Tuesday, 8 October 2013

I have a new website.

Please visit: www.mickorwellestuary.co.uk

Best wishes

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Trimley Marshes

I left Ipswich at 0530 hrs and the temperature was zero, picked up Anna and by the time we had arrived at Trimley we were in thick fog and everywhere was cloaked in a heavy frost.

We had to wait a couple of hours before the sun burnt off the fog and frost, and it was then we caught a few birds. Normally my first Chiffchaff of the year would be located by song but today my first encounter was of one in a net. There were eight Chiffchaffs in the area and we caught four. We also caught our first Bullfinch of the year.

After a very cold start to the day in turned out warm and sunny.

The reserve was alive with birds, noisy and a there was a great deal of activity. Observations included Woodcock, two Peregrines and five Buzzards and a Spitfire over.

A frosty start to the day

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Trimley Reserve

This morning we saw Barn Owl, Sparrowhawk, 2 Woodcock and 7 Redpoll.  Still no summer migrants.

Friday, 29 March 2013


Levington, bright and sunny for a change but still bitterly cold in the wind plus we had a few snow flurries. No migrants but twice, a well marked male Mash Harrier put in an appearance, we also had female Sparrowhawk and there were a few Linnets about, singing from the tops of the gorse bushes.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Trimley Reserve

Trimley Reserve: Drake Scaup, Bittern, water Rail and 68 Snipe on the summer flood (Ernie Lucking).

Friday, 15 March 2013

Trimley Reserve

March 15 2013, Trimley Reserve
I was birding at Trimley today; still good numbers of wildfowl about but the best bird of the morning for me was a female Hen Harrier hunting over the marsh, the Peregrine Falcon put in an appearance as did two Buzzards.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Levington Lagoon

March 12 2013, Levington Lagoon

We were wadering at the Lagoon last night.  The local forecast was for high winds up to 20 k/hour. In exposed places like saltmarsh this would be way to high to net but in my garden at 4pm there was hardly a breath of wind.  

If we took note of the local weather forecasts we would never be out ringing; by 7pm our nets were up, conditions were perfect, by their absence the waders did not know that, it was a cold night, a spring tide, no moon, cloudy and hardly a breath of wind until after midnight when we also had a snow shower.

We were on the Lagoon for eight hours for only four birds but these species are hard to catch for a variety of reasons.  Wadering at night is so unpredictable but whatever the catch the information collected is useful and the whole experience is so rewarding. The time flew by.

In the region of 400 Brent were with us all night and as the tide made they fed within 25 metres of us, pushed by the tide there were several thousand waders at roost on the opposite bank of the creek.

We caught four birds two Dunlin, one Lapwing and a female Teal.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Levington Lagoon

We arrived at first light on a ebb tide, the first of the muddy saltmarsh fringes were being exposed for returning waders to feed. There was a variety of species, which included Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Dunlin and Lapwing. Several Fallow Deer fed in the grassy fields opposite the creek and two Buzzards were seen over the nearby wood.

Ringing was slow; we had a female Sparrowhawk perched up and hunting through the site, inevitably due to its fast, low hunting mode of flight it soon found one of the nets. However, it did not stay in there for long; they are so long legged and powerful they are seldom caught. We did catch the wintering Dartford Warbler.
David and Ernie birding at the Lagoon (SWT volunteers)
(All photos by Anna Alam)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Trimley Reserve

After a frosty start, the sun came out for a while; then the morning turned out to become the mildest so far this year. Once again, despite calm conditions, not many birds were caught, the best being a re-trap female Cetti’s Warbler.  Birding was good with observations including 45 Snipe (Ernie Lucking), 3 Ruff, c450 Lapwing, Marsh Harrier and two Buzzards.  There were also several hundred Black-headed Gulls on the reserve and we also saw a Water vole in a willow nibbling the bark.
Cetti's Warbler

Saturday, 2 March 2013

BTO Bird Migration Blog: Spring migration 2013 has begun!

BTO Bird Migration Blog: Spring migration 2013 has begun!: With some parts of the UK experiencing a small amount of spring-like weather it is not too surprising that, although it is still very early,...

Monday, 25 February 2013


Levington, overcast and bitterly cold once again.  Our aim was to catch a few birds towards our ongoing project, however, in six hours we drew a blank but the birding was excellent.  The flooding tide brought thousands of waders close, the flying formations by the Knot and Dunlin were a joy to watch.  There were lots of wildfowl, especially Shelduck, sheltering in the bay and a drake Merganser close inshore was seen.  One of the highlights was 80 Avocet loafing at top tide in deepwater.  Other observations included a hunting Peregrine and a Marsh Harrier.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Trimley And Levington Reserves

Birding update for Trimley Marshes and Levington Lagoon; over the last few days amongst all the waterbirds at Trimley there have been 2 White-fronted Geese, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose, The drake Greater Scaup is still on the reservoir and the long staying Ruff still shows well. 

At Levington the over wintering birds are still present; Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe and Dartford Warbler in addition to 3 Rock Pipit (per Bins, Oldfield and Wright)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Lower Hollesley

I was on Lower Hollesley Heath on a very spring like morning; Skylarks were singing and I heard my first Woodlark of the year.  Other birds of note include Stonechat, Sparrowhawk and Dartford Warblers.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Levington Lagoon

It was frosty and bitterly cold at sunrise this morning. There were only a few passerines frequenting the scrub areas but, briefly, the Dartford Warbler made an appearance. However, the wader action in the creek, on the flooding tide, was superb.The Jack Snipe and Spotted Redshank were showing well in the lagoon.
Scrub habitat at Levington

Monday, 4 February 2013

SWT Low Water Count

February 4 2013
SWT Low Water Count

For once we had sunshine albeit blustery.  This was our last count for the winter of 2012/2013.  Observations received so far are indicating that wading bird numbers will be low.  On my count section I did not have any Dunlin or Knot, which is highly unusual.

There were 183 Gadwall on Loom Pit Lake, Marsh Harrier and Kingfisher at Levington, drake Greater Scaup and Bittern at Trimley and the Peregrine was on the Bridge.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Levington Lagoon

Levington lagoon - we watched 32 Snipe drop into the lagoon area, other birds of note include a wintering Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe and a female Marsh Harrier.  On the river amongst the Brent Geese was a Black Brant (Ernie Lucking).

Monday, 28 January 2013

Trimley Marshes & Levington Lagoon

27/28.01.2013 Trimley Marshes - several thousand duck have returned to the reservoir following the recent quick thaw.  Other observations include Bittern, Buzzard, Peregrine and drake Scaup.  At Levington Lagoon the jack Snipe is still showing well and a ring-tailed Hen Harrier frequently puts in an appearance and a male Marsh Harrier.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Newbourne Springs

It was another cold morning at Newbourne Springs; not many new birds but we did catch our first Fieldfare and Redpoll of the new year.  Observations included Woodcock, c50 Siskins and several Redpolls.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Newbourne Springs

January 22 2013

At sunrise it was cold and sleety before sunny periods started a slow thaw. I spent the morning at Newbourne Springs where I managed to catch a few birds including a Jay. Observations included 5 Woodcock, a flock of Siskin, Sparrowhawk and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

See more photos on my web site www.mickorwellestuary.co.uk

Thursday, 17 January 2013


SWT Coordinated Estuaries Count

It was the January Stour and Orwell Low Water Count today, which is organised by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

It was the coldest night of the winter with temperatures down to -10. Predicted low water was for 0900 hours so that meant we had to be at our sections by 0800 hours. I was well wrapped up but I was cold!

I have only received a few records so far and they include 1,000 Knot, 400 Oystercatchers, 183 Wigeon and 35 Pintail in front of Pipers Vale. There was also 156 Gadwall and 116 Avocet at Loom Pit Lake.

The waterbirds have it tough during these harsh winter days. On my patch I was the only person out, except for 27 dogs, which were all running free (no doggy bags), one man had 8 dogs, two women treated the mudflats like a play ground for their dogs. I had a phone call from one of my counters to say he could not count, as the gamekeeper would not give him access to shore. The keeper did not want the ducks disturbed before they shot them.

Our wildlife and places suffer in so many ways.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Levington Lagoon

Today at the Lagoon to Jack Snipe were showing well.  There was also two Corn Bunting and one Dartford Warbler (per Ernie Lucking).

Monday, 14 January 2013


Levington is the place to be birding; today there were several Bar-tailed Godwits, 80 Avocets, Jack Snipe, Snipe, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Little Egret and three Rock Pipit.  On the river the Great Northern Diver is still present and a Long-tailed Duck was reported from Freston.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Levington Lagoon

There are now two Jack Snipe and a Spotted Redshank on Levington Lagoon, viewable from the screen (per Bins).  Yesterday the Dartford warbler was also seen again here (P Newton).

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Lower Hollesley

We were on the heath today; our aim was to catch adult Dartford Warblers and individually colour-ring them.  The first task was to find a bird before setting the net.  Anna spotted the first bird flitting above the heather before it dived into cover, shortly after two birds were seen.

The overcast grey start to the morning soon gave way to lovely sunshine. There was a flock of about 12 Goldcrests and a few Coal Tits flitting and feeding frenetically through the gorse and birch.  Two Buzzards were also seen soaring over the heath. We caught a Goldcrest and our first Dartford of the year.

If you go birding on the heaths and you see a Dartford Warbler please check the bird to see if it is wearing coloured rings and send any sightings to me.  Over the last six years Paul Newton and I have colour ringed over 150 birds.  Please keep to the footpaths as there is no need to enter the heather; almost all the territories can easily be seen from the footpaths.

Monday, 7 January 2013


The Great Northern Diver was again viewable from Levington Marina and a Spotted Redshank was seen on Levington Lagoon (per Bins).

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Trimley Reserve

It was a very promising morning before first light due to the lack of cloud and light breeze; however, the lovely sunny start to the day soon gave way to thick wet fog.

While we were erecting the first net, gunshots rang out, which seemed to be close by; then a few more shots were fired. I thought they had come from the winter flood area or at the very least from the managed retreat. The result was horrendous, mega disturbance; every bird on the reserve must have been in the air, thousands of duck, geese, waders and Swans. The noise from the wailing birds was deafening. 
[Yet another incident! No-one has permission to shoot anywhere near the reserve or the retreat.]
There were several thousand waterbirds on the reserve, c500 Lapwing, c50 Golden Plover. 18 Snipe, I Jack Snipe and a Ruff.
Summer Flood

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Newbourne Springs

My first ringing session of the New Year and I was only one hour late!  I arranged to meet Anna at Newbourne at 0630 hours but I made a horrendous blunder with reading the clock – I am never late.

We caught 14 new birds and 8 retraps mostly titmice.  Note the new table top in the photo (by Anna).

Observations included Woodcock 3, Sparrowhawk, Great Spotted woodpecker and a flock of Siskins.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Web site


I now have my own Web site:
Still under construction but getting there.