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Sunday 29 March 2020

28th & 29th Mar – Colour-ringed Osprey!

A further update from Dean Jones, with news of a cold, windy and consequently rather quiet couple of days, enlivened by an exciting encounter with a colour-ringed Osprey...

Saturday March 28th

Sunshine and clear skies during the early morning, becoming mostly overcast by the afternoon with intermittent sunny spells, but a very cold day due to the continued north-easterlies.

A beautiful but cold morning, looking south past the Church, towards Cornwall, 28 Mar © Dean Jones

A rather quiet day on the bird front, particularly along the east coast and in Millcombe as birds either moved on or hid away from the icy winds in nearby scrub, grassy tussocks and areas of sheltered canopy. Not much in the way of visible migration today either, with the majority of birds hunkering down or feeding in areas of longer sward on the top of the island rather than pushing on.

Due to the tricky birding conditions on the East Side, much of the attention went to the more sheltered west coast, though here too birds were rather inconspicuous. The avian highlight of the day was undoubtedly an Osprey which flew over Brick Field calling as it was being mobbed by a Raven at around 09:30 hrs. The bird then hung in the north-east winds for a few minutes allowing some great but distant views overhead and a few record shots before it drifted north and out of sight. After review of the images I noticed that the bird was sporting a blue darvic ring on its right tarsus and after a quick Google search, it looks like this bird was ringed somewhere in Scotland and was more than likely on its way back from its African winter quarters to its Scottish breeding grounds. Thank you Mr/Mrs Raven for the alert to this beautiful bird’s presence

Osprey mobbed by Raven over Brick Field, 28 Mar © Dean Jones

The Osprey hung in the NE wind for a while © Dean Jones

Cropped version of same photo showing blue colour-ring

Other feathered gems included two Mediterranean Gulls in the Landing Bay, feeding with a group of 14 Common Gulls, and two Jackdaws foraging in the Lower Aerogenerator Field in the afternoon, as well as the stunning male Black Redstart that remained for another day along the cliff-face below the Old Lighthouse.

Other birds of note included eight Teal on Pondsbury, the Quarters Water Rail, five Woodpigeon in Barton Field, 21 Shag, 127 Kittiwake, just two Puffins on the water in Jenny’s Cove within a small raft of Razorbill and Guillemot (no auks on the ledges again this morning), nine Wheatear, 42 Skylark, 84 Meadow Pipit, five Pied Wagtail, three Chiffchaff, only one Goldcrest, three Redwing in Millcombe, one Song Thrush in Brick Field, eight Chaffinch, 11 Goldfinch and 11 Linnet.

Male Wheatear sheltering in the lee of Halfway Wall, 28 Mar © Dean Jones

Sunday March 29th

The icy north-easterlies picked up overnight and raged on throughout the day, resulting in low temperatures again (with wind-chill taken into account, it was barely 1°C!). A beautiful sunny day nonetheless, with a few scattered clouds. Other than the constant howling of the winds as they whipped over the island, it was another very quiet day on the bird front, with very few singing or displaying birds on the plateau and very little in the way of new arrivals chirping and chipping overhead.

A choppy Landing Bay, taking the brunt of the chilly NE winds, 29 Mar © Dean Jones

Highlights include a nice young male Sparrowhawk – the first of the year – hanging on the wind over Millcombe first thing. The two Jackdaws remained in the lower Lighthouse Field for another day and a total of four Common Gulls were seen foraging around the South End of the island throughout the day.

The best of the rest included a lone Cormorant over the Village in the late morning, ten Woodpigeon in Barton Field, the Quarters Water Rail, two Stonechat in South West Field, 20 Skylark, seven Pied Wagtail, 55 Meadow Pipit, six Chaffinch, eight Goldfinch and four Linnet.

Up to four Pied Wagtails were taking shelter outside Paradise Row on 29 Mar – here a fine male © Dean Jones

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