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Saturday 23rd September 2023

Much cooler and more breezy today. Still we had some good observations, with siskins south, a male great spotted woodpecker paying us a visit, and the red-backed shrike continued to entertain as it munched on crane flies and shieldbugs, amongst other insect prey. Meadow pipit numbers were much reduced today, with only 162 heading south. A spotted flycather was a nice surprise though it shouldn't be, just a sign of how they're declining. A couple of sparrowhawks harassed the local birds, even the red-backed shrike hunkered down when a large young female was on the prowl. 

Barred Sallow is an autumnal visitor from areas of field maple and beech.

Birds Ringed: Blackcap 5, Chiffchaff 1, Goldfinch 4, Grey Wagtail 2, Meadow Pipit 5, Sparrowhawk 1, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Willow Warbler 1. 

Friday 22nd September 2023

The red-backed shrike was still happily feeding behind the observatory kitchen throughout the day, adding black redstart to the throng of birds that have mobbed it since it arrived yesterday. A whinchat was also feeding in the same area mid morning.

9 cattle egrets flying high south over the obs before heading back north were only the 4th record of the species for the site. 

Common migrants were pleasantly abundant, with almost 700 meadow pipits in or around the observatory, 17 siskins flew south, and blackcap and chiffchaff numbers having increased significantly. A small influx of 4 goldcrest were a sign of late autumns approach. 

The first Mallow of the autumn is slightly earlier than we expected.

Birds Ringed: Blackcap 17, Blue Tit 1, Chiffchaff 8, Dunnock 1, Goldcrest 2, Great Tit 2, Grey Wagtail 2, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Meadow Pipit 48, Willow Warbler 1. 

Thursday 21st September 2023

A nice calm start to the morning after yesterdays wind was as productive as we might have expected, as the wind direction wasn't ideal. 1428 meadow pipits moved south along with 145 siskin. The bushes were much busier than in prevous days with good numbers of blackcap and chiffchaff, with a sprinkling of lesser whitethroats, willow warblers and whitethroats for good measure. Wheatear numbers were up to 7, the Cetti's warbler was still present and a great spotted woodpecker was in the obs compound at lunchtime.

Star bird however has to be the 1st year red-backed shrike found by the helgoland late afternoon. As is often the case with young shrikes it was very obliging and fearless, and totally unbothered by the attentions of a lot of the local birds mobbing it.  

Rusty Dot Pearl is another migrant that turns up here in autumn.

Birds Ringed: Blackcap 8, Chiffchaff 4, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Grey Wagtail 7, Goldfinch 4, Lesser Whitethroat 3, Meadow Pipit 34 Robin 2, Sparrowhawk 1, Whitethroat 1, Willow Warbler 3.

Wednesday 20th September 2023

Far to much effort put into sea watching for southbound just 20 Great Black-backs, 2 Barwit, 2 Sandwich Tern & the first Manx Shearwater in a couple of years. Difficult birding in a near gale with occasional fine drizzle resulted in at least 4 Chiffchaff & 2 Blackcap on site but little else of note to comment on.

Dark Sword-grass is another immigrant appearing in reasonable numbers at the moment.

Ringing: 2 Blackcap.

Tuesday 19th September 2023

A foul day, with wind gusts getting up to 8 on the beaufort scale out on the reserve. As such, passerine migration was pretty limited. 3 siskins and 98 meadow pipits were the highlight, along with another arctic skua and 7 bar-tailed godwit all heading south. A few grey wagtails were battling their way south also. The tree sparrow was still present and elusive on the reserve. 

Clancy's Rustic first turned up here in 2006 and has been a resident since 2017.

Birds Ringed: Blackcap 1, Chiffchaff 2, Grey Wagtail 2, Robin 1, Willow Warbler 1.


Monday 18th September 2023



A return to the blustery days we've become so familar with. A few migrants passing through, another arctic skua headed north offshore, with 29 teal, a grey plover and even 60 linnet heading in the other direction. The Cetti's warbler is still present out on the nature reserve, along with a few lingering willow warblers amongst 8 chiffchaffs.

A squash plant is growing wild out on the reserve, no doubt the remnants of someones lunch a few month ago.

The Delicate is a migrant appearing in very good numbers so far this month.

Birds Ringed: Chiffchaff 3, Grey Wagtail 2, Willow Warbler 1

Sunday 17th September 2023

ENE breeze and overcast conditions provided the incentive for a mornings sea watching which was rewarded with a Cory's Shearwater heading slowly north at 1010 hrs. The supporting cast was a bit paltry with southbound 68 Teal, 25 Brent, 4 Wigeon, 3 Gannet & 3 Oyk with northbound 45 Common Tern, 18 Common Scoter, 4 Gannet, Brent & Shelduck plus offshore 5 Sandwich & an Arctic Tern. Overhead 8 Grey Wag, a handful of Mipit plus a Tree Pipit south. On site very few migrants although the start of Song Thrush passage was noted. The elusive Tree Sparrow put in another appearance between the obs compound & the cottage.

Scarce Bordered Straw is a migrant that has started to show up in recent days in one's & two's.

Ringing: 5 Grey Wagtail, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler.