MAY 1st

NW winds lingered on into today. Robert had a Lesser Whitethroat singing at Mannez this morning and a Cuckoo at Fort Albert and 3 Swifts. 4 Whimbrel commuted between Longis beach and Longis Common and another was reported from Clonque Beach.

The two long staying Brent Geese appear to have finally moved on from Longis Bay where there was a single Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 prs of Shelduck minutes before starting this blog update. There were single male Redstarts in Barrack masters Lane and Mannez Quarry where Paul and Catherine Veron reported Yellow Wagtail and Siskin. A pair of Peregrine were observed at Giffoine.

Ringing today produced another new species for the Obs, a Moorhen caught in Mannez Quarry nature reserve, the bird was also the first one ringed on Alderney since 1967. Fewer birds around today generally but amongst 34 new birds ringed still a good variety in the nets which included 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat,  1 Common Redstart, 1 Sedge Warbler, 11 Blackcap, 6 Willow Warblers, 5 Chiffchaffs,  1 Song Thrush, 1 chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch and a Moorhen.

Having seen  44 Common Redstart ringed at the Obs over the last few weeks I have noticed one or two observations that have helped me to age females in Spring. In particular the colour of the red/orange on the rump and tail of adult birds, which is a much brighter and richer orange (similar to a Robins breast if not brighter) than on 1st year birds which are a duller more brown/red. The only two adult females we have processed have had red right across the upper chest (not present in any of the first yr female birds). Further, the tail shape on 1st yr birds has been very rounded similar to an adult Robin tail only broader, and often in excellent condition. Whilst it is variable, all the first year females have had a black/dark patch on the outer web of the 6th tail feathers. The two Adult females have had very clean and bright tails lacking any dark smudges on the 6th tail feathers present on the juveniles.

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Adult Female Common Redstart – Essex Farm

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1st yr female Common Redstart tail showing dark tip/outer edge to 6th tail feather.

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Ad Female common Redstart 6th tail feather

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Adult male Moorhen – Mannez Quarry Reserve

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Adult Lesser Whitethroat – Mannez Quarry Reserve

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