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Monday 28 March 2022

21st to 27th March – First Willow Warblers and beautiful Black Redstarts

21 March

Bright and warm with a slight wind from the east.

It was a busy day in Millcombe with the first three Willow Warblers, 11 Chiffchaff, two male and a female Blackcap and the female Firecrest from last week. A small group of four Fieldfare, five Redwing and a Mistle Thrush were feeding together in Barton Field.

A female Black Redstart was recorded along with 25 Pied and five White Wagtails. The number of Brambling seen beat last week’s record with a final total of 40 across the island. Other birds of note include a Kestrel, two Jack Snipe at Pondsbury, a Grey Heron over the Village and a Great Northern Diver off the East Coast. A Peacock butterfly was also recorded.

22 March

Sunny with a slight wind from the east.

It was the first major count of Puffins on land at Jenny’s Cove today with 39 in the main colony area and a further 19 rafting on the sea. Also at sea, three Red-throated Diver were seen, two off North Light and one off Rat Island, as well as five Black-headed Gulls.

In Millcombe, a Stock Dove was seen along with one Willow Warbler, seven Chiffchaff and four Blackcap. Other visible migration included four Swallows, one House Martin, three Fieldfare, 31 Linnets, 22 Brambling, 77 Meadow Pipits, 23 Pied Wagtails, nine continental White Wagtails, six Golden Plovers and five Cormorants. A total of 50 Skylarks were recorded with males singing all across the island. Along the West Coast 19 Wheatear were counted including 15 males, most of which were singing. Two female Black Redstarts, a Grey Heron, Merlin and eight Peregrine were also seen across the island. In non-avian news, a Peacock and two Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were recorded.

Male Wheatear, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

23 March

Continued calm and sunny weather

During the morning census a Willow Warbler, 12 Chiffchaff and two male Blackcaps were recorded in Millcombe and a Stock Dove was in Barton Field. Around Pondsbury eight Teal were counted and a Dunlin was in Punchbowl Valley. A male Kestrel was seen on the slopes near the Battery, four Cormorants were flying north and a Grey Heron was seen again. Two Sand Martins and four Fieldfare were also recorded. 27 Brambling, 19 Linnets, 80 Meadow Pipits, 21 Pied Wagtails and nine White Wagtails were seen across the island.

24 March

Another day of light easterly winds and clear blue skies.

A total of nine Woodpigeon is the highest count so far this year. Eight Black Redstarts were seen including two stunning males. Finch migration included ten Brambling, 21 Goldfinch, two Siskin, 24 Linnets and a female Bullfinch. Five Willow Warblers, 30 Chiffchaffs, three male Blackcaps and six Goldcrest were counted. Whilst spraying Rhododendron on the East Coast a number of warblers were seen in the flowering Gorse including a male Firecrest.  Also seen today were a Sand Martin, male Kestrel, Great Northern Diver, Swallow, a Fieldfare, seven Wheatear, nine Pied Wagtails and six White Wagtails. At the end of the day a Red Admiral flew over the Nook in the Village during some after work drinks!

Male Black Redstart, Benjamin's Chair © Stuart Cossey

25 March

Blue skies and light easterly wind continues.

In Millcombe six male Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs and two Willow Warblers were seen.  Three Swallows, a female Black Redstart, three Wheatears, eight Pied Wagtails and two White Wagtails were also seen across the island. 

Male Blackcap, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

The number of Brambling is slowly dropping as they continue their northerly migration, only three were seen today. Other finches seen include three Siskin, ten Goldfinch and 19 Linnets. A total of 99 Meadow Pipits were seen including a single flock of over High Street Field. A Golden Plover was seen flying low over the Water Tanks and a Grey Plover was heard calling high over Ackland’s Moor. Also recorded were a Great Northern Diver, 12 Redwing, one Fieldfare and Jack Snipe at Pondsbury. At Jenny's Cove a total of 90 Puffins were seen on the cliff with a further 19 rafting.

Puffins, Jenny's Cove © Rosie Ellis

26 March

Clear and bright with a moderate wind from the east.

A quieter day on the island with only two Chiffchaffs counted. A total of ten Teal were on Pondsbury. Two Stock Dove were in Barton Field and a Kestrel flew over Lower Lighthouse Field.  Also of note were a Fieldfare in Millcombe, four Brambling and 11 Chaffinch including a flock of eight in Bull’s Paradise. A female Black Redstart and Sand Martin were also recorded.

27 March

Clear but hazy with a strong wind from the east.

A total of ten Chiffchaffs were recorded but only one Willow Warbler and two male Blackcaps. These included the first singing Chiffchaffs and Willow Warbler of the year. Two Stock Dove and a Mistle Thrush were in Barton Field, a Fieldfare flew north over Tent Field and the first Tree Pipit of the year was seen at the top of a tree in Millcombe. A total of five Sand Martins were recorded including two foraging over Pondsbury which flew off briefly as a female Merlin headed south. A female Black Redstart was below Old Light and nine male and a female Wheatear were counted along West Coast. Three Bramblings are still present and a male Siskin flew north along East Side. A Jack Snipe and Reed Bunting were recorded above Gannets Coombe.

Sand Martin, Pondsbury © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: S Cossey, C Baillie, P Lymbery, N Trout

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