Catching up – The transition to the new website (and my getting to grips with operating it !) Has meant a delay in this blog and here we bring you up to date, sorry for the delay.

There is work to be done to further populate some of the pages of this new site but we now have our online bookings page fully operational for anyone wanting to come and stay here at the newly refurbished bird observatory from 1st April 2018.

Shorter days combining for the best part of the last two weeks with harsh weather has meant for very difficult birding conditions and impossible ringing conditions. Indeed it’s been the perfect period for embarking on the ABO 2017 Bird report, a new members newsletter, catching up with data inputting and making sure this new site is populated, up to date and user friendly.

There have of course still been birds ! The 4th December saw our last significant visible migration as a large mixed flock (around 500 birds in Total) of Thrushes, Starlings and Finches gathered in the large ploughed field adjacent to the airfield. A 100+ Chaffinch flock contained 2 Bramblings, 80 Fieldfares were scattered amongst about 200 Redwings.  Also on the 4th, a few minutes ahead of 12 Siskins, a (calling) male Snow Bunting flew in from the direction of Mannez lighthouse over and around Mannez reserve completing 2 circuits before heading SW towards Houme Herbe. 2 Sandwich Terns continue to patrol Longis Baye daily,  the unseasonal Common Sandpiper was on Longis jetty again 11th & 14th.  The long staying Water Pipit was last seen at the same location on the 11th and as the tide filled the bay that afternoon it brought with it a Great Northern Diver. Single Grey plovers are moving between Longis and Braye Bay this week.  A small band of up to 6 Chiffchaffs occupy Essex Sewage works, best seen on sunny days picking off insects still apparently plentiful at this location. At the foot of the Barrackmasters Lane valley a ringed female Bullfinch was seen 16th. A Grey Wagtail has been reported on three dates this week at the top end of Victoria Street. The recent rainfalls are beginning to rise the water level on Longis nature reserve pond, and here on the 8th there were 3 Teal and 4 Snipe.

On the evening of the 15h a good sized blonde Hedgehog pottered around on the grass outside the Obs.

Thank you again Becky Sumpster of ‘Design Somerset’ for giving her time and expertise to the ABO for free ! Making this shiny new web-site a reality.



Sunrise from the Observatory ringing room at first light this morning, Longis bay incorporating Fort Razz with France visible beyond – 17th Dec. Photo JH/ABO