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.


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.


Red Underwing – Obs moth trap – photo – JCH


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


1st yr male Firecrest – Mannez – photo – JCH


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.