The last week of 2018 ended with a new species for our observatory (Richards Pipit) and the first week of the new year added another ! Conditions have mild and until he 7th fairly low winds allowing for us to get this years ringing underway.

2 Little Grebes remain on Longis pond and we have a further bird on the waterworks quarry. On the 5th the highlight of the week, a Red-necked Grebe, the first one recorded by the ABO I picked it up on the sea just west of Fort Razz whilst scanning Longis Bay between ringing rounds, this appears to be just the 9th Record for Alderney. A male Shelduck was briefly on Crabby beach on the 1st, he tried to join a group of Herring Gulls and was quickly seen off. There were 2 female Teal on Longis pond on the 1st and 1 at Mannez reserve on the 4th. A total of 102 Mallards were recorded across the island on the 7th (62 Kiln farm pond). Water Rails have been located at more than 10 different sites and Justin ringed 1 at Longis pond on the 5th. The mild weather is likely contributing to low numbers of Snipe and just a single record of Woodcock (at Essex farm on the 5th). There were 3 Mediterranean Gulls at the north end of Longis Bay at high tide on the 4th and a single Lesser black backed Gull on Crabby beach on the 6th. 4 Razorbills on the sea just off Mannez lighthouse on the 6th. A Grey Wagtail shared the slurry pit at Kiln farm with a fine male Pied Wagatil on the 1st and some 11 Stonechats were recorded during the ABO daily census of the 4th. There have been a handful of Redwings around, 3 were ringed at Mannez on the 3rd. Cetti’s Warbler has been spotted at Longis pond on the 1st and at Mannez quarry on the 4th. A pair of Dartford Warblers showed well on the south cliffs gorse slopes on the 1st and at least 3 Chiffchaffs have taken up ownership of the Essex sewage pans where 3 were ringed on the 4th. A wintering Firecrest was caught at Mannez on the 3rd and 3 Long tailed Tits ringed at Essex farm on the 5th. There were 71 Crows and 11 Jackdaws on the inpot fields on the 7th and 4 vocal Ravens over Platte saline on the 6th. The late autumn 2018′ flock of Greenfinches has dropped in numbers but still 63 were recorded on Longis common on the 4th.

Firecrest – Mannez quarry – photo John Horton