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Sunday 18 February 2018

Sat 17th Feb – A taste of spring

"A beautiful spring-like day" on Saturday 17th February brought a host of interesting sightings, including an influx of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits and an exodus of Redwings, showing that spring passage is already getting underway. Another seasonal first was a Buff-tailed Bumble-bee in flight next to the Upper East Side Path. The following records have been compiled from observations by Dean Jones, Grant Sherman & Martin Thorne.

Great Northern Diver: A single bird was feeding in the Landing Bay during the late morning.
Red-throated Diver: Six were feeding/roosting in the Landing Bay.
Guillemot: 1,541 on the ledges between St Mark’s Stone and Jenny’s Cove.
Razorbill: 600 birds, some on ledges but most out at sea.
Kittiwake: 70 birds, some of which were seen on ledges along the west coast.
Iceland Gull: Presumably the same bird that was seen on Fri 16th was again present on Mouse Island. Prolonged views allowed it to be aged as an adult and though Dean noticed apparent differences in head markings, he couldn't be certain that it was a different individual to the one he saw on 19 Jan.
Snipe: Seven between Quarter Wall and Pondsbury.
Merlin: A single female bird was looking for prey in Tillage Field in the early morning and later in St John’s Valley.
Skylark: There was a very noticeable arrival, with 18 counted during the late morning and early afternoon. These included two small, mobile flocks near Castle Parade and 10 birds "singing their hearts out with some superb in-flight territorial disputes between males" in South West Field (2), Ackland's Moor (4) and between Quarter Wall and Halfway Wall (4).
Meadow Pipit: A small arrival of birds – four were in flight between Tillage Field and the Airstrip.
Redwing: "Seemingly the majority of birds from earlier in the week have cleared out" – only six were seen during coverage of likely habitat south of Halfway Wall.

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