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 20.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A cloudy day, ahead of tomorrow's threatened big blow provided a good range of visible migrants at Noirmont.

The pick of the birds there has to be a juvenile Cirl Bunting which overflew before returning to the large field. Hopefully it will take up residence.
It was the first real Chaffinch day with 1756 flying over, also the first 4 Bramblings of the autumn, a Siskin, 335 Linnets, 314 Goldfinches, 27 Greenfinches, 59 Swallows, 9 House Martins, 27 Skylarks, 742 Meadow Pipits, 134 Pied Wagtails, 13 Stock Doves, 40 Woodpigeons, 3 Grey Wagtails, 4 Reed Buntings, 50 Black-headed Gulls, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Brent Goose. The semi-resident Wheatear was joined by a second bird mid-morning ( maybe a travel partner?) and 6 Stonechats were present. A Dark Clouded Yellow butterfly was also there. Raptors included 2 Marsh Harriers, one with a Jersey colour-ring, a Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks, 5 Buzzards and 3 Kestrels.

At Queen's Valley this morning were 11 Greenshanks, 11 Teal, 4 Grey Herons, 5 Little Egrets and a Marsh Harrier.

St Ouen's Pond today held 9 Brent Geese including 3 juveniles, 14 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 7 Lapwings, 2 Snipe and a Kingfisher, 4 Stonechats, a Greenland Wheatear, 3 Reed Buntings and 60 Meadow Pipits. 9 Marsh Harriers flew in to roost this evening. A couple of notable sightings at the Pond yesterday were a Great White Egret and a Bittern.

At Grouville Marsh were 2 Siskins and a Reed Bunting, at Grands Vaux a Firecrest and 5 Siskins, with another 2 Siskins seen in Vallee des Vaux.

Picture: A Dunnock in all it's glory, at Noirmont.

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 19.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Early drizzle cleared to a fine day with a mild south-westerly wind.

A Great White Egret was at Grouville Marsh this morning. Also there, were 15 Water Rails, a Marsh Harrier, 4 Swallows, 10 Song Thushes, 2 Siskins, 15 Chiffchaffs including one with an English ring, 3 Stonechats, 2 Blackcaps, a Reed Bunting and a Firecrest.

A steady, if unspectacular session of visible migration counting at Noirmont produced a Tree Sparrow, 52 Swallows, 6 House Martins, 99 Starlings, 39 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, 10 Blackbirds, 556 Chaffinches, 383 Linnets, 250 Goldfinches, 89 Greenfinches, 56 Skylarks, 273 Meadow Pipits, 70 Pied Wagtails, 64 Woodpigeons 3 Stock Doves, a Snipe, 2 Reed Buntings, 10 Black-headed Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. The Wheatear was again in attendance at the bunker, with at least 10 Stonechats and 20 Robins scattered around. 2 Blue Tits also flew in. A Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, 5 Buzzards, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel were also seen.

At Grands Vaux reservoir were 7 Tufted Duck, a Teal and a Cetti's Warbler and, in Vallee des Vaux, 11 Siskins.

Picture: One of the many Robins which are occupying Noirmont at the moment.

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 18.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Temperatures touched 20c today, with a brisk southerly wind.

The weather conditions may help to explain the appearance of a very late Common Swift at Noirmont this morning. Also passing there were 69 Swallows, a House Martin, a Lapland Bunting, a Reed Bunting, 13 Siskins, 408 Chaffinches, 149 Goldfinches, 174 Linnets, 10 15 alba Wagtails, 3 Grey Wagtails, 226 Meadow Pipits, 13 Song Thrushes and 7 Skylarks. 8 Dartford Warblers, including the leucistic bird were seen and the tame Wheatear was still with us. A nice total of 19 Stonechats was achieved. 2 Merlins flew out to sea, a Marsh Harrier, 3 Buzzards, 2 Peregrines, 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk were also in the area. Further Swallows were hawking over Red Houses this evening.

The Yellow-browed Warbler was again in a garden in Valle des Vaux, where 2 Firecrests were also present yesterday.

Around the St Clement Church area, 17 Skylarks, 5 Stonechats, 42 Swallows, 2 Buzzards and 2 Ravens were counted, while in Grouville, 6 Cirl Buntings, 5 Swallows and another Stonechat were found.

Evening Update: Apart from the Yellow-browed Warbler, 3 Redwings, 2 Swallows, 2 Firecrests, a Grey Wagtail and a Water Rail were also seen in Vallee des Vaux. At Grouville Marsh were 2 Snipe, 2 Marsh Harriers, 12 Little Egrets, 7 Ravens, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Stonechats and 10 Chiffchaffs.

Back to yesterday: 154 dark-bellied Brent Geese and 63 pale-bellied Brent Geese were in St Aubin's Bay, but no sign yet of our usual colour-ringed bird ( 3X YY ), which was reported from Norway two weeks ago, a long way off track on it's route from Canada to us!. 11 House Martins were seen feeding in Bouley Bay. At Les Ormes in St Brelade were 2 Firecrests, 2 Goldcrests and 15 Chiffchaffs.

In Grouville Bay yesterday, at Seymour Slip, were 52 Ringed Plovers, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 120 Turnstones, 25 Dunlin, 15 Sanderlings and a Greenshank, while at the ringing site near Handois, St John, were 70 Redwings, 10 Song Thrushes, 2 Firecrests and 8 Swallows.

Picture: Excellent numbers of visiting Stonechats are gracing the Island at the moment.


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 17.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A fair and very mild day with a fresh southerly wind.

A Yellow-browed Warbler was a good early morning find in one of our bird ringers gardens in Vallee des Vaux.

At Noirmont, Swallows were passing in decent numbers, given the date, with 472 counted, along with 9 House Martins, along with a Merlin, 474 Chaffinches, 288 Goldfinches, 152 Linnets, 37 Greenfinches, 3 Skylarks, 203 Meadow Pipits, 10 alba Wagtails, 2 Blue Tits which flew in from on high, 3 Blackbirds and 37 Woodpigeons. On the ground at Noirmont were 5 Stonechats and a Wheatear.

Further Stonechats were seen at Kempt Tower ( 2) and at the Scrape.

A report, yesterday, from Queen's Valley saw 20 Greenshanks, 4 Mandarins and 3 Grey Herons there.

Picture: No apologies for yet another Wheatear image, with this very confiding individual giving good value as it fed on crane flies at the bunker at Noirmont today, it's third day there.

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 16.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A mild but breezy south-westerly dictated the weather today.

The picks of a quieter day on the migration front at Noirmont were 6 Merlins that flew through during the morning, all heading straight off to the south, two of them in company. Otherwise, birds seen included 37 Swallows, a House Martin, 6 Skylarks, 240 Meadow Pipits, 30 alba Wagtails, 302 Chaffinches, 295 Linnets, 50 Goldfinches, 12 Greenfinches, a Grey Wagtail, 7 Blackbirds, 4 Song Thrushes, 14 Starlings, 15 Brent Geese and 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. On the ground were 5 Stonechats, a very confiding Wheatear and several Dartford Warblers.

At first light, on Jubillee Hill, alongside the Airport were 8 Skylarks, 3 Swallows, 52 Chaffinches, 44 Linnets, a Redwing, a Dartford Warbler, a Pied Wagtail and 2 Firecrests.

In the St Ouen's Bay Sandpits were 436 Coot, 21 Pochard, 74 Tufted Duck and 5 Little Grebes, and on the Scrape, 29 Teal, 4 Wigeon and 9 Lapwings. In the conservation fields behind St Ouen's Pond were 60 Linnets, 5 Greenfinches, 60 Goldfinches, 2 Stonechats, 18 Jackdaws and 122 Crows.

Extra Swallows were reported from Mont Fallu, St Peter ( 10 ) and at Victoria Tower ( 8 ). At Le Catillon, Grouville were 7 Redwings, 2 Song Thrushes, 100 Swallows, 35 alba Wagtails and 2 Marsh Harriers. Over 200 Greenfinches were at Crabbe.

A Kingfisher was in the Zoo this evening and a Wheatear at Sorel. A Peregrine was seen near the Trinity Arms.

Yesterday, at Sorel were 7 Redwings, a Ring Ouzel, 2 Song Thrushes, 2 Stonechats, a Wheatear and a procession of Meadow Pipits.

Picture: A Cetti's Warbler at St Ouen's Pond.

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 15.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

The early weather of overcast conditions and a south-east wind ahead of rain from the south pointed to a decent early migration and so it proved, although it was brought to an premature end as the rain intensified.

It was the first "thrush" day of the autumn and from first light Redwings galore were flying over the north coast, as seen from both the Zoo and Sorel, where a Ring Ouzel was also seen.

The thrush count at Noirmont was 19 Ring Ouzels, 476 Redwings, 110 Song Thrushes and 11 Blackbirds, most continuing south. Also seen during a very wet morning were a Merlin, 58 Swallows, 314 Linnets, a Siskin, 66 Chaffinches, 87 Goldfinches, 12 Greenfinches, 22 alba Wagtails, 637 Meadow Pipits, 14 Woodpigeons, 2 Sparrowhawks and 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. 6 Stonechats were on the ground.

15 Redwings were seen over Maufant, 15 Blackbirds, 10 Song Thrushes and 3 Ravens at Victoria Tower and, at La Coupe, one Ring Ouzel, 15 Song Thrushes, 15 Blackbirds, 20 Linnets, 2 Firecests and 2 Ravens. The counts at Grouville Marsh were 50 Swallows, a House Martin, 2 Stonechats, 18 Grey Herons and 28 Coot.

Picture: Little Egret feeding at the small pond at Queen's Valley, with thanks to Trevor Biddle for the nice image.

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 14.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

After a grey start, a pleasant day followed with light westerly winds.

Today's counts at Noirmont included a flyover Lapland Bunting,168 Swallows, 29 House Martins, 670 Linnets, 349 Chaffinches, 433 Goldfinches, a Siskin, 6 Skylarks, 118 alba Wagtails, 428 Meadow Pipits, 25 Woodpigeons, 7 Wheatears, 6 Stonechats, a migrant juvenile Marsh Harrier, 2 migrant Kestrels, a migrant Buzzard, 43 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 27 Black-headed Gulls, a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gulls, 22 arriving Blackbirds and 6 Song Thrushes. 2 Firecrests and 2 Chiffchaffs were calling on the ground and Robins had increased overnight to 50+.

At Queen's Valley, 26 Cormorants, 20 Greenshanks, 3 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons and a female Mandarin were present.

Evening update: Extra birds seen at Queen's Valley today were 2 Mandarins, a Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail and 2 Ravens. At St Ouen's Pond were a Reed Bunting, a Sedge Warbler, 17 Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Grebes, 2 Stonechats and a Barn Owl. In conservation fields there and St Ouen were 400 Linnets, and a total of 11 Stonechats, with a Greenland Wheatear at Mont Matthieu. Yesterday, at Crabbe were 5 Firecrests and a Ring Ouzel, with 2 Stonechats seen at Sorel.

Extra for yesterday included a count of 35 Teal at the Scrape, 2 Stonechats and 2 Swallows at Kempt Tower and 2 Stonechats plus 72 Crows in the conservation fields behind St Ouen's Pond. 26 Coot, a Snipe, 45 alba Wagtails, 18 Swallows and 2 Stonechats were at Grouville Mamrsh, 20 Ringed Plovers in Grouville Bay and 30 Swallows plus 5 Tufted Duck were at Grands Vaux reservoir.

Picture: Wheatears continue to pop in and out at Noirmont. This one arrived late morning and spent several minutes in close company with the migration counters ( maybe the first humans it has ever seen?).

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 13.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A violent squall around sunrise was not a good start, with showers following all morning, but extreme weather in the Channel to the North of the Islands was probably more significant in restricting diurnal migrants today.

Counts at Noirmont were nowhere near yesterday's numbers but included 293 Meadow Pipits, 38 alba Wagtails, 54 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 153 Linnets, 42 Goldfinches, 37 Chaffinches, 5 Skylarks, 3 Song Thrushes and 7 Blackbirds. 9 Stonechats gathered together near the bunker at one point. Offshore at Noirmont, a Manx Shearwater, 9 Gannets, 3 Mediterranean Gulls and 54 Lesser Black-backed Gulls passed west.

A bay-long check at St Ouen's this morning failed to find either the Red-backed Shrike or Rose-coloured Starling, but located, at the Sandpits, 17 Pochard and the Red-crested Pochard, at the Scrape, 20 Teal, a Wigeon, 11 Lapwings and 2 Swallows, at El Tico a Wheatear and at Kempt Tower, a Stonechat. At Le Pulec were 20 Curlews and a Kingfisher at at Petit Port, 92 Curlews, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 150 Oystercatchers.

Picture: Cirl Buntings continue to thrive in their territories, with 9 birds seen at the two breeding localities on Saturday.

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 12.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

The day started grey and rapidly deteriorated to heavy rain with a strong easterly wind as a low moved north-east over the Islands, a promising scenario for bringing migrants to ground.

Of our local rarities, the Red-backed Shrike from a week ago was found again, in the same location at Kempt Tower and the Rose-coloured Starling was again near to Le Braye in St Ouen's Bay.

At Noirmont, an interesting selection of common migrants headed off as the weather deteriorated. Meadow Pipits ignored the rain and continued all morning with a site record count of 8220 seen, and there was no end in sight when the count ended. Along with the mipits were 525 alba Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 527 Linnets, 264 Chaffinches, 4 Greenfinches, 151 Goldfinches, 53 Swallows, 36 House Martins, 17 Skylarks, 25 Blackbirds, 25 Song Thrushes, 4 Stonechats, 12 Wheatears and 29 Starlings.

At the St Ouen's Scrape were 15 Little Egrets, a Grey Heron, a Wigeon, 7 Teal, 2 Snipe, 9 Lapwings and 6 Skylarks. Roosting at Petit Port were 40 Curlews, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 132 Oystercatchers.

10 Song Thrushes flew over Les Quennevais early, 3 Stonechats and 15 Blackbirds were at Les Creux and13 Song Thrushes plus a Skylark were at Gorselands.

Evening update: Seen at Grouville Marsh today were 15 Blackbirds flying over, 30 Song Thrushes, 25 alba Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 30 Meadpw Pipits, 60 Swallows, 4 Greenfinches, 40 Blackcaps, 15 Chiffchaffs, 4 Stonechats, 2 Bullfinches, 5 Firecrests, a Goldcrest, 10 Water Rails, 2 Cetti's Warblers including a new one for the site, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards and 3 Ravens. At Havre des Pas were 15 Rock Pipits and a Ringed Plover.

Back to yesterday, when 50 Swallows, 4 Greenfinches, a trickle of Meadow Pipits, 5 alba Wagtails and 2 Firecrests were seen at Victoria Tower, while at Grouville Marsh were 15 Chiffchaffs, 10 Blackcaps, a Firecrest, a Barn Owl, 3 Buzzards including a pale-phase bird, 2 juvenile Marsh Harriers, a Sparrowhawk and 30 alba Wagtails.

Seen in Vallee des Vaux were 5 Firecrests, 12 Song Thrushes and another pale-phased Buzzard.

Picture: The humble Meadow Pipit is an amazing bird, which will fly in any conditions when most others have long since stopped, as witnessed today with 2000 an hour moving in driving rain at Noirmont.

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 11.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A fair day and a lighter SW wind allowed some good visible migration via Noirmont this morning.

The pick of the birds passing Noirmont were the first Woodlark of the autumn, 3 Sand Martins, a Redpoll and 3 Siskins. Other species included 818 Swallows, 28 House Martins, 23 Skylarks, 1390 Meadow Pipits, 98 alba Wagtails, 667 Linnets, 36 Greenfinches, 257 Chaffinches, 151 Goldfinches, 4 Wheatears, 5 Stonechats,7 Starlings, a Reed Bunting, 27 Woodpigeons, a Ringed Plover and 2 House Sparrows which flew in from the east. A Firecrest and a Blackcap were on the ground there, ( along with the Wheatears and Stonechats after they arrived!). Raptors there included a Peregrine, 2 Kestrels and up to 7 Buzzards, plus the usual 2 Ravens.

Picture: A pretty image of a male Mandarin at Queen's Valley, courtesy of Sue Baudains.

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