Update from 30th Sept. Final totals for yesterday were 215 new birds ringed. 154 were Swallows but there was some excitement across the experienced ringing crew who attended Mannez Quarry nature reserve Swallow roost concerning a very late caught warbler that appeared in the poor light to be a pale looking Reed Warbler. This morning the entire resident ringing team of 9 set about ringing the roosted 130 Swallows and of course the Warbler… The bird in question was indeed a very grey looking acrocephalus species that in the morning light was considered to be Blyths Reed Warbler, quickly confirmed by a variety of measurements and wing formula taken by ringer Paul Veron. The bird was an adult and certainly two characteristics that lent themselves to the last one I saw were the warmer brown rump against the rest of the birds’ overall grey hue colouration (I would imagine visible in the field). Further was that the bird clapped its bill together a few times in a deliberate manner making a snapping sound. Last night visiting entomologist Charlie… found a large grey moth in the obs bathroom that transpired to be a Clifden Nonpareil. This very rare large grey Hawkmoth sized species also migrates south from Eastern Europe. Its range overlapping that of the Blyths Reed. This moth species is generally annual to the Channel Islands getting 1 or 2 records most years. And all this on the back of over a week of Westerly and southerly winds !


Blyth’s Reed Warbler – Mannez Quarry – Photo – Keith Dean


Blyth’s Reed Warbler – Mannez Quarry – Photo – Paul Veron



Clifden Nonpareil Moth – Photo – ABO


Clifden Nonpareil Moth – underside – photo – ABO

A summary of September’s ringing. A total of 1613 new birds were ringed (av 53 per day) and included a total of 40 species.  Blyth’s Reed Warbler was a new species for Alderney and the second ever record for The Channel Islands.

Today strong winds and long spells of rain this morning put paid to any birding or ringing. In the afternoon the rain held off long enough to open a just a few sheltered nets at Essex farm for a short spell. We only managed to catch 4 new birds but, delightfully, 2 of them were Spotted Flycatchers. Winds are turning NW overnight and it would appear at least 10 days of easterly winds follow. Should be an exciting week.