No snow or minus temperatures here, windy and wet just about covers this week. We made the most of getting out when possible and this did bring its rewards, the year end coming to a very satisfying finale in more ways than one.
At Rose farm this week a Water Rail remains present and Mark Atkinson reports 4 Woodcock at dusk on the 29th. Singles of Curlew, Turnstone and Mediterranean Gull have been sighted at Longis and Braye Bay. On Braye common a regular high tide gathering all week of up to 16 Oystercatchers. Top Sightings (and photos) of the week come from Sandy Robertson who confirmed on the 28th another visit to Alderney by the magnificent Royal Tern that was present early afternoon in Longis Bay. A Sandwich Tern was also seen at the same location. Bottle nose Dolphins have also featured this week from various locations around our coastline but most often from Longis Bay just off Fort Razz where up to six were present, individuals seen leaping completely clear of the sea by Mel, our resident marine biologist.
The water is steadily rising on Longis pond at last, though it still remains below the very bottom marker on the ‘in pond’ water level recorder. The new hide has stood up to another major battering of winds in excess of 70mph this week, from it this morning (new years eve) there were a pair of Teal and 3 Snipe.
Very minimal ringing this week was limited to the shelter of the orchard at Rose Farm. A couple of limited sessions was however enough to see us to 10,000 new ringed birds for 2017. In many ways ringing this year was poor in comparison to 2016, spring migration was poor, while plenty of migrants were present the weather was not often favourable for ringing. The summer saw some of our major seabird ringing trips abandoned entirely due to unseasonal treacherous seas, and from the outset of the autumn the Observatory has been effectively closed for major renovations, meaning limited personnel often leaving 2 or 3 of our 4 major sites unmanned throughout. Despite these setbacks, to return such high a high total reveals the potential ahead for Britain’s newest and most southerly Bird Observatory, and the exciting possibilities once we are fully operational.
Finally, a very happy New Year to you all from Cathy & I. We are very much looking forward to 2018, to seeing visitors returning to the new observatory again, and to meeting new people coming for the first time. A very big thank you to everyone who has, supported this project in any way, be it through ABO membership, donations, giving up time, contributing to records, and also to all the trainee ringers for their ongoing efforts, thank you all.
If our 3rd year is anything at all like the first two, it will be another amazing bonanza of birds and other wildlife, for us all to record and enjoy.