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Monday 10 January 2022

3rd to 9th Jan – The start of winter shutdown

Assistant Warden Stuart Cossey rounds up the latest bird sightings as the island goes into its annual maintenance shutdown.

3rd January

A dry and overcast day with strong westerly winds.

It was a quiet day with 10 Redwings roosting in Millcombe and the final sighting of the young Cormorant on Rocket Pole Pond. A Merlin has been hunting all over the southern end of the island, including Ackland’s Moor and Lighthouse Field.

4th January

A shift of wind direction to the north turned the temperature bitterly cold, with short periods of sleet in the afternoon.

Two large flocks of Herring Gulls had formed in Lighthouse Field and Barton Field. Amongst them was a two-year-old bird colour-ringed as a chick on the Isle of Man on 3rd Jul 2019; it has twice been reported close to its place of ringing, once on 27th Oct 2019 and again on 10th Oct last year. The Lundy sighting is the first away from the Isle of Man. A possible third calendar year Caspian Gull was seen but unfortunately no photograph was taken to confirm identification. 
The Isle of Man colour-ringed Herring Gull, 4 Jan © Stuart Cossey
Also of note were two Skylarks, the first of the year, in South West Field.

5th January

The wind continued from the north but had calmed slightly. It remained overcast for most of the day.

A few early migrants arrived on the northerly winds, including the first Siskin of the year calling in Millcombe in the morning and a Linnet by the Lambing Shed. Three Fieldfares were recorded with two next to the Pig Sty. Five Skylarks were seen, with numbers of returning breeders likely to increase during the month.

At Pondsbury there were eight Teal, including two males in summer plumage, and a Jack Snipe was flushed from along one of the muddy paths. A large flock of 500 Kittiwakes was seen loafing off the East Side.

6th January

40mph winds from the west and heavy rain throughout the afternoon made for a miserable day.

It was mostly quiet with a few of yesterday’s birds still around. A Fieldfare was still up by Stoneycroft and two Skylarks were below Old Light. The Merlin was seen again over Ackland's Moor. Large flocks of Herring Gull had reformed, the biggest being 170 seen together in Lighthouse Field along with two Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A further two flocks of 50 and 85 were on Miller’s Cake and in Barton Field respectively.
Merlin resting on a wall by Ackland's Moor, 6 Jan © Stuart Cossey

7th January

Overcast with 40mph winds from the west. Heavy rain in the afternoon.

Another quiet day with strong westerly winds keeping birds sheltering. A Goldcrest was seen foraging in Millcombe and a Lesser Black-backed Gull was in with the Herring Gull flock in Barton Field.

8th January

Winds continued from the west with rain in the morning.

An afternoon census recorded a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls in with 120 Herring Gulls. Two Fieldfares were by Stoneycroft and the Merlin is still hunting across the south end of the island.

9th January

Low cloud and moderate winds from the west.

With lighter winds, a few more species were recorded. The Great Northern Diver was still in the Landing Bay along with three Shags. Eight Mallard and 11 Teal were on Pondsbury along with two Snipe. A male Reed Bunting was in gorse to the south of Pondsbury. Another Teal was present on Quarter Wall Pond.
A female Teal on Pondsbury, 9 Jan © Stuart Cossey

A tristis Chiffchaff was heard by the Secret Garden and seen flycatching from within brambles. Also in Millcombe were the long-staying Woodpigeon, three Chaffinches and two Goldfinches.

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