I was determined to get out and do the Big butterfly count this year and did so with great success on the 24th July. Though I missed a few species like Holly Blue and Wall Brown that have been very common this year, during the suggested 15mins recording period I totted up 12 butterfly species around Mannez Quarry submitting a total of over 300 individual butterflies from the small survey area. The outing became a ‘win win’ when I came across 2 very recently fledged Black Redstarts feeding on the cliff face under the odeon. We have long suspected this species is breeding on Alderney and this is as close to conformation as we are likely to obtain without actually finding the nest. Since the last blog migrants heading south in numbers and variety have been on the increase, and we added another species to the Alderney ringing list.

Better late than never ! Our Little Grebe male was finally joined by a female 28th July, surely too late now to breed, lets see.. Little Egrets are now regularly around the bays at the NE end of the island with 4 on 2nd August.  Moorhens have successfully bred on Longis and Mannez reserves. There were 14 Sanderlings on Platte saline on the 4th August and on the same day a Curlew sandpiper was found by Paul Veron in Corbletts Bay, this species took the island annual total to 154. Whimbrels and Common Sandpipers continue to pass through with a high count of 14 of the former on the 30th and 5 of the latter on the 25th. Green Sandpiper was recorded 3rd August over Barrackmasters Lane and another over Longis pond on the 5th.The Common Tern colony appear to have now moved on from the breeding colony site with at least 2 more recently fledged birds spotted. A Barn Owl was seen drifting across the Mannez Garrene 28th July. Movements of Swifts were regularly reported during the last week of July with the high count 57 on the 26th July and also 50 over the golf course on the 3rd August. 3 recently fledge House Martins were circling a known breeding ‘house’ site on th 26th July and early August flocks have been gathering over Barrackmasters Lane with 32 on the 2nd. Assistant warden Justin has begun ringing 2nd brood Swallow pulli across the island. Meadow Pipt numbers also increased towards the end of July with 67 recorded on the 30th. Other migrants putting in their first appearance of the autumn were a Whinchat on Longis common on the 4th August and a Wheatear on Platte saline on the 5th. The above mentioned 2 young Black Redstart were located on the 24th July with an adult with one of the youngsters seen on the 26th. Between 2nd and 5th of August at least 4 Fan tailed Warblers have been seen on Longis Common including 2 displaying singing males (2 were ringed on the 5th). Our first south bound Garden Warbler was ringed at Mannez on the 5th along with 2 first year Pied Flycatchers after singles of the latter were reported on the 3rd and 4th August. A Spotted Flycatcher was found at Houme herb on the 1st Aug. Migrating Sedge Warblers increased in number with 10 on the 26th July and 3 Dartford Warblers were seen at Telegraph on the 1st August. A family of Long tailed Tits have been frequenting Mannez quarry and 4 Juveniles ringed. Greenfinch has had an exceptional year with around 80 flocking juveniles recorded on the 26th, Linnet flocks also began to appear at the end of July with 48 at Whitegates on the 30th.

Fan tailed Warbler (1 of 2 ringed at Longis nature reserve 5th August) – Photo J Hart

And for those of you who have never been to this fantastic island, here is something you can do between ringing and birding here !

Can’t beat a cooling paddle ! Corbletts Bay.