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Monday 27 March 2023

20th to 26th March – First Willow Warblers

Moderate to strong southwesterlies all week with occasional rain. Calm and light northerly winds on 26th.

A total of eight Teal were seen on 24th and 26th. A female Shoveler flew over the Village on the evening of 21st. A high count of eight Woodpigeon were recorded on 24th. Single Water Rail were heard in Millcombe on 20th and 26th. A Black-headed Gull flew north past South West Point on 26th.

A single Golden Plover was heard flying over the island from 20th to 22nd. A Curlew landed in Brick Field after the low cloud cleared in the late afternoon on 20th. A Woodcock was flushed from along the Lower East Side on 23rd and a Jack Snipe was flushed around Pondsbury on 24th.  The nine Purple Sandpipers were still at Brazen Ward on 25th.

The strong winds cleared all the Auks off the cliffs with only 115 Puffins and 20 Guillemot returning to Jenny’s Cove on 26th. Up to two Great Northern Divers were seen from the Landing Bay from 23rd to 26th. A single Red-throated Diver was further out on 23rd. Manx Shearwater are starting to arrive in larger numbers with 200 counted of South West Point on the morning of 26th. A Cormorant flew west past the Castle on 25th and possibly the same adult was seen on Miller’s Cake on 26th.

The female Sparrowhawk was seen on multiple occasions this week, as was the female Merlin. A high count of nine Peregrine were counted on 26th. The Jackdaw remains around High Street Field.

There were few hirundines this week, 10 Sand Martin were counted on 26th. A Swallow flew through on 22nd and eight and 14 were seen on 24th and 26th respectively. The first Willow Warbler of the year was in Millcombe on 21st. The lighter winds and rain overnight brought in a few migrants on 26th. Four Willow Warbler, two Blackcap, 19 Chiffchaff, 25 Goldcrest and two Firecrests were seen across the island with possibly more moving throughout the day.

Firecrest, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

A few late winter thrushes were on the move this week. A Fieldfare was seen in Millcombe on 23rd and Redwing were noted on 22nd and 25th. A female Black Redstart was below Benjamin’s Chair on 26th and a total of 16 Stonechat were counted on 25th. Wheatear are still moving through slowly with 23 on 24th, 18 on 25th and 31 on 26th. There were big movements of Meadow Pipits on several days including 125 on 25th and 290 on 26th. A max of 11 Pied Wagtail and 16 alba wagtail were recorded on 26th and single White Wagtail were seen on 24th and 26th. A Grey Wagtail was heard flying over on 26th. Finches are being recorded more regularly with Goldfinches and Linnet recorded every day. A total of seven Goldfinch were seen on 26th including one seen flying out to sea off the North End. A Brambling fly over the Castle on 26th.

Wheatear, North End © Stuart Cossey

White Wagtail, High Street Field © Stuart Cossey

Goldfinch, Paradise Row © Stuart Cossey

In non-avian news, the 25th saw the first day with multiple butterfly sightings along the Lower East Side including a Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock. Three Slow Worms were found in Millcombe whilst transplanting some trees from the nursery.

Peacock, Lower East Side © Stuart Cossey

This week also saw the arrival of our seasonal volunteer Bird Observatory Assistant Warden, Luke Marriner. Luke will be staying on the island until October and assisting with the morning bird census.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Luke Marriner, Tim Davis, Tim Jones, Helen Cole, Ishbel Hayes, Bee Cox, Alan Rowland

Monday 20 March 2023

13th to 19th March – An amazing arrival of migrants

Continued moderate and strong winds from the north and west for most of the week with rain and low cloud. Light winds from the 17th allowed for a large number of migrants to arrive on the island.

After a period of absence the female Shoveler was seen on Quarter’s Pond on 13th. A male Red-breasted Merganser was also briefly seen in the Landing Bay. The Hooded Crow flew over the Church on 14th and the same day as the last sighting of the Stock Dove.  The Jackdaw is still present.

Single Golden Plover were recorded on 13th, 15th and 16th. A total of six Snipe were seen on 17th. All nine Purple Sandpipers were still present on 19th. A Buzzard was seen in the morning of 17th and then again heading south mobbed by nine Ravens. It was seen again over the East Coast on the morning of 18th and then in the afternoon off Rat Island, again being harassed by Ravens. Two Kestrel were seen in Millcombe on 19th. The Sparrowhawk was also seen all week. The Merlin was last seen on 17th. A total of six Peregrine were counted on 19th, including a few pairs taking up territories.

Purple Sandpiper, Brazen Ward © Stuart Cossey

Peregrine, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

A total of 195 Puffin were counted between the Battery and Jenny’s Cove including at least 14 on land. The night of 17th also saw the first Manx Shearwater ringing session. Only 7 new birds were ringed as well as two retraps. Around 30 birds were heard and seen. A Great Northern Diver was seen in the Landing Bay on 13th, 15th and 18th. Two Red-throated Diver were seen on 15th with singles on 14th and 16th.

Manx Shearwater, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

The first Sand Martin was seen on 17th followed by 10+ on 18th and 46 on 19th. The first Swallow was seen on 16th and the first House Martin of the year was seen on 19th. The first Blackcap of the year was a male in Millcombe on 17th. A Mistle Thrush was calling in Millcombe first thing and a Redwing was by the Water Tanks.

The low cloud in the morning of on 18th brought in a large number of Chiffchaff with at least 33 seen up to midday. As well as Chiffchaff there were three Blackcap, two Firecrest and eight Goldcrest. Most of the Chiffchaff had moved on by 19th with only six seen as well as three Firecrest and three Goldcrest.

Chiffchaff, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey

Wheatear started trickling through with one on 16th. There were at least two on 18th and 21 were counted up to Halfway Wall on 19th. Some had Lundy colour-rings and were obviously back on territory after making their way back from Sub-Saharan Africa for at least the first time. Stonechat were also arriving back on territory with 10 counted on 19th.

Female Wheatear, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

Male Wheatear, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

Meadow Pipits were moving through in large numbers particularly on 14th (300), 17th(120), 18th(132) and 19th (294). Moving with the Meadow Pipits was a small number of alba Wagtails with a high count of 10 on 18th including four confirmed Pied Wagtail. A continental White Wagtail was in Barton Field on 19th. Two Grey Wagtail flew over on 16th.

It is still quiet for finches with only two Linnet on 16th and one on 19th. A Goldfinch was seen on 17th and two on 18th and 19th. Two male Brambling were reported by Quarter Wall Pond on 19th.

On non-avian news, a Red Admiral was seen by the Earthquake on 16th and 19th. The first successful moth trap of the year yielded 5 moths including a migrant Dark-sword Grass.

Dark-sword Grass moth © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Matt Stritch, Neil Trout, Andy Jayne, Dave Oddy

Monday 13 March 2023

6th to 12th March – A Hooded Crow visits Tibbets

 Often overcast with rain showers. Strong winds all week, mostly from the north and west.

A high count of 13 female and five male Mallard were counted across the island on 6th. Five Teal were seen on Pondsbury on 11th and 12th. The female Shoveler was seen again up to the 10th taking a bit of a tour of the island ponds including Rocket Pole and Quarters Ponds.

Shoveler, Rocket Pole Pond © Stuart Cossey

The Stock Dove was still being seen up to the 12th, often in the Camping Field. Three Woodpigeon were together in Millcombe on 6th, the highest count so far this year.  The long-staying Jackdaw was again seen all this week. On the 10th a Hooded Crow was seen in the evening by Tibbets and again on 12th. A Kestrel first seen on 4th was still around this week, most likely one of the breeding pair returning to the island. The female Sparrowhawk and Merlin are also still being seen.

Stock Dove, Camping Field © Stuart Cossey

Hooded Crow, Tibbets © Ester Spears

Single Golden Plover were recorded on 6th, 7th and 8th and four on 12th. The Curlew was seen again around the south of the island on 6th and 7th. A Jack Snipe was flushed by Gannet’s Combe on 10th.

Two Great Northern Divers were in the Landing Bay on 8th. The first Puffins were seen on Land on 12th with 12+ counted, as well as 800 Guillemot and 350 Razorbill.

A Chiffchaff was seen on 7th and a Firecrest on 10th. Three Redwing flew out of Millcombe on 6th. Six Stonechat were counted on 10th.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Matt Stritch, Martin Thorne, Neil Trout, Ester Spears

Tuesday 7 March 2023

27th February to 5th March –The first Puffins and some other spring arrivals

Strong to moderate easterlies and northeasterlies blew in up to the 4th before switching to a light northerly on 5th. It was overcast and cold but there was no rain.

Seven Teal were counted on Pondsbury on 28th and four were still present on 5th. The highest count of Mallard was 19 (15 females and four males) on 5th. The most interesting duck this week was a female Shoveler which was flushed off Pondsbury. At the time of writing it is still present on the island. Although common on the mainland this constitutes the 14th record for the island since LFS records began in 1947. The last was a male on 2nd November 2016.

A Stock Dove first seen in Millcombe on 2nd was present up to the 5th. There was a high count of three Woodpigeon on 1st. Two Water Rail were seen on 4th, one by Quarters and another below Brambles Villa.

It turned out to be an excellent week for early wader migration. Single Golden Plover flew over on 2nd and 3rd. A flock of 15 was on the airstrip on 4th and nine were present on 5th. A Lapwing was in Barton Field on 4th and then on the airstrip on 5th. A Curlew was in High Street Field on 5th. Nine Purple Sandpiper were still at Brazen Ward on 5th and a single bird was seen at Hell’s Gate on 4th. Woodcock were seen on both 4th and 5th. A few Snipe are still present with two on 28th and 1st and singles on 27th, 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Golden Plover, Airstrip © Stuart Cossey

Curlew, Brick Field © Stuart Cossey

Purple Sandpipers, Brazen Ward © Stuart Cossey

Gulls are still congregating in the Village fields with up to 145 Herring Gull. A small congregation of immature Great Black-backed Gulls has formed below Benjamin’s Chair with 13 counted on 3rd. A Common Gull was seen on 4th and a Black-headed Gull flew past the Church on 5th.

Auks are returning to the island in large numbers. At Jenny’s Cove on 28th there were 5100 Guillemot, 700 Razorbill and amazingly three Puffins. This is the second earliest returning date after 27th February 2019. Another count on 5th saw 2000 Guillemot, 300 Razorbill and 45 Puffins

One of the first three Puffins, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

The first Cormorant of the year flew north on 27th. There were then four north on 4th and six flying north on 5th. In the calm Landing Bay on 5th a total of 24 Shag were counted as well as two Great Northern Divers and a single Red-throated Diver.

The female Sparrowhawk and Merlin are still present and Peregrines are becoming a common sight as they display over the Village. Surprisingly after a two week absence the Jackdaw was seen again on 27th and was seen around the Village and Lambing Shed for the rest of the week.

Female Sparrowhawk, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Jackdaw, High Street Field © Stuart Cossey

Skylark have been singing above South West Field when the weather has been warm enough, with hopefully more arriving in the next few weeks. A Chiffchaff was in Millcombe on 3rd and 4th. A Firecrest was in Millcombe on 2nd and another was in Quarter Wall Copse on 5th. A small increase in Goldcrest was noted on 5th with four along the East Side and Millcombe. Single Redwing were seen on 27th and 5th. A male Black Redstart was seen on 3rd and a female on 4th. The first Wheatear of the year was a male seen up by Dead Cow Point.

A notable passage of Meadow Pipit occurred on 3rd with 184 counted including a large grounded flock of 110 in Tent Field. 83 were counted on 4th but some of these were assumed to be birds from the previous day. As well as Meadow Pipits, five unidentified alba wagtails and two Pied Wagtails flew north. 35 Chaffinch were counted in Millcombe on 5th showing a notable influx over the max count of eight for the last week. Other notable finch passage include a Goldfinch and a flock of 18 Linnet over on 2nd.

In non-avian news, a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was found hibernating in the Carpenters Workshop on 3rd.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Joe Parker, Martin Thorne