April 30th

30on

Winds from the North West this morning and despite clear skies overnight and the unfavourable wind direction yet more new migrants were upon us again today. On Longis beach there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Whimbrel.

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April 29th

April 29th

Today was rather dominated by the BBC filming at the Observatory for Countryfile. It was all hands on deck to maintain the ringing operations and keep up with another good fall of migrants. 133 New Birds were ringed with Blackcap again most prominent with 54, followed by Willow warbler 35, other birds ringed included 9 Whitethroat, 8 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 4 Garden Warbler, 5 Common Redstart, 1 Siskin,  1 Goldcrest and 1 Song Thrush. Minimal time was afforded to birding but a Cuckoo flew past the Obs and took up residence calling from Essex Hill at mid day. There was also a very light passage of Swallows. The Bar tailed Godwit and 2 Brent Geese were again on Longis Beach and Robert of the AWT team reported a Wood Warbler from Barrack masters lane. After yesterdays Subalpine Warbler we were lucky enough to bag a 2nd vagrant today, that being a Western Bonelli’s Warbler. Unfortunately only time to get record shots of the bird given the large number of birds to ring and the filming. This species appears to be a 1st record for Alderney Island.

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Bonelli’s Warbler being processed and filmed by the BBC at the Obs  –  scribing by Countryfile and One show’s TV presenter Matt Baker

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Bonelli’s Warbler – Longis Reserve –  photo showing identification feature of lime rump

April 28th

April 28th

Winds continued from the West but had dropped considerably by this morning. A female Pied Flycatcher was in Longis beach car park as I headed out to open the nets between the Obs and Essex Farm where a couple of Siskin also passed over. There was a Nightingale singing in the thickets behind the sewage works drowning out the voices of serveral singing Sedge and Willow Warblers. Barbara Beynon reported hearing a cuckoo this morning down in LA Vallee road and also spotted what she described as a fair sized flock Yellow wagtails in the ploughed field at the bottom of Tourgis Hill. Yellow Wagatils certainly featured today with the visiting Avian adventures group reporting a flock of 8 that included a Blue headed and several other individual birds were spotted and reported from across the island. The wildlife touring group also reported excellent views of a Hobby yesterday evening and another belated report was from Robert of the AWT team who heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling at dusk at the bottom of the golf course opposite the Obs. Robert also had a Lesser Whitethroat at the sewage works this morning, a single passage flock of 22 House martins and brief views a probable Goshawk this afternoon. Also this afternoon there was again Nightingale song this time from Longis Nature reserve where there were at least three Common Redstarts, a furhter 3 Common Redsarts were reported from Mannez Quarry nature reserve.

Ringing took place on all three of our sites at various times today. 137 New birds were ringed in total from 20 Species. The day began well in Essex farm with a UK ringed ‘control’ Sedge Warbler. This was followed by a cracking male Western Subalpine Warbler. There was a good fall of a wide variety of migrants dominated by Blackcap 48  and Willow Warbler 39, other species ringed included 1 Garden Warbler, 12 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 9 Whitethroat, 7 Chiffchaff, 3 Common Redstart, 1 Swallow, 1 Song Thrush and 1 Linnet. Late in the afternoon we had our first Yellow Wagail in the nets. Todays total took us over 3100 new ringed birds since 4th March. See Ringers pages for full totals of new birds ringed today.

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1st yr male Yellow Wagtail – Longis Nature Reserve

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1st yr male Western Subalpine Warbler – Essex Farm

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April 27th

April 27th

The 2 Brent Geese in Longis Bay were present all day today and first thing there was a Bar-tailed Godwit feeding ahead of the incoming tide. 2 Peregrine rifled over the Obs late morning one calling loudly. There were 2 Wheatears on Lonigs common one of which appeared to be of Greenland race but I didn’t get my bins on it. Two Owls (likely short eared) were reported from vallee des trios vaux. Less birds around today but still a good sprinkling of migrants; overnight the winds had  turned coming from the West and they remained so all day.

Ringing was at Essex Farm today and a total of 52 new birds ringed included 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Common Redstart and an adult female Siskin. Blackcap was the commonest species in the nets with 25 individuals. Avian Adventures joined us for a ringing demonstration mid morning enjoying a variety of migrants. Surprise of the day was a first for me being the hybrid finch pictured below. The bird was unringed and did not show any of the tell-tale signs of being a captive bred ‘escape’. The wing length of 83mm ruled Siskin and was also short for Greenfinch. The bird, a male, had the black crown of a male Siskin and the large bill of a Greenfinch, though the grey ear coverts were rather puzzling !  The flight feathers were closer to Siskin and the tail akin to Greenfinch. When the bird was released it made a clear Greenfinch call. Amazingly we caught a Greenfinch and a Siskin the same net round as this individual which was in size half way between the larger Greenfinch and smaller Siskin.

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Hybrid Adult GreenfinchxSiskin

 

April 26th

April 26th

Daybreak brought with it very windy conditions giving the opportunity to catch up on other chores principally cutting new rides in Mannez Quarry nature reserve and setting up 48 metres of nets.  Still a little work to go here but todays progress will assist the ABO to further establish this location as a very important haven for birds. Driving over to join Paul Veron at the Quarry I saw a Hobby going after Swallows over Longis nature reserve and on my arrival Paul had just had a Cuckoo in Mannez, and later 3 Common Redstart. Naturetrek reported a Whimbrel from Platte Saline and a Grey Seal at Hannaine Bay.

Ringing: At about 1630hrs there appeared a lull in conditions and I opened a net on Essex Farm beside the sewage works. There were very few birds present compared to the last two days but I managed two quick rounds and processed 14 birds; 10 Willow warblers, 3 Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff before some very ugly black clouds gathered and I shut the nets for the day prior to a hail storm.

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Fulmar- taken nr Les Etacs Gannet colony by Dr. S Roberstson (superb shot Sandy thank you)