13-19th November

13th – After two days of strong gales overnight Northerly winds brought in a further deluge of Thrushes and finches. Ringing totalled 118 birds, Redwing dominated figures again with 50, other highlights were 4 Fieldfares, 5 Bramblings, 1 Bullfinch and a Sparrowhawk. The total also incorporated the 3000th Blackcap ringed since the ABO began in the spring of last year.  In the afternoon a fine Water Pipit showed well feeding in the outflow just below the Longis car park jetty and 20 Siskins were seen in Barrackmasters Lane.

14th – Without any other committments I was all set for a dawn til dusk ringing session at Mannez quarry. I wasn’t expecting too much given the overnight and continuing westerly winds, I was wrong ! It  was another of those amazing migration days, throughout the morning mixed flocks of Chaffinches and Bramblings some over 100 strong. Starlings and Redwing flocks well into the hundreds! Also a single Ring Ouzel, a handful of Skylarks and Siskins passing overhead. Mid afternoon a Short eared Owl hunted the quarry sending Thrushes in all directions. Ringing with trainee John Wier (nice job John) we returned 141 new birds, 88% of them from 3 species, 78 Redwings, 29 Chaffinches, 17 Bramblings. Also 5 Blackbirds, 4 Song Thrushes, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest and 4 Siskins.

The chance to experience 17 Bramblings in one session does not come along too often so it was a great opportunity to look at some of the identification criteria.

 

Brambling 4 male Nov 17

Adult male Brambling – Mannez quarry – photo – JH – ABO

 

Old Greater Coverts (OGC’s) are fairly easy to see on Bramblings (easier than on Chaffinches at least). Photo below of a first winter male brambling showing the two outer unmoulted greater coverts (more brown with buff/white leading edge and tips)  against the inner moulted greater coverts ( black with orange tips).

 

Brambling OGC's

1st winter male Brambling wing – Mannez quarry – photo JH/ABO

 

It was however the tail that stood out as the most obvious ageing indicator. Tail feathers of course should not be taken as the only pointer towards ageing in case they have been replaced, but the more birds we did, it became clear this can be very useful. The photos below are both from male Bramblings though the same features extend to females. An adult on the left and 1st winter on the right. TF1 , (the two central tail feathers) have black centres on the adult (left) and have quite rounded tips.  The first year bird on the right has very little black, especially towards the tips which are rather grey and sharply pointed. There is not a lot to separate tail feathers 2-6 on either bird, though the adult tail feathers are broader both birds have pointed tips, the adult to a lesser extent, but unless you are lucky enough to catch an adult and juvenile together for direct comparison, looking for pointed tips to TF2-6 is probably not too helpful.

In general the new Demongin guide has been very useful for several species,  we did not find the suggested pattern of the mantle feathers to be useful for ageing Bramblings as there is considerable variation.  Though the guide does say “use with caution”.

15th – West winds continued overnight and throughout the day. Another Hawfinch was seen in Barrackmasters Lane. Ringing at Mannez produced another 8 Bramblings and further singles were ringed at Barrackmasters lane and Essex farm. A big surprise was a Great Northern Diver flying SW overland along the south coast from Mannez lighthouse towards Longis bay.

16th – A new wave of migrants in overnight, still dominated by starlings, thrushes and finches but also Firecrests, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.  At Rose farm 4 new Firecrests took us over 400 of this species ringed since we began in April last year. It continues to be a good year for migrant Bullfinches with another first winter female ringed. We also ringed our first Moorhen this year. There was a late movement of Chiffchaffs that included 10 ringed at Rose farm and a small party of 5 Long tailed Tits headed down the Bonne Terre Valley. A  Coal Tit was seen in Barrackmasters Lane,

17th -NE overnight and once more a rush of Thrushes through. It’s frustrating to witness so many birds moving and have just 1 of our 4 main ringing sites manned but hopefully all that will change next year once we are officially open with our new observatory accommodation housing mad keen ringers ! A silver lining came by way of a call from a local resident that a Snow Bunting (photos below) had been seen in the small rough ground car park leading to Saye beach. I was delighted the bird was still present and a typically tame individual as is often the case with this species. Returning back to the Obs there was a Black Redstart on our north wall and from the ringing room I noticed the Water Pipit back on the longis car park jetty. Paul and Catherine Veron had 3 Woodlarks flying over the IMPOT fields.

 

18th – Another large thrush and finch movement. Redwings galore, flocks of Chaffinches and Starlings passing over Mannez reserve from first light until mid day. A Woodcock flushed from the pathway near to the Mannez hide. 122 birds were ringed at Mannez again mostly Redwings and Chaffinches but also singles of Firecrest, Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting.

 

_20171118_113344

Adult male Reed Bunting – Mannez quarry – photo – JH/ABO

 

19th – With NE winds and showers overnight it looked promising for another influx of migrants. We have got used to birds in their thousands this autumn but this morning was a comparatively quiet affair. Even so, 6 new Firecrests, a Brambling and a Tristi’s Chiffhchaff were amongst the birds ringed so hardly room for complaint. Late on 2 Sandwich Terns fishing in Longis Bay.

 

Tristis 19 Nov 17

Tristi’s Chiffchaff – Rose Farm – photo – JH/ABO

 

 

 

 

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6th – 12th Nov

6th – A crisp, fresh and windless morning saw flocks of Thrushes and Finches passing through and over Mannez quarry reserve. I flushed up 4 Woodcocks whilst opening the ringing nets just prior to first light. A female ring Ouzel showed well feeding amongst the Blackthorn with Redwings and Fieldfares. Finch flocks of up to 100 Chaffinches at a time passed over with Bramblings amongst them. Two separate flocks came into the quarry that were made up of Bramblings only (11 & 23 birds respectively). A male Reed Bunting flew over and shortly after we ringed a first year female. Amongst 88 birds ringed were large female Sparrowhawk, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 19 Redwings and 31 Chaffinches.  As a finches fan I have been thoroughly spoilt this autumn and was delighted to ring 13 Bramblings today. A further 5 Bramblings were ringed at Longis nature reserve and Paul Veron ringed a further Brambling in Barrackmasters Lane.

Brambling ad male nov 17

Brambling – Mannez -photo JH/ABO

Sparrowhawk 3 female Nov 17

1st winter female Sparrowhawk – Mannez – photo – JH/ABO

7th – Strong SW winds left us with only Mannez available to ring below its sheltering walls. 60 birds were ringed, mostly Thrushes; 43 Redwings, 5 Song Thrushes, 3 Blackbirds and 1 Ring Ouzel.

 

Ring Ouzel 3 male Nov 17

Ring Ouzel Mannez quarry – photo – JH/ABO

 

8th – SW winds turned to NW overnight, another blowy morning allowing just a couple of nets open. 39 Birds were subsequently ringed at Mannez quarry, again the vast majority thrushes, 31 Redwings and 1 Fieldfare. A couple more Woodcock in the quarry first thing. 2 Sandwich Terns in Longis Bay. Late afternoon a productive 2 hrs ringing using 2 nets at Essex farm 21 new birds included 3 Redwings, 1 Siskin, 1 Brambling, 3 Firecrests and 8 Long tailed Tits.

9th – Rain until around 9am but then a flurry of birds moving included 2 Yellow-browed Warblers ringed, one at Rose Farm, the other Barrckmasters Lane. A woodcock flushed up from the footpath to Mannez hide from which a single flock of 11 Siskins was observed. A male Bullfinch, Siskin and Brambling were seen at Rose farm where a trickle of late moving migrants were ringed including 3 more Firecrests, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. The Lesser black-backed Gull was back on Crabby beach.

 

Yellow-browed Rose farm Nov 17

Yellow-browed Warbler – Rose Farm – photo JH – ABO

10th – A blustery day of NW winds. We can always fall back on the nets at Essex farm in this wind direction and this afternoon 19 new birds were ringed that included 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Bullfinches and a Firecrest.

11th – An awful morning of 40mph NW winds turned into a bright breezy afternoon. There were 11 Turnstones and 4 Ringed Plovers beside the Razz causeway. 22 Mallards on Corbletts quarry. Renovations at the Nunnery are coming along, a new roof for one of the out buildings almost complete. A new roof for the main obs building to follow !

 

Nunnery build NOV

Nunnery renovations – photo – JH – ABO

 

12th – 30+ NW winds all day, a bit of everything in between, sunshine, rain and hail! There was a gathering of over 130 Herring Gulls in the fields behind Kiln Farm with 3 Lesser black backed Gulls amongst them. Still Chaffinches around with flocks of 30 at Kiln farm, 12 by the goats field and 20 at Rose Farm. By Razz causeway 15 Turnstones, 9 Ringed Plovers and a White Wagtail. 2 Sandwich Terns in Longis Bay and a further 3 in Braye bay. The bird feeding station was very busy (perhaps due to the colder weather) amongst the many Tits and finches a male Brambling. Justin and I did a late afternoon sea-watch for an hour from chateau Le Toq, there was a lot of movement with a fairly constant stream of auks (75) and Kittiwakes (35).  We checked Longis pond just before dark there were 2 Teal and 1 Little Grebe on the pond and a flock of 26 Fieldfares came in to roost.

 

 

 

 

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30th Oct-5th Nov

Another superb week as follows..

30/10 – At Mannez a Great white Egret, the Penduline Tit still in residence, also seen, 2 Ring Ouzels and 3 Hawfinches, 18 Skylarks and 500+ Fieldfare. At least 2 Water rails in the reed bed. 248 birds were ringed today including 48 Redwings at Mannez, a Ring Ouzel was ringed at Longis common where a Mistle Thrush passed overhead. At Essex farm our first ever ringed Common Redpoll. At Rose Farm ringing involved 118 new birds that included Linnet, Bullfinch, Brambling, Siskins, Fieldfare and Firecrests.

 

Linnet Nov 17

Linnet – Rose Farm – photo – JH- ABO

 

 

 

Fieldfare NOV 17

Fieldfare – Rose farm orchard – photo – JH – ABO

 

31st – A Short eared Owl hunted Mannez quarry at first light where a Ring Ouzel also later showed well. Visual migration at Mannez was dominated by finches, 300+ Chaffinches and 12 Bramblings passing overhead. 112 new birds were ringed at Mannez and these included a Reed Bunting, 2 Bramblings, 3 Firecrests,  4 Fieldfares, 26 Redwings, 1 Bullfinch and 45 Chaffinches. 18 Ringed Plovers and 1 Sanderling occupied the Razz causeway as it was revealed by the dropping tide. From the obs ringing room we observed a large Bull Grey seal that spent a good hour shadowing a lucky chap spear fishing in Longis bay.

1st Nov – Light SE winds overnight turned SW by first light. 2 woodcocks had settled in Mannez quarry and as the light came up once again we were treated to the steady flow of flocks of birds coming in off the sea past the light house, over and into the quarry nature reserve. Ringing at Mannez produced another 90 new birds including 42 Chaffinches, 2 Hawfinches, Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Bramblings, an extremely late moving Garden Warbler and a Chiffchaff carrying a Denmark ring ! Field observations during ringing were of a further 5 Bramblings, 20 Skylarks, 2 further Hawfinches and a Ring Ouzel. Some 500 Chaffinches came in off the sea along with regular flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares, over 1000+ of the former were recorded.

 

Hawfinches

Hawfinches ringed at Mannez Nature reserve – photo – Justin Hart.

 

2nd –  Singles of Ring Ouzel, Hawfinch and Fieldfare were ringed at Mannez by Paul and Catherine Veron.  A Grey wagtail over Rose farm and another over the obs. A Bullfinch and 4 Siskins were ringed at Rose farm where visible migration included 10 Skylarks and 5 Bramblings. In Braye bay the Mediterranean Gull roost was 9 birds accompanied by 2 Grey Plovers.

 

Ring Ouzel

Ring Ouzel – Mannez quarry – photo – Paul Veron

 

 

Siskin NOV 17

Siskin (male) Rose Farm – photo – JH – ABO

 

 

3rd – First thing 3 Grey Herons left a roost position at the north end Longis Pond, at the same time 16 Little Egrets left longis bay which hosted 16 Mallards. On Longis pond 2 female Teal. Ringing at Longis saw our first Woodcock of the year. In the afternoon an hours ringing at Rose farm orchard produced a Bullfinch and a Swallow passing over. A single Common Gull was amongst 19 Med Gulls on Braye beach. After a slower day for migration yesterday, there were more Thrushes moving this morning along with finches, warblers and crests returning 91 new birds ringed.

 

Bullfinch 3 male Nov 17

Bullfinch – Rose Farm – photo- JH-ABO

 

Woodcock Nov 17

Woodcock – Longis Common – photo – JH – ABO

 

 

 

4th –  30mph NW winds. An early look on the sea off Mannez lighthouse produced a few auks moving and our first Brent Goose of the winter. On Crabby beach a Lesser black backed Gull and 40 Black headed Gulls. Near the airport in the ploughed field opposite the goats were 60 Chaffinches and a fine male Brambling, 3 Stock doves and 26 Skylarks. David Child had a late Swallow over Longis bay.

5th –  Again 30mph NW winds during the morning. 65 Black headed Gulls on Crabby beach no sign of the Lesser black backed. Again a nice flock of Chaffinch in the field opposite the goats near to the airport, around 40 today but still a single Brambling in the flock, not yesterdays male, this one a female. During the afternoon a couple of hours ringing in the shelter of Essex hill. Just a handful of birds but a nice variety included Firecrest, 3 Redwings, Song Thrush, 4 Chaffinches and 2 Bramblings. A Water rail was present in the gulley behind the sewage works. Late afternoon 2 Sandwich Terns in Longis Bay and a Grey Seal in Braye Bay. A Marsh Harrier was seen over Barrackmasters Lane.

As we head towards 400 Redwings ringed this autumn opportunities have been available to photograph some identification features regards ageing. The two shots below are of particularly obvious individuals ( many are not as obvious as these!) but these are a good illustration of some of the differences to look for when ringing. The photo on the left a first winter bird showing predominantly unmoulted greater coverts with a pale spot on the corner. The photo on the right is an adult with all the greater coverts moulted and uniform without the pale edges. Whilst the unmoulted tertials on the juvenile bird have pale fringes extending up the shaft of the feather a little, and the adult tertials no pale edge at all, we have not found this to be the most reliable of ageing features as it is quite variable.

 

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23rd-29th Oct

A fantastically busy week of thousands of birds passing through, amazing birding and ringing experiences that only islands such as this can offer. Though the week began with storm force conditions we went on to benefit from the odd spell of North and North-east winds that brought us bird migration at its best. Over 5 straight days and despite limited resources, over 1000 birds were ringed. Towards the end of the week invasions of Redwings and Chaffinches brought with them Bramblings and Hawfinches along with some more unusual vagrants.

23rd – A House Martin in Longis Bay along with a handful of Swallows. June and Nigel Visard got into their van this morning and sheltering from the stormy conditions this wonderful Black Redstart that appeared to be happy to share the dry conditions.

 

Black Redstart 2

Black Redstart – Longis Bay – photo – Nigel Visard

 

24th,

Strong winds from the north-west during the morning hampered a late light passage of Swallows  involving around 50 birds through. Migrant passerines ringed at Essex farm in the afternoon included Blackcaps, Chiffhcaffs, Goldcrests and Firecrests, of the latter species we have now ringed over 200 ringed this autumn. On the Obs ramparts another Black Redstart.

25th – A Marsh Harrier over Rose Farm. The afternoon saw an dramatic invasion of Goldfinches with some 500 birds in the vicinity of barrackmasters lane. At lunch time there were around 50 Swallows and 2 House Martins on telegraph wires by the frying pan headland. Then followed an amazing 1pm-4pm ringing session using just 2 nets which saw 159 Goldfinches ringed ! A late roost of Swallows at Longis reserve involved at least 150 birds.

26th – Marsh Harrier over Barrackmasters Lane. Again a light but steady passage of Swallows all day. Just before dusk 2 Jack Snipe showed well right in front of Longis nature reserve hide, a Grey Wagatil was also present at the pond. Good numbers of migrants over Rose farm included 20 Skylarks, 40 Siskins and 1000+ Chaffinches. Ringing topped 200 birds again, the highlight a female Hawfinch at Rose farm. Ringing concluded with 17 Swallows at roost on longis reserve.

27th- The winds turned North east overnight  and we had a cracking days ringing returning 239 new ringed birds. Two surprises came in the shape of extremely late moving migrants, a Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. The latter pictured below is an extremely pale brown individual, we considered ssp minula but wing formulae measurements were inconclusive. I’ve certainly never seen one this pale and suspect it to be the eastern superspecies. Redwing (38) and Song Thrush (15)  were ringed between Rose Farm and Mannez Quarry.  At Mannez visible migration included included 3 Woodlarks, 40 Siskin, 1000+ Redwing & 15 Skylark.

 

Desert Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat – Essex Farm – photo – JH – ABO

 

28th, Hen Harrier in off the sea in Longis bay. An influx of Fieldfares, some 500 over the observatory between 7 & 9 am & at the same time 1 ringed at Longis nature reserve. A busy days ringing saw over 250 birds ringed including a first winter female Penduline Tit at Mannez quarry and a Yellow-browed Warbler ringed at Essex farm along with 4 Lesser Redpolls. Migration overhead also included 2 Bramblings over the Obs (2 were also ringed in Barrackmasters lane) . At Mannez visible migration involved 1000+ Redwings, an estimated 100 Siskins and 4 Hawfinches. A flock of 9 Stock Doves were on Longis common and 2 Sandwich Terns fished Longis bay. Bullfinches have been more frequent this autumn, this fine male pictured below ringed at Essex farm during the afternoon.

 

Bullfinch male

Male Bullfinch – Essex Farm – photo – JH – ABO

 

 

Penduline Tit 2

Penduline Tit – Mannez nature reserve – Photo – Paul Veron

 

 

Yellow-browed Warbler Essex

Yellow-browed Warbler – Essex Farm – photo – JH – ABO

 

 

Lesser Redpoll 4M

Male Lesser Redpoll – Essex Farm-  photo – JH – ABO

 

Above two photos of Lesser Redpoll illustrating one of the aging criteria for this species. The photo on the left (tail feathers narrower with more pointed tips) is a 2017 hatch bird, the one on the right, (broader tail with more rounded tips) is an adult.

29th A grey Plover in Braye Bay and a Redshank in Longis Bay. Late afternoon a Mistle Thrush (an unusual migrant here) was on top of the conifers outside the Obs. The Same 2 Sandwich Terns in Longis bay and a further 3 in Braye Bay. Just over 100 birds ringed today brought us to over 1000 in 5 days.

Many thanks to  Dr. Manuel Schweizer who reported a sighting  of one of our Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks, originally ringed on Burhou island 09/07/16,  seen in Switzerland 07/10/17 ! This bird was already interesting because it had been reported in Castellon, Spain 03/11/2016. A few of our Channel Islands born chicks appear to winter in eastern Spain. It is far more common that they are reported in West, South and Central Spain. For the bird to now be seen in Switzerland is unprecedented. Where this bird will go next?! (thanks to Paul Veron for a summery of this data/information)

Lastly, belated news just in of one of the Storm Petrels ringed in 2016 on Burhou Island being re-trapped on Skokholm Island Dyfed. We originally ringed the bird on 29th July 2016 and just 16 days later it was caught 306km away on Skokholm. We’ve had a few exchanges with Storm Petrels re-trapped along the French coast and a handful at the Lizard estuary Cornwall but this is our first to the welsh coast. It’s a real privilege to be at the cutting edge of enhancing the understanding of the movements of Alderneys Storm Petrel colony, amongst one or two other birds !!

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16th-22nd October

16th

As promised here are the results of Alderneys participation in the National Moth nights. Thanks to David Wedd our resident moth guru for providing us with this data.

NATIONAL MOTH NIGHTS

 

OCTOBER   13  +  14  + 15

28009   E sarcitella   White-shouldered House Moth     648                   +          +  2

45054   E monodactyla   Common Plume   1524                                1   +    1  +   2

49039   E postvittana   Light Brown Apple Moth   998                     21  +  24  +  20

49109   A hamana                                         937                                1   +    1  +

63031   U ferrugalis   Rusty-dot Pearl   1395                                    35   +  33  + 54

63052   N noctuella   Rush Veneer   1398                                           2   +   2   +   2

70017   I degeneraria   Portland Ribbon Wave   1714                             +        +  1

70270   E bistortata   Engrailed   1947                                                1    +        +  1

70049   X fluctuata   Garden Carpet   1728                                                +        +  1

70077   P firmata   Pine Carpet   1767                                                 2    +   5   +  1

70081   T obeliscata   Grey Pine Carpet   1768                                    1    +   5   +  1

70083   T cupressata   Cypress Carpet     1771a                                   1    +   2   +  2

70095   C siterata   Red-green Carpet    1760                                      1    +   1   +  1

70141   G rufifasciata   Double-striped Pug   1862                              1   +   1   +  2

70159    E phoeniceata   Cypress Pug   1855                                        1   +   3   +  3

70173    E centaureata   Lime-speck Pug   1825                                         +  1   +  1

70226   O luteolata    Brimstone    1906                                               1    +       +

70258   P rhomboidaria   Willow Beauty    1937                                 6    +   1   +  2

70284   H fasciaria   Barred Red   1962                                               4    +   5  +  14

70294   A ochrearia   Yellow Belle   1968                                                  +     +   1

72002   R sericealis    Straw Dot   2474                                                4    +  2  +  8

72003   H proboscidalis   Snout   2477                                                  6    +  4  +   4

72006   H obsitalis    Bloxworth Snout   2478                                       5 on ivy

72043   E depressa    Buff Footman   2049                                            3    +  13 + 7

72045   E lurideola   Common Footman   2050                                           +  4    + 1

72046   E complana   Scarce Footman   2047                                              +  3   +

72047   E caniola    Hoary Footman   2045                                                 +  1   +  1

72061   S costaestrigalis   Pinion-streaked Snout   2484                        1   + 9   +  6

73002   A triplasia   Dark Spectacle    2449                                                 +  1  +

73015   A gamma   Silver Y   2441                                                          7   +  4  +  5

73068   A oxyacanthae   Green-brindled Crescent   2245                           +   1  +

73093   C kadenii   Clancy’s Rustic   2387a                                           11  +  8   + 20

73113   P meticulosa   Angle Shades   2306                                            2  +  2   +  3

73123   H micacea   Rosy Rustic   2361                                                  2   +  2  +  2

73134   R lutosa   Large Wainscot   2375                                                2  +  9  +  12

73178   L oditis   Beautiful Gothic   2226                                              13  +  9  +  9

73186   A lychnidis   Beaded Chestnut   2267                                       15  + 18  + 15

73189   A lota    Red-line Quaker   2263                                                 4   +   3  +  1

73193   C lunosa   Lunar Underwing   2270                                         14  +  33  + 39

73206   L leautieri   Blair’s Shoulder-knot   2240                                      +   2   +

73229   T flammea   Flame Brocade   2251                                           41  +  76  + 78

73233   A nigra    Black Rustic   2232                                                   28  +  35  + 56

73235   P lichenea   Feathered Ranunculus   2255                                37  +  80  + 98

732  37   P flavicincta   Large Ranunculus   2252                                     4   +   4  + 11

73295   M vitellina   Delicate   2195                                                      15  +  24  + 27

73300   M l-album   L-album Wainscot   2202                                        7  +  13  + 12

73307   P saucia    Pearly Underwing   2119                                               +       +   1

73310   A segetum   Turnip Moth    2087                                                 5   +   5   +   3

73324   A trux   Crescent Dart   2090                                                      10  +  10  + 15

73325   A puta   Shuttle-shaped Dart  2092                                              7   +   6   + 12

73342   N pronuba   Large Yellow Underwing   2107                            33  +  37  + 25

73345   N comes   Lesser Yellow Underwing   2109                                     +        +   2

73352   X xanthographa   Square-spot Rustic   2134                                5   +   7   +  4

73359   X c-nigrum   Setaceous Hebrew Character   2126                             +        +  4

73365   E glareosa   Autumnal Rustic   2117                                             5  +  26  + 38

 

59003   Pararge aegeria   Speckled Wood   1614                                     1   +       +  1

59023   Vanessa atalanta   Red Admiral   1590                                         1   +   1  +  2

 

3 nights using 5 traps; 1550 moths in all, of 57 species.

A week of mixed weather but predominently blustery conditions. Towards the end of the week stormy conditions and we began to signs of large numbers of Starlings, finches and Thrushes arriving at and passing over the island. Several species of birds were ringed that don’t come around too often and we recorded one very surprising visitor !

17th – Sandy Robertson had a juvenile Wheatear on the german anti tank wall Longis bay. Surprise of the day and indeed the year thus far was a sighting of the pelican pictured below. A video was taken of the bird in Longis bay by local resident Samantha Jenkins who then transmitted the video to the ABO facebook page. On receipt of the video I had to watch it twice (seated the second time) during which I focused on the background verifying the location. Enhanced photos lead us to believe this is a Dalmation Pelican. It turns out that a Dalmation Pelican (highly likely the same bird, they don’t grow on trees in this part of the world) was sighted on the 4th of October in Normandy France.

 

Dalmation Pelican

Dalmation Pelican – Longis Bay Photo – Samantha Jenkins

 

A rare breeding resident for us is the Long tailed Tit pictured below. Just 3 sightings of this species here this year, just one of these wonderful birds was ringed at Rose Farm.

 

DSC_0436.jpg

Long Tailed Tit – Rose Farm – Photo – JH – ABO 

 

18th – A very late migrating Willow Warbler was ringed by Paul & Catherine Veron in thier garden. Another rare bird locally (Bullfinch pictured below) was ringed at Mannez quarry. A single Lapwing was seen flying in off the sea over the lighthouse. A vocal Brambling was also observed from the reserve hide.

 

Bulfinch 2

Adult female Bullfinch – Mannez quarry – photo – JH – ABO

 

19th – Both Black Redstart and a late Common Redstart were ringed at Mannez Quarry. An invasion of finches, mainly Chaffinches and Goldfinches along with Song Thrushes  and Blackbirds in high numbers included this Brambling ringed at Rose Farm. 3 further Bramblings were seen flying over along with around 35 Siskins. The Verons enjoyed a female Hawfinch in thier garden !

 

Brambling 2

Brambling – Rose Farm – Photo – JH – ABO

 

21st

A day of 40-50mph winds. John Wier, Justin and I planted a variety of fruit trees, shrubs and hedges on our Essex farm ringing site owned by Bruno Kay-Mouat. Huge thanks to Nigel Clarke of  ‘Allergy Friendly Plants’ Guernsey, for lending his expertise and for donating all these plants to the ABO. Also thanks also to Bruno Kay-Moet for continuing to support the ABO by working with us to enhance parts of his land for the benefit of attracting and supporting our birds. In a couple of years we should begin to see the benefits of this planting as it begins to supply food and shelter for thousands of migrant and resident birds. 4 House Martins were in a windy Longis Bay.

 

Breakwater storm

Gigantic waves crash against the Alderney Breakwater  – photo – JH – ABO

 

22nd – Another day of strong winds from the south and South West. A drive around the island confirmed that conditions were at best challenging. There were 2 Mediterranean Gulls on Crabby Beach, a sub adult Common Gull on Platte Saline beach, 65 Herring Gulls sheltering on Tourgis Hill and a 300 strong flock of Starlings in the vicinity of the airfield. Justin recorded 2 House Martins over Essex Farm and got stuck into entering ringing data and spent several happy hours writing the ‘Terms and Conditions for the bookings page on the forthcoming new ABO  website.

 

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8th-14th Oct

We are now taking bookings for 2018 !

The renovations at the Nunnery (home of the bird observatory) are going well and we expect to be completed in advance of our opening date of 1st April 2018.

Prices below are per room per night SELF CATERING.

Please see the below:

Twin Rooms:

There are 3 Twin rooms available to book at the Nunnery: Swallows/Oystercatchers & Petrels.

ABO Members:

Twin Room  – £40
Twin Room Single Occupancy –  £30

Non ABO Members:
Twin Rooms (2 single beds) Oystercatchers & Petrels  – £50
Twin Room Single Occupancy –  £40

We also have one Group room/ Gannets

4 single beds.

ABO Members:
Group Room  – £60 (based on 4 sharing)

Non ABO Members:
Group Room  – £80

For reservations & enquiries contact John & Cathy on

email: abowarden@alderneywildlife.org

Telephone: 01481 824134

Mobile: 07815 549191

The very low water levels on Longis Pond are unlikely to attract many waterbirds until water levels pick up, but our first Teal of the autumn (a female) was spotted on the 11th and was still present at the end of this reporting week.  West and south-west winds have continued to dominated and rare birds have been thin on the ground. Despite this four species were ringed this week that were new for the ABO and two of these were species never ringed in Alderney before. Our resident Stonechats have been joined by migrant birds and appear to be on every corner ! Swallow roosts continued at Longis pond with 100-300 most evenings this week dropping to 20 on the 14th. Blackbird and Song Thrush numbers increased as the week went on. Water Rails are becoming fairly easy to see in front of Longis hide. The Great Spotted Woodpecker at Rose farm was present until at least the 9th. We also took part in National moth week.

 

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Male Firecrest – Rose Farm –  Photo ABO – JH

 

8th – A Hen Harrier was seen in Barrackmasters Lane and a Marsh Harrier over Rose Farm. A Lesser Redpoll was ringed at Rose Farm, we have only had one record of Redpoll since we launched in March  2016 and this bird (pictured below) was the 2nd. Historically this is only the 2nd ringing record for the island, the only existing record from 1957 ! A single Wheatear was present at the Giffoine. A Yellow-browed Warbler was ringed at Mannez Quarry. A Merlin took a Swallow from the gathering pre-roost flock over Longis pond, it was then hotly persued by a Sparrowhawk.

 

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll – Rose Farm – photo – JH -ABO

 

 

9th – 210 birds ringed included a Yellow-browed Warbler at Rose farm. The photo below is of a hybrid bird we had that is a Greenfinch x Goldfinch. Last spring we had a Greenfinch x Siskin, both birds were unringed. My feeling is that these are genuine wild hybrids rather than crossbred birds escaped from captivity. Over 50 Meadow Pipits were seen over Barrackmasters Lane fields. A short eared Owl was over the Mannez Garene at dusk.

 

 

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Greenfinch x Goldfinch – Rose Farm – Photo – JH – ABO

 

10th –  A good influx of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes also brought our first Redwings (5 at Rose Farm.  A Female Marsh Harrier over the airport and a Merlin whizzed over the obs at last knockings. A good count of 22 Mediterranean Gulls were present at the Braye Bay on the high tide roost and an unringed Yellow browed Warbler was seen in Barrackmasters Lane.

11th – Strong overnight SW winds continued throughout the day, the only thing that came with them was rain. The less days like this the better… at least Longis pond may have filled a little !

12th, A good ringing session at Rose Farm included another 6 Firecrests, and 114 Swallows were ringed at Longis pond along with the ABO’s first White Wagtail, a first year male bird pictured below. A late Reed Warbler was seen at Longis Pond.

 

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White Wagtail – Longis pond – photo – JH – ABO

 

 

 

13th – Whilst ringing at Essex farm with John Haddaway I took a call from Nigel who runs Braye Hire Cars. Nigel explained that a bird of prey had flown into his garage and he had rescued it, put it in a box and would like to bring it down to us to make sure it was ok, which of course I agreed to.  Now fully expecting this ‘bird of prey’ to be a Sparrowhawk and of course hoping the bird was uninjured I met Nigel and June who handed over their card board box along with a small bird that the bird of prey had apparently been carrying, a deceased Rock Pipit. Through the join in the top of the box I took a peak at our guest, A Merlin !! I had a good look over this wonderful little power house of a bird that was very lively and a far as I could see was undamaged and in fine condition. A first year female, her size and weight were at the very top end of the statistics for this species. On release she flew of strongly, a fine sight, the first ringing for Alderney, one of two or three Merlins hunting across the island this week. A Grey Wagtail was seen over Barrackmasters Lane by Paul and Catherine Veron who also watched a late Spotted Flycatcher consuming a Red Admiral. The latter had quite an influx today with several hundred across the island.

 

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Merlin (1st year female) ringed at Essex Farm – photo – John Haddaway

The day ended at 8pm where with the fine and hardworking ladies from Alderney Animal Welfare Society.  A Barn Owl had been brought into the centre by Mark Atkinson that morning. The Owl, a male, had a large tick on its right eye that was obscuring the birds vision considerably and no doubt affecting its hunting ability. The parasite was removed and the owl having eaten food provided at the centre, perked up considerably during the day. The bird was ringed and was alert and majestic on its release. We were treated to the silent magical moments of a Barn Owl in flight away and into the darkness.

14th – Ahead of a short burst of a few precious hours of easterly winds I had a Great White Egret flew in off the sea at 6pm into Longis bay, the bird circled over Longis then settled just beyond the causeway at the north end of Longis bay where Paul and Catherine Veron relocated it, obtaining brief views before it disappeared in descending fog. Ringing at Longis nature reserve turned up a Belgium ringed Blackcap, a Reed Bunting (not common here) showed well near to the reserve hide. Water Rail was seen at Rose Farm.

The full list of moths from our 3 nights will be published here on the blog once available. We recorded over 50 species, not too bad at all for mid October.

 

Flame Brocade

Flame Brocade – ABO moth trap – photo – JH – ABO

 

The two photos below are of the same species ‘Barred Red’. The Red one on the right the form found in the UK, the green one on the left the continental colour variation. Photos JH.

 

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1st -7th Oct

A blustery week of mostly unhelpful Westerly winds included a touch of north here and there bringing us falls of migrant birds.  Marsh Harrier was recorded daily 1st-7th  (2 on the 2nd). An increase in both Sparrowhawks and Kestrels has been evident. The former regularly observed chasing down Swallows during the last throws of each day. The autumn movement of Firecrests continued to be impressive with almost 40 ringed this week, observed movements of ‘Crests’ have generally seen Firecrest outnumbering Goldcrest. Over 500 Swallows were also ringed with roosting birds preferring Longis pond or Mannez quarry for a sheltered night amongst the reeds. Water Rails have been very vocal at both Longis and Mannez, at least 6 birds present on Longis pond are fairly easy to view from the Naturetrek hide towards dusk. Mediterranean Gulls have been present at the north end of Braye bay daily, peaking at 14 on the 2nd,  a single Sandwich Tern with the Med Gull flock was present until the 5th. The Great Spotted Woodpecker remains present at Rose Farm. Both Linnet and Goldfinch numbers increased steadily, about 100 Linnets around the Giffoine and 35 on Tourgis Hill. Goldfinches have been spotted in flocks across the island the largest numbers being around 60 birds around rose farm. Meadow Pipits have also been moving through with around 200 in the vicinity of the airfield on the 6th. Overall a slower month than hoped for but considering that each days’ wind direction including the word ‘west’ perhaps not such a bad week for sightings. From the 6th Oct last year we had just over 3 weeks consecutive easterly winds, we would settle for just one day at the moment !

1st – A very windy start to the month allowing limited ringing in Mannez first thing and then a short PM session in Essex Farm as the wind turned NW. A single Firecrest the highlight of 17 migrants processed. Justin and I made best use of the poor conditions by giving the Obs ringing room a major over-hall in preparation for next years official opening.

2nd – Very strong westerly gales overnight brought us the last gasps of the recent US hurricane. Birding conditions were hard going with the few passerines present keeping to sheltering in the undergrowth. In Braye bay a single Sandwich Tern kept the company of 14 Mediterranean Gulls. An inquisitive Grey seal was spotted in Braye harbour by Catherine Hanlon. There was an increase in Blackbirds across the island and a half a dozen Wheaters shared the NE coastline and Longis Common. In Longis bay 1 Dunlin, 9 Ringed Plover, 32 Curlews, 5 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron.  In Barrackmasters Lane a Spotted Flycatcher, Grey Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail. Despite the conditions and wind direction a light but steady flow of Swallows and to a lesser extent House Martins

3rd -A late in the season Female Redstart at Mannez, Yellow-browed Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher at Essex Farm. Over 140 birds were ringed including 6 Firecrests.

4th – Over 100 birds were ringed, Firecrest into double figures, Blackcap and Chiffchaff making up the bulk of the numbers. A single Skylark was seen over Longis common.

5th  – 30mph West winds and showers overnight and well into the day. A short sea-watch from Paul and Catherine Veron produced a Sooty Shearwater who also had a Hen Harrier in Barrackmasters Lane. A Kingfisher was spotted flying across Crabby quarry and a Spotted Flycatcher in Mannez Quarry.

6th – An influx of Snipe involved 9 over Longis bay and 2 seen over Rose Farm where there were also around 20 House Martins, 25 Song Thrushes and 20 Siskins over.  Thrush movement was evident on the Western side of the island with both Blackbirds and Song Thrushes in excess of 100 birds in the bonne terre valley. Visiting ringer/birder Colin McShane spotted our first Fieldfare of the autumn in the Vaux du Sau valley where he estimated a fall of around 50 Chiffchaffs. Colin also had a Dartford Warbler towards fort Tourgis and another behind the airport. A Water Pipit presented itself on the bare ground right in front of the hide on Longis pond as we awaited the evening Swallow roost.

7th, 6 Siskin over Barrackmasters Lane, a major increase in Starling numbers with around 300 roosting at Kiln Farm.

 

Mannez Lighthouse

Mannez Lighthouse overlooking Mannez Quarry Nature Reserve – photo – Stevie Phe

 

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SEPTEMBER

We are now revamped upgraded improved polished and back in the room !

Sorry for the delay in bringing you the weekly blog, information of note has been placed on our ABO facebook site but I shall now provide a September round-up. Thanks to Becky Sumpster of ‘Design Somerset’ for providing her professional services for FREE enabling our new website to be able to facilitate amongst other things our soon to go live new on-line accommodation booking system.

September has been as exciting as it has been hectic. We were delighted this period included two Naturetrek tour groups that combined brought us 30 extra pairs of wildlife hungry eyes over 13 days. The 2016 ABO annual bird report was finalised and went out to all ABO members, and the renovations of the observatory accommodation are well underway and gathering pace. Paul & Catherine Veron flew the ABO flag at the Inter-island environmental conference in Sark. And in no particular order, Great Skua, Red-Breasted Flycatcher, Sooty Shearwater, Wryneck, Alpine Swift and Yellow-browed Warbler were all added to our island annual bird species total.

The month began with a Bullfinch in Mannez quarry. The very good passage of Honey Buzzards continued until mid month with another 12 individuals seen in total. A single Black Kite was also seen over the Bonne Terre valley and on the 10th a Hen Harrier. Guernsey returned some impressive sea watch figures throughout the month and it was frustrating at times that a combination of commitments and limited man power left us with nobody to check our sea passage. However, Justin managed a good session on the 15th returning 8 Great Skuas and a Sooty Shearwater. Many thousands of Swallows passed through the island. On the 16th we estimated over 1000 and another strong passage on the 19th looked to be double that during the day, with in excess of 500 birds roosting on Longis common including good numbers of both House and Sand Martins. On the 23rd we were again recording well into the hundreds of Swallows but numbers peaked on the 26th with an estimated 10,000 Swallows through, 1500 House Martins and 200 Sand Martins. Watching this spectacle from Arch Bay as birds flooded in off the sea over and around us was a wonderful sight. Throughout the month during the predominant westerly winds, good flocks of swallows and martins could be observed feeding in the shelter of Essex hill ( inc 300 House Martins on 24th). The first Naturetrek group enjoyed a cracking fall of phylloscs and sylvias that included a posing Wryneck along the fort clonque pathway on the 17th. Tourists on board Alderney tours minibus were not quite so taken with another Wryneck perched on a bush at the bottom of the fort Fort Albert track on the 21st. Wader passage has been slim with just a single Grey Plover on the 3rd, 2 sightings of Common Sandpiper and 5 Whimbrels between the 12th and 15th. Just one Snipe on Longis reserve on the 16th and a Jack Snipe 27th. A very excited Naturetrek group enjoyed superb views of an Alpine Swift over lunch at The Old Barn at the foot of Essex Hill. This bird was first seen some 3hrs earlier by Justin Hart over Longis common and I must admit I did not expect the bird would be seen again. On the 20th a male Dartford Warbler showed well behind Essex Castle and a female was seen briefly at the same location on the 27th.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker (on average 0-3 a year here) was found  by Mark Atkinson on the 20th, the Naturetrek group saw presumably the same bird on the 25th and it was further reported at Rose farm on the 27th and 30th. Water Rail numbers have risen with a high count of 6 on Longis pond on the 27th towards dusk and at least 3 at Mannez quarry. On the 26th Justin and I observed a flock of 58 Lesser black backed Gulls migrating south over Longis common, the majority of the birds were in their first year. 16 Common Redstarts were ringed this month and a single Black Redstart was seen at Mannez lighthouse on the 21st. Over 20 Spotted Flycatchers were recorded and a dozen Pied. A Red breasted Flycatcher showed briefly but well from Mannez hide on 24th. Sporadic influxes of Meadow Pipits, Starlings, Goldfinches and Linnets increased towards month end. On 29th a Yellow-browed Warbler was ringed at Mannez Quarry. A Hawfinch was seen in Barrackmasters lane reported by visiting Guernsey birder Jamie Hooper on the 30th.

A fairly good month of bird ringing returned just over 1500 new birds. Productive Swallow roosts contributed over 500 of this total along with over 40 Firecrests. Chiffchaffs began to out number Willow Warblers from around the 10th though we were still catching the latter at the month end. Also good numbers of Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warblers were also ringed.

Also, a new species of moth for Alderney and indeed the Channel Isles was recorded this week. A black banded -Polymixis xanthomista, well done David Wedd !

Thanks for bearing with us, the normal weekly blog service is now resumed !

Above: Renovations at the Nunnery, home of Alderney Bird Observatory.

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Pied Flycatcher (first yr male) ringed at Mannex Quarry – Photo Brian Nobbs

Small Copper

Small Copper Butterfly – Mannez nature reserve – photo JH – ABO

 

 

 

 

 

 

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28th August – 3rd Sept

This week conditions allowed ringing most days and we returned around 500 new birds. A good week for Grasshoppers Warblers, Redstarts and Garden Warblers and an increase in Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs on Saturday. We have no similar records for last year but all week we have seen good numbers of Sandwich Terns off our various beaches. The highest numbers recorded at Houme Herbe and roosting at high tide at the north end of Longis Bay where counts reached 35. Impressive numbers of Peacock and still plenty of Holly Blue butterflies this week were added to by several reports of Painted Lady on Saturday.

28th – Red throated Diver was seen from the wildlife bunker by visiting birder/ringer Keiron Palmer. Paul and Catherine Veron had a Hawfinch fly over Barrackmasters Lane. A juvenile Water Rail showed briefly from Longis hide about 8pm. Earlier in the day Justin had a flock of 9 Redshank flying west over Longis common and a Tree Pipit was heard at the same location. 2 Pied Flycatcher were ringed at Longis pond. A Redstart and 3 Whinchats were seen at the Giffoine and 2 further Whinchats at Tourgis.

29th, 100 Swallows at Whitegates, a further 50 at the football pitch. A Grasshopper Warbler and 2 Redstarts ringed at Longis reserve. A spotted Flycatcher reported from the airport. Sandy Robertson had around 20 Linnets and a Yellow Wagtail around the Impot fields.

30th –  North winds around 20mph and rain dominated the day. An hours ringing between showers at Essex farm in the shelter of Essex Hill produced a nice run on Blue Tits. We have already ringed more Blue Tits this year than in the whole of last year ! Great Tit has done very well this year as was the case last year, but we are delighted to see a marked increase in young Blue Tits this summer. This is of course only our 2nd summer of monitoring breeding passerines so we are can’t say yet if this is a particularly good year for Blue Tits or if last year was the opposite. Continued research by the ABO will offer us a much clearer picture of this species status here, along with many other species on our island. Spotted Flycatcher again reported from the airport.

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Blue Tit – Essex Farm – Photo- JCH

31st

Spotted Flycatcher seen at Rose Farm and 2 at Essex Farm. A good influx of Wheatear with 6 a Bibettes head, 6 along the Fort Razz courzeway, 7 at fort Albert and 12 at the airport. A Firecrest was ringed at Essex Farm and on Longis nature reserve evening Swallow roost ringing included 21 Sand Martins, 1 Green Sandpiper came in to roost at dusk. A flock of 16 Ringed Plovers were in Longis Bay. 5 Arctic and 1 Great Skua were seen off Mannez lighthouse along with 26 Sandwich Terns and 33 Comic Terns. 8 Yellow Wagtails at Barrackmasters Lane.

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Peacock Butterfly – Rose Farm – Photo – JHC

1st Sept – A Honey Buzzard over Corbletts quarry. 4 Stock Doves over st Annes and 2 over Essex hill. A Redstart and a Bullfinch in Mannez quarry.

2nd – Honey Buzzard over the Observatory 11am and then another over Essex Hill that was hurried along by a pair of local Common Buzzards. A reliable report has been received of 11 (eleven) Honey Buzzards in off the sea at Platte saline during the morning , these included groups of 3 and 5 birds. Also 3 Snipe on Longis pond and 16 Mallard in Longis Bay. 6 Med Gulls were seen off Mannez lighthouse.

Ringing topped 100 new birds, Willow Warbler still dominating numbers but an increase in Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps was evident. 2 Grasshopper Warblers ringed at Rose Farm was the highlight. A very vocal Firecrest was also seen at Rose Farm.

3rd – Heavy rain and winds reaching 40mph throughout the day. This didn’t stop a little birding from the car around the island. At the airport 3 Yellow Wagtails and 6 Wheatears. At crabby beach using a spotting scope,  colour ring numbers were recorded from 10 Lesser black backed Gulls, 1 Herring, 1 Great black backed and 2 Blacked headed Gulls. In Longis bay there were 4 Med Gulls, 11 Sandwich Terns, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plovers, 11 Turnstones, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Curlews & 50+ Oystercatchers.

Thanks to French bird ringer Michelle Leveque-Shaw who has completed her 2nd visit staying at the Obs this week, adding experience and enormous enthusiasm to our team.

Lastly a cracking shot of a Yellow Wagtail taken near Kiln Farm this week by Sandy Robertson.

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Yellow Wagatil – Kiln Farm – Photo – Sandy Robertson.

 

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21st-27th August

The ABO 2016 Annual Report has gone out to ABO members in ‘online’ format today !

This week we got back into the ringing saddle and aided by good conditions ringed around 500 new birds this week. The totals largely dominated by Willow Warblers, but towards the end of the week numbers of this species dropped off and we began to see our first signs of movements of Whitethroats, Robins, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Nightingale was our most notable bird but a good supporting cast included several Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers and Garden Warblers. Also a couple of each of Whinchat, Grasshopper Warbler, Firecrest and Pied Flycatcher. This week last year we were at the bird fair in the UK (missing migration here) so it was good to cover this period for the first time. Lots of other migrants have been passing through reported by islanders and visiting birders/naturalists.

21st – An early and short ringing session at Mannez ( pre other commitments )  20+ birds processed predominantly Willow Warblers and Whitethroats. A Spotted Flycatcher showed well but avoided the nets ! Since late summer I have been guiding/driving history and wildlife tours around the island most afternoons and this has of course got me around the island birding as I go ! Today superb views of a Cuckoo at the Giffione were enjoyed by those on the tour. At Crabby beach late on there were 14 White Wagtails. Photos below of the tails of two Whitethroats; adult (left) and first year (right) ringed at Mannez. The adult tail freshly mounted altogether broader and darker with a more conspicuous white tip to the 5th tail feather, along with a cleaner and more extensive white part on the 6th tail feather.

 

22nd – With the winds for us turning South-east overnight after a long period of Westerleys it looked good for a mornings ringing. Mannez quarry offers birds good shelter in these winds so this was our best option against our other sites. A good session followed with 124 new birds ringed. We also saw 2 Pied Flycatchers, a further Redstart and had a Whimbrel over. At Whitegates there were 6 Wheatears. A spotted Flycaycher was seen a longis pond and during my scheduled island tour we saw a female Marsh Harrier over Mannez lighthouse and a Pied Flycatcher at Essex Farm. A further Spotted Flycatcher was photographed at Valongis by Lois LeLaucher and a Greenshank was seen at Platte Saline beach by Sally-Townsend Smith.

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Adult male Redstart (freshly moulted) – Mannez  – photo – Justin Hart.

Ringing at Essex produced Pied Flycatcher, Grasshopper Warbler and a UK control Blackcap.

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Grasshopper Warbler – Essex Farm- photo – Sharon Ngo.

24th, – Peregrine over the harbour and a Hobby seen over Barrackmasters Lane. Black Redstart at Cambridge battery and 2 Wheatears at the Giffione. 3 Sandwich Terns off Platte saline beach and a Cuckoo in off the sea at Braye. 2 Common Sandpipers at the north end of Longis Bay. The highlights of ringing at Longis were 5 Stonechats, 1 Whinchat, 1 Redstart and a Grasshopper Warbler. Early evening there were 2 Pied Flycatchers and a Sparrowhawk at Essex Farm. 1 Wheatear at Whitegates.

25th, Ringing Mannez produced 45 new birds again mostly Willow Warblers, a Redstart and 2 Spotted Flycatchers. A Pied Flycatcher showed well near to the hide and a flock of around 20 House Martin spent an hour or so around mannez lighthouse. 5 Swifts over Barrackmasters Lane (and 3 on 26th). The Obs moth trap was busy, some of its contents featured below.

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Red Underwing – Obs moth trap – photo – JCH

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Peach Blossom Moth – Obs moth trap – photo JCH.

26th A Pied Flycatcher was seen at Mannez quarry. 2 Grey Herons at Platte Saline. Evening ringing at Longis produced a good catch of Swallows and 3 Sand Martins. Amongst the Swallows our first ‘Control’ of this species, a UK ringed first year bird. An unusually high count for us of 33 Sandwich Terns was recorded at high tide at Houme Herbe.

27th – A female Marsh Harrier was hunting Mannez quarry at first light. 2 Snipe on Longis pond. We also had our first good influx of Swallows with around 100 around the Mannez area and 50 on power lines by the football pitch. Ringing at Mannez produced our first Firecrests of the Autumn along with Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and a fine Nightingale. 10 Common Dolphin were seen 2 miles SW of Clonque Bay and a Tree Pipit was heard passing over Longis common

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1st yr male Firecrest – Mannez – photo – JCH


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1st yr Nightingale – Mannez – photo – JCH

Finally on the 27th some photos sent in by Sandy Roberston of a bird of prey he photographed as it passed over the bird observatory earlier in the day. A great shot of a Honey Buzzard.

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Hony Buzzard -Over the bird observatory Longis bay – photo – Sandy Robertson.

 

Lastly a big thanks to those donating ringing equipment to the observatory via our advert on the BTO website. So far we have received books, nets and rulers for which we are extremely grateful. We have had a couple more verbal offers of equipment so hopefully more to come. We will hold off listing those who have made donations until the the end of the autumn. Thanks again.

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