Saturday 30th March
After a day's delay due to thick fog at Hartland Point it was possible to get to the island in beautiful sunny conditions. At the South End the Skylarks were singing and several Wheatears were found, although none appeared to have colour-rings. A party of six Cormorants, in good breeding plumage, flew in from the south and headed north up the East Side. These may have been the same birds that were seen at Hartland Point earlier in the morning. The two Ringed Plovers were still present in South West Field, spending most of their time feeding near one of the streams. Small numbers of warblers were feeding along the walls and around Rocket Pole Pond; they all appeared to be Chiffchaffs.
Sunday 31st March
Another sunny day, and a walk to the North End produced many more Wheatears and still more Chiffchaffs, with many of them seen feeding on the ground. There was an obvious passage of Swallows and Sand Martins, with a single House Martin seen eventually. At Jenny's Cove there were no auks to be seen, but at least 150 Kittiwakes were very active and very vocal, making repeated visits to the cliffs and then returning to form rafts offshore.
Monday 1st April
Sunny and slightly less breezy. There appeared to have been a significant fall of warblers overnight, with Blackcaps being found in every likely spot in Millcombe and along the Terrace. Almost every individual was a male and there may have been over 50 birds noted in a walk along the East Side towards Tibbetts and back to the Village via Pondsbury, where more Blackcaps were found feeding amongst Purple Moor Grass. Similar numbers of Chiffchaffs were present, and at least two Willow Warblers were heard singing. A smart male Ring Ouzel flew out of the Quarries and landed on a wooden gate in the Tillage Field. A commotion amongst the gulls and corvids alerted us to a female Marsh Harrier which flew high over the island and headed out to sea towards the mainland.
Tuesday 2nd April
The breezy conditions had returned but in the shelter of the Quarries there were still plenty of Blackcaps feeding, with a few more females spotted. A male Pied Flycatcher was present in St Helen's Copse. The return boat trip to Ilfracombe was quite lively in Force 6 conditions but there was plenty to see, with rafts of Guillemots and Razorbills, smaller numbers of feeding Kittiwakes and Fulmars and some close encounters with Manx Shearwaters.
|Peregrine © Andrew Cleave|
|Raven © Andrew Cleave|