A busy day today with an estimated 1000 Swallows and 50 House Martins passing through the island on passage. More passerines about generally and a wider variety was reflected in the ringing. The ringing team split between Mannez Quarry and Longis for the Swallow roosts and we caught well over 100 birds between the two sites the majority from Mannez. Other species ringed today included 2 Firecrest, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Whinchat, 1 Stonechat and 2 Sedge warblers. The final totals will be updated tomorrow but certainly over 200 new birds were ringed today.
Other birds seen today include the Rose-coloured Starling showing well on Longis Common at 4pm, 2 Mediterranean Gulls in Braye bay, and a noticeable increase late afternoon/early evening of Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Robins.
High winds and rain lasted until early afternoon after which a few choice nets were deployed in the improved conditions. Just a few birds were ringed during the PM session.
Passage migrants were fewer generally though a steady trickle of Swallows continued all afternoon with single House and Sand Martins seen. The Rose-coloured Starling was again on Longis Common. A Spotted Flycatcher and a Siskin were seen around Essex Farm. A Sandwich Tern was seen in Longis Bay along with a Dunlin and 4 Turnstone. On Longis pond there were 2 Teal, 1 male Shoveler, 2 Water Rail and 6 Snipe.
Wheatear – Longis Common – Photo Martin Batt
A Grey Seal was seen off Mannez lighthouse and there was a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the Obs garden.
A mixture of quantity and some rarer birds today amongst an overdue and more significant fall of Autumn migrants today. At one of the smaller wooded valleys along the south cliffs this morning around 40 Chiffchaffs were on view at one time, with the odd Goldcrest and Blackcap amongst them. Also along the south cliffs a flock of 18 Chaffinches (over) 2 Peregrine, 1 Kestrel, at least 10 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat and a steady stream of Swallows that included some 200 gathered at the north end of the airfield. Martin Batt found 5 Golden Plovers near the airfield.
Golden Plover – farmland at Longue Pierre – photo Martin Batt
The Rose-coloured Starling was still showing well on Longis Common on and off during the morning. Also here at least 10 Whinchats and a Wheatear. A Tawny Pipit was seen (and heard) on the Obs ramparts briefly by visiting ringer Paul Roper who also had 1 Dunlin in company with 4 Curlew Sandpipers in Longis Bay. Paul Veron had a Common Redstart near Mannez lighthouse.
The ringing also saw more quantity and variety with 114 new birds ringed from 21 species including 2 Firecrest, 3 Goldcrest, 24 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 13 Blackcaps, 1 Stonechat, 2 Whinchat, 1 Siskin, 1 House Sparrow, 1 Starling, 25 Meadow Pipits and 28 Swallows.
A great end to Naturetreks stay this morning with a Yellow Wagtail at Braye and the Rose-coloured Starling showing very well moving between the roof of the old Kennels and the adjacent bramble patches on Longis common. Also on the common were at least 15 Stonechats, 60 Greenfinches, 60 Meadow Pipits, 7 Whinchats, and 2 Wheatears.
Rose-coloured Starling – Longis Common – Photo – Martin Batt
On Longis beach today 6 Little Egrets, 1 Grey Heron, 14 Mallard, 6 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Grey Plovers, 1 Turnstone and 2 Ringed Plovers. On Longis reserve there were 2 Little Grebe, 6 Snipe, 2 Water Rail, 2 Teal, 1 Shoveler, 1 Goldcrest and a Cettis Warbler. Also recorded today 1 Stock Dove, 1 House Martin, 1 Kestrel and 1 Buzzard.
The visiting ringers were able to get underway after drizzle delayed play for the first couple of hours light and ended today with a total of 65 new birds ringed. This Included 3 Starlings, 2 Whinchats, 2 Stonechats, 6 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 10 Meadow Pipits and 38 Swallows.
Yesterdays Wryneck has been followed today by our second Rose-coloured Starling of the Autumn. This new bird, another juvenile, was located in the brambles between the Obs and the old Kennels travelling with a dozen Starlings.
Naturetrek had another good day seeing good variety including Dartford Warbler on Essex Hill, Grey Seal in Longis bay and a Convolvulus Hawkmoth caught in the Obs moth trap. Also in the moth trap a species apply named ‘September Thorn’, though not uncommon in southern England thought to be only the 3rd ever recorded on Alderney.
September Thorn Moth – ABO moth trap
Other species recorded included a Marsh Harrier over Mannez lighthouse, 4 Grey Plover, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit and a whimbrel on Longis beach. 2 Whinchats and at least 6 Stonechats on Longis Common. 6 Sanderlings and a Grey Heron on Braye Beach. The Greenfinch flock frequenting the Common was at about 60 birds this morning and possibly a seperate flock of 35 was present at Mannez reserve.
Ringing took place sporadically at all 3 of our sites today returning 82 new birds in total. Our visiting Essex based ringers caught 42 Swallows roosting at Mannez reserve where they also had our first Goldcrest of the month. Also ringed today were 16 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Garden Warbler and 8 Goldfinches.