24th-30th July

Shearwaters were passing the island this week, a couple of mornings equipped with NW winds also brought increased numbers of Kittiwakes and Mediterranean Gulls. Little Egret numbers are slowly rising with a peak count of 6 in Longis Bay. Whimbrels and Common Sandpipers also reported on several days from various locations. Returning migrants picked up towards the end of the week with 91 birds ringed at Mannez quarry over 3 hours between weather fronts. Passage House Martin numbers increased towards the end of the week. Surprise of the week; the returning Royal Tern that has been in the vicinity of the Channel Islands and french coast for several months now. Sadly further gale force winds and rain prevented our 2nd Petrel ringing expedition to Burhou Island from going ahead, but we managed to ring a few from the Alderney coast. These posed us some interesting questions concerning the moult strategy adopted by this species here. Gatekeeper butterfly numbers have been phenomenal, and outside of the areas where the plant is removed, it was clear this species enjoys Ragwort. (Oxford Ragwort was also seen) Several sightings of Clouded Yellow this week.

24th, One Grey seal in Longis bay. The return of the Royal Tern to our shores was a little unexpected, the bird is now in primary moult (see photo) and was associating with a group of ‘larger’ Gulls on Longis beach late afternoon where there was also 2 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plovers, 5 Dunlin and a Redshank.  A Wheatear and a Snipe were seen on Longis common. At least 5 Jersey Tiger moths reported from various locations. 3 Balearic Shearwaters were seen off Chateau le toq

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Royal Tern – Longis Bay – photo – JH ABO

25th, During the morning a juvenile Hen Harrier (possibly the same bird seen on the 22nd) and a Honey Buzzard were both seen over Rose Farm. The harrier over the Barley fields and the Buzzard initially low over the valley before gaining great height before heading with some purpose NW ! A handful of Willow Warblers were ringed at Rose Farm and Longis Nature reserve. Green Sandpiper was spotted on Longis pond first thing and it was still present early evening. Black-headed Gulls had increased to 50 in Braye Bay.

26th – Petrel ringing on Alderney Island (not the smaller off islands) has been historically sporadically successful and could provide some very useful data. We tried a quiet and sheltered spot along the NE coast which produced 7 birds over about 2hrs.

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Comparing a freshly moulted (above) and unmoulted (below) Storm Petrel wings.

26th – The Royal Tern was back in Longis Bay resting on rocks beside the Fort Razz causeway at 1330hrs. 11 Turnstone and 2 Sanderling were on the rocks beside fort Razz. We had 3 Jersey Tiger moths in the Obs garden this morning including this one (below) in the overnight moth trap.  A sea-watch off chatteau le toq produced 8 Manx Shearwater, 22 Balearic Shearwaters, 14 Mediterranean Gulls and 8 Kittiwakes.

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Jersey Tiger moth – ABO Moth Trap – Photo – JH ABO

27th – Visiting ringer/birder Jenny Wallace saw a juvenile Water Rail at Longis pond. A Green Sandpiper was seen at the same location. 4 Common Sandpipers were reported from the coastline at Mannez lighthouse. 1 Sandwich Tern and 16 Mediterranean Gulls in Braye Bay, and 6 more Med in Crabby Bay along with a Yellow Legged Gull.

28th – 9 Ringed Plovers, 2 Sanderlings and 2 Turnstones at Platte Saline beach. 2 Dunlin  on Longis beach towards high tide late afternoon. 4 Swifts and 6 Sand Martins in Mannez Quarry. A busy ringing session produced 91 birds using just 3 nets. Migrant Sedge and Willow Warblers (neither breed here) now coming through along with Whitethroats and Blackcaps the more common species recorded.

30th – 1 Dunlin Corblets bay.

Finally, great news that the mystery wader found on Longis pond 26th April has been after some considerable deliberation verified to be a Marsh Sandpiper. This record is not only another first record for Alderney (our 4th new species for the island this year) but it is also the first record for the Channel Islands.

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Marsh Sandpiper – Longis Pond – photo – Paul James

 

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