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Monday 30 January 2023

23rd to 29th January – Some calm weather and early arrivals

Mild, especially on clear sunny days. Clear with light southerlies on the 23rd and 24th. Moderate westerlies on the 25th brought low cloud and drizzle. Mostly overcast with moderate winds from the west and northwest to end the week.

It is starting to feel spring-like in Millcombe with Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock and Wren singing during the calm sunny mornings.

A high count of 15 Teal were seen on Pondsbury on 26th. The Greylag Goose continues to be seen in Barton Field with only occasional flights to other fields. A Feral / Racing Pigeon flew along the West Coast on 26th, very reminiscent of the Rock Doves they originally evolved from. A Woodpigeon was in Millcombe between the 23rd and 25th. Also in Millcombe, Water Rail continue to be heard calling from below Millcombe Pond. A Sparrowhawk was seen on 23rd and a Merlin on 23rd and 26th. The long-staying Jackdaw is still present in the Village and farm fields.

Merlin, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

Pairs of Oystercatcher are starting to defend territories along the East Coast with their calls easily heard. A single Golden Plover was recorded on the 24th and 26th. Three Snipe were flushed by Pondsbury on 26th.

Oystercatcher, Landing Bay © Stuart Cossey

There was some good seawatching this week with a few large flocks of Kittiwake off the East Coast. 300 were counted on 26th and 200 on 27th. Four Common Gull were seen with them on the 26th. Also on the 26th, a very early Manx Shearwater and 154 Fulmar were seen off the West Coast. A Great Northern Diver is still feeding in the Landing Bay and up to 200 Herring Gulls continue to be seen in the farm fields, attracted to the sheep feed.

The first Skylarks of the year were seen this week with one on 23rd and another on 28th. Up to four Goldcrest were recorded in Millcombe. A Mistle Thrush was by Quarter Wall on 23rd and a Redwing was seen on 24th. Stonechat were a more common sight with three on 23rd, two on 24th and singles on 27th to 29th. A Pied Wagtail was recorded on the 23rd and two were present on 26th.

The number of Chaffinch recorded has varied but the same flock of up to 22 is still in Millcombe. Single Siskin were seen on 23rd and 25th and a Goldfinch and three Linnet were seen on 24th.

In non-avian news, the easterly winds have washed a lot of debris onto Landing Bay Beach and Christie's Quay. As well as the unsightly plastic pollution there have been Goose Barnacles and a lot of shark and skate egg cases, including Blonde Ray, Spotted Skate and Small-spotted Catshark

Shark and Skate egg cases © Stuart Cossey

Goose Barnacles, Landing Bay Beach © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Eleanor Grover

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