Landguard Bird Observatory 02.11.2013
Leaders: Nigel Odin & Justin Zantboer
On walking along the promenade early morning at Felixstowe, it was nice and clear with the sun coming up behind clouds, but as the members arrived at the meeting point at Landguard, the mist had also arrived too, making visibility poor. Nigel greeted us and led us to the Observatory hoping the mist would dissipate. On entering the site we were informed that a Sparrowhawk had been caught in one of the nets so we headed up to the ringing station for a closer view. The bird already had a ring which, upon reading it, informed us that it was a female that had been rung the previous year.
Early arrivals at the Observatory had seen a Brambling briefly and while the rest of us congregated there, we observed the Little Owl in its usual spot, flyover Meadow Pipit and on hearing Redwing, located a bird in the bramble out front. A Firecrest was shown to the group as was a male Lesser Redpoll and we were to hear more of these fly over later. Some of the group went on a tour of the Observatory where Nigel explained about mist nets and Helgoland traps.
Tea, coffee and cakes were laid on for us which were a treat and whilst enjoying these we were told that a Dartford Warbler had been trapped. We were fortunate to get a close view of this lovely warbler and were informed it was a first year bird, indicating it was likely to be a local post-breeding dispersal individual. This species has suffered in the last two winters due to the cold and snow so it was good to see the species has fared well this summer. It turned out that this was only the fifth time Dartford Warbler had been present at the site.
Once back all together and with the mist clearing, Nigel and Justin led the group out on to the common, heading to the point first. A couple of Wheatears, good birds for November showed well as they caught insects while at the point a group of gulls, that included Black-headed, Common and at least five Mediterranean Gulls, were gathered dip feeding in the turbulence created by the tide turning. Three waders flew off from the shore that turned out to be Sanderling and two Goosanders flew over and up the River Orwell, a good record for the site.
Along the beach, a flock of Greenfinch and further views of the Wheatears and out to sea three Common Scoter and Brent Goose. Opposite Icky Ridge a Woodcock flew out and over the docks, a migrant that had arrived from across the North Sea. We carried along the Butts and back to the Common without seeing much else bar a nice Kestrel that landed up on one of the ports pylons.
Many thanks to Nigel and Justin for an enjoyable trip the southernmost point of Suffolk.