason it was caught. It was also underweight and exhausted as we would expect, but after a nights roosting in the holm oaks, it flew strongly south. 

Willow Warbler










Lesser Whitethroat




Reed Warbler


Garden Warbler
















Spotted Flycatcher






Wednesday 31st May 2023

An unexpected belt of rain in the night brought in a scattering of late migrants. A blackcap and chiffchaff were singing in the compound and a new whitethroat was passing through. A summer plumaged grey plover headed north, along with a few swifts. Kittiwakes were passing by in both directions.

Starling numbers are building daily and the juveniles are starting to form their own flocks as their parents 'encourage' their independence. The first juvenile starling and linnets were ringed at the observatory.

Clouded-bordered Brindled is a variable species of moth, and the dark forms like this are scarce here.

Birds Ringed: Linnet 2, Starling 1, Whitethroat 1.

Tuesday 30th May 2023

Breeding season continues, in the face of the consistent strong northerlies. The local great tits are not far from fledging, the magpies and crows have their young out on the reserve and the herring gulls have started targeting young rabbits, so abundant are they currently. The bachelor black redstart is still doing his best, though its very unlikely he'll attract a mate now. Some of the juvenile starlings are very naïve with one feeding between the legs of observers today before sitting between them on the same bench! Hopefully he grows out of that very quickly.

The seawatching was where the excitement was today, with 22 gannets passing through the highest count in some time. 2 Avocet heading north were easily the avian highlight of the morning. 

Setaceous Hebrew Character is one of our commoner species that is just now emerging.

Birds Ringed: Chiffchaff 2. 

Monday 28th May 2023

The north wind doth blow . . eternally it seems. Very quiet as seems to be the theme this month. A singing chaffinch in the compound was unexpected, and the black redstart is still singing his head off in the docks. We hope there might be goldfinch breeding on site somewhere, as they've been around the compound daily all spring. a few seabirds flew north through the morning, a fulmar and 5 gannets, which we don't see daily.

Yellow Belle is fairly common here. It has two emergences with the first emergence this year in far lower numbers than we'd expect.

Sunday 28th May 2023


This mornings migrants were 2 Sanderling, new Whitethroat, Willow Warbler plus the first record this year of a Cuckoo (which over the course of this century has acquired oddity status). Usual Black Red singing his little heart out on the Fort - give him 10 out of 10 for effort in trying to find a mate.

We can do well for Bordered Sallow as it lives on Restharrow. It will be interesting to see how many get seen this year following on from last years drought conditions.

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