The second half of Feb has seen continued tough conditions for birding but fieldwork efforts produced some interesting records. We are delighted to welcome Elliot Montieth our new assistant warden. Elliot has obtained valuable experience volunteering at other prominent British Bird observatories Bardsey and Fair Isle. Since arriving last week Elliot has already been working hard on our new for 2020 ‘Young Birders Camps’, taking place over two weeks this autumn. See below flyer.
The Great Northern Diver remained in Braye Bay until at least 24th. A drake Shelduck was briefly in Longis bay at first light this morning (28th). The rough seas have seen more Cormorants (generally marine here) taking to the quarry pools.
A female Peregrine Falcon rocketed past the lighthouse on 25th. At least 3 Water Rails declared there locations at dusk at Longis pond on 27th, the wintering Whimbrel still about on the 26th. Small numbers of Lesser black backed Gulls continued to appear daily with our first significant movement of 115 on the 27th. Information in this week of a colour ring being read in the field in Morrocco North Africa on 15th Feb, belonging to one of the Lesser black backed Gulls the ABO ringed on Burhou in July last year. 2 Mediterranean Gulls have been seen sporadically between Crabby and Braye Bay, Sandwich Terns have been seen in Braye Harbour (2 on 26th) and in Longis bay singles 21st & 27th. A Great Skua passed fort Razz on the 24th and on the 21st over 100 auks almost an even split between Razorbill and Guillemot, were recorded during an hours sea-watch. A very smart Barn Owl was taking full advantage of a brief let up in the weather conditions hunting in the vicinity of the target wall during the late afternoon of the 26th. A Great spotted Woodpecker ( very uncommon here) was in the conifer plantation near Blanchards on the 23rd. The Kingfisher was again at the waterworks quarry on the 20th (observe from behind the gate). A Grey Wagtail continues to frequent St.Annes High Street and there were 12 Pied Wagtails around Kiln Farm on the 27th. It was very interesting on the 26th to come across a species I’ve never seen in a flock before, with no fewer that 14 Stonechats together feeding along a single hedgerow along the west coast, the birds were all intent on feeding suggesting they were recent arrivals on the island.
Cettis Warbler was singing at Longis nature reserve 21st, a single Chiffchaff at the same location also that day. A Firecrest was near the football pitch on the 27th. A flock of around 60 finches, mostly Greenfinches with a few Goldfinches, is frequenting Longis common. Seals are being spotted regularly, especially along the NE coastline and in Braye Bay. Photo below 1 of 2 animals together in Cats Bay on the 26th. A bottle nose Dolphin was also seen off the NE coast on the 25th.