Monday 6th April
The gale-force winds continued overnight from the 5th, coupled with periods of heavy rain. Come morning however we were blessed with some more beautiful sunshine and some moderate southerly winds, which encouraged the first decent push of Swallows throughout the day (34) along with a handful of House Martin (8).
Avian highlights also included the first Sandwich Tern of the year – perched on one of the mooring buoys in the Landing Bay. A very handsome male Firecrest was caught and ringed in Millcombe, the male Merlin stayed on for another day, and a White Wagtail was busily feeding in Barton Field in the afternoon.
|Summer meets winter... Great Northern Diver and Sandwich Tern in the Landing Bay, 7 Apr © Dean Jones|
Other sightings of note included a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay, a raft of 31 Manx Shearwater off Rat Island in the early morning, a Sparrowhawk, the Quarters Water Rail again, four Woodpigeon, 30 Skylark, 86 Meadow Pipit, four Pied Wagtail and three fly-over alba wags, five Blackcap, 25 Willow Warbler, seven Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest, six Dunnock, two Robin, two Stonechat, six Wheatear, seven Blackbird, three Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch and 27 Linnet.
|Male Blackcap perched on a rail of the cattle crush at Quarter Wall, 7 Apr © Dean Jones|
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets): Chiffchaff 3, Willow Warbler 1, Blackcap 2, Goldcrest 1, the male Firecrest and a Blackbird (1).
|Male Firecrest mist-netted in Millcombe on 7 Apr © Dean Jones|
Tuesday 7th April
A cool and damp early morning, quickly brightening up, though overcast for part of the afternoon and a light easterly breeze throughout.
Highlights included a Jack Snipe flushed from the side of the track between Rocket Pole Pond and South West Point. The first Collared Dove of the year was also present in Millcombe early on. An adult Mediterranean Gull was foraging offshore from the Landing Bay first thing and there was a beautiful female Black Redstart on the Terrace.
|Male Linnet in typical breeding habitat, South West Field, 7 Apr © Dean Jones|
The island also saw a decent push of Linnet, with 41 birds counted throughout the day. The glorious settled conditions also allowed for another attempt to get out west and find some more colour-ringed Wheatears. There was quite a lot of activity along the west and south coasts today, with a number of breeding birds seen fighting over territories and lots of unringed migrant birds passing through. All in all we managed four more colour-ringed birds (there were a number of others being cheeky and hiding their rings) and a total Wheatear count of 44.
|Colour-ringed (black over white, R leg, metal over stripe L leg) male Wheatear, The Battery, 8 Apr © Dean Jones|
|Colour-ringed (blue over blue, R leg, metal over striped L leg) female Wheatear, The Battery, 8 Apr © Dean Jones|
Other sightings of note included two Cormorant past Pilot's Quay, the Quarters Water Rail again, five Woodpigeon, 55 Puffin in Jenny’s Cove, one Kestrel, 30 Swallow, a lone Sand Martin, three House Martin, 25 Skylark, 80 Meadow Pipit, ten Rock Pipit, two Pied Wagtail, 13 Blackcap, 19 Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, six Goldcrest, eight Dunnock, three Robin, two Stonechat, nine Blackbird, five Redwing, three Chaffinch and 17 Goldfinch.
|Breeding-plumaged Cormorants flying north past Pilot's Quay, 8 Apr © Dean Jones|
Ringing totals: Chiffchaff 1, Willow Warbler 4, Blackcap 4, Goldcrest 1 and Wren 1.