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 24.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

The last anticyclonic day for a while, with a cold front due to pass through tonight. A warm and clear day with an increasing southerly wind.

The increasingly strong south-south-easterly wind killed off visible migration after mid-morning, but there were still some good birds to be seen at Noirmont. Pick of the day was a first winter Hen Harrier which f;ew around the headland late morning, while being mobbed by a local Kestrel, before heading north, into the Island. On the ground were a Spotted Flycatcher,a Whinchat, a Willow Warbler, 5+ Chiffchaffs, 5 Stonechats and 3 Firecrests, plus many Meadow Pipits. Migration overhead at Noirmont included 162 Swallows, 116 House Martins, 206 Meadow Pipits, 37 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 4 alba Wagtails, 61 Linnets, 25 Black-headed Gulls and 39 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Local birds included 3 Ravens, a Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards and 2 Kestrels.

At Grouville Marsh this morning were 2 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Grey Wagtails, 5 Water Rails, a Willow Warbler, 15 Blackcaps, 20 Chiffchaffs, 5 Jackdaws, a Peregrine and a Marsh Harrier.

In Vallee des Vaux were 2 Firecrests and a Grey Wagtail and at Queen's Valley, 13 Greenshanks and another Grey Wagtail.

Picture: Hen Harriers are becoming nearly as rare as Hen's teeth due to their illegal persecution in England, so this first winter bird was a very welcome sight at Noirmont this morning to all except the local Kestrel. A record shot against this morning's glaring light.

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 23.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A clear and very pleasant day for late September with light and variable winds.

The variety of species passing Noirmont remains low for the time of year, although there were good numbers of some common species. On the ground, was another Lesser Whitethroat, this time a juvenile, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Common Whitethroats, 10+ Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, a Wheatear and 6 Stonechats. Flying overhead were 1520 Meadow Pipits, 8 Tree Pipits, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 7 Grey Wagtails, 18 alba Wagtails, 1340 Swallows, 188 House Martins, 5 Sand Martins, 95 Linnets, 25 Goldfinches and 19 Chaffinches.

Grouville Bay held 120 Brent Geese, 6 Whimbrels, 13 Bar-tailed Godwits, 72 Ringed Plovers, 103 Sanderlings, 16 Dunlin, 30 Grey Plovers, 50 Turnstones, a Snipe and 2 Sandwich Terns with good numbers of Black-headed Gulls also there.

In Queen's Valley were 13 Greenshanks ( 14 yesterday) and a Grey Heron with a Wheatear also there yesterday.

A Wheatear and 2 Stonechats were at Gorselands and a pair of Peregrine was at St Thomas' Church in St Helier. Meanwhile, at St Ouen's Pond, were 6 Shovelers and a Snipe, at Kempt Tower a Teal and a Wheatear and on St Ouen's beach near Big Verns were 53 Ringed Plovers including the Norwegian ringed bird, 2 Sanderlings and a Dunlin.

At Petit Port were 12 Little Egrets, 150 Oystercatchers, 50 Curlews and 6 Ringed Plovers and at Beaumont Marsh were 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Whinchat.

More from yesterday, when a Whinchat, 7 Wheatears and 6 Stonechats were at Les Landes, 9 Yellow Wagtails were at Beaumont Marsh, 114 Brent Geese, 15 Grey Plovers, 20 Dunlin, 80 Ringed Plovers, 20 alba Wagtails and 8 Wheatears were in Grouville Bay. Another Wheatear and around 1000 Swallows roosted at Le Catillon in Grouville.

Picture: One of yesterday's Ravens at Noirmont.

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 22.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A fair to fine day with excellent visibility and a light South-West wind.

Among the few birds grounded at Noirmont after a clear night were a Richard's Pipit which flew from the large field with a flock of Meadow Pipits, calling loudly and an adult Lesser Whitethroat, with 4 Wheatears, 4 Stonechats and 5+ Chiffchaffs also there. Visible migration included 1028 Swallows, 12 Sand Martins, 71 House Martins, 1055 Meadow Pipits, a Tree Pipit, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Grey Wagtails, 3 alba Wagtails, 56 Linnets, 8 Goldfinches and 2 Chaffinches. 4 Ravens were playing at Noirmont, before heading off east, 6 Buzzards and a Peregrine.

Yesterday, 88 Brent Geese were in Grouville Bay with 4 early Slavonian Grebes also there and a female Peregrine was on St Thomas' Church in St Helier.

Picture: Something different: This Russian-owned superyacht, cunningly named "A" paid a visit to St Helier today, seen here moored outside the harbour.

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 21.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A warm and generally clear day and with the wind back in the East, more productive in terms of migrant numbers if not variety of species.

Common migrants were to the fore at Noirmont and these included 1380 Meadow Pipits, 64 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Tree Pipits, 2 Grey Wagtails, 6 alba Wagtails, 895 Swallows, 345 House Martins, 10 Sand Martins, 102 Linnets, 6 Chaffinches, a Hobby, 14 Ringed Plovers and 7 Sandwich Terns. Arriving through the morning were 6 Wheatears and a Whinchat with some increase in Robins, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs there too.

After work for the day had ended at the St Ouen's Pond Scrape, a Kingfisher, a Snipe and 2 Lapwings were seen. A Short-eared Owl was also seen there. 31 Cormorants, a Common Sandpiper and 50 Great Black-backed Gulls were in the Sandpits and 5 Wheatears behind the seawall north of Big Vern's where 14 Bar-headed Geese flew south calling. 5 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 15 Chiffchaffs, 20 Linnets and 70 Meadow Pipits were at Les Landes with a stream of Swallows passing over and Dartford Warblers and Stonechats were both singing.

At Beaumont Marsh were 26 Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail and 6 House Martins.

One to look out for? A large raptor ( not Marsh Harrier or Buzzard), possibly an eagle sp, was seen dropping in this morning, near Le Vau Bourel, to the south of Mourier Vally in St Mary.

Picture: A male Stonechat at Noirmont.

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 20.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 
A muggy and overcast day, but mainly dry ( except at Beauport ) with winds light from the north-east.

A Short-eared Owl was filmed hunting at Plemont this morning.

In St Ouen's Bay, 49 Ringed Plovers including the Norwegian ringed bird, 10 Dunlin and a Wheatear were near the Cutty Sark and 4 Snipe were at St Ouen's Pond, where the Scrape is currently being worked on, with cutting in progress this afternoon by the National Trust Rangers ahead of further work in the coming days. On the Sandpits were 26 Tufted Duck, 17 Pochard and 5 Little Egrets.

Migrants at Noirmont remained in the routine mould with counts of 580 Swallows, 310 House Martins, 8 Sand Martins, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Grey Wagtails, 7 alba Wagtails, 240 Meadow Pipits, a Rock Pipit, a Wheatear, 30 Goldfinches, 62 Linnets, 6 Chaffinches, 24 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Sandwich Terns and a Ringed Plover. On the ground was, well very little, just 4 Stonechats, 13+ Chiffchaffs and 13 Dartford Warblers. 3 Jays and 4 Jackdaws were also seen.

21 Brent Geese were in St Aubin's Bay between First Tower and West Park

Evening update: At St Ouen's Pond this evening were a Short-eared Owl, a Little Grebe, 4 Reed Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, a Willow Warbler, a Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaffs, 3 Wheatears, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 20 Swallows, 10 Marsh Harriers and a Grey Heron.

Yesterday, two flocks of Brent Geese totalling 60 birds were seen passing the Karame beacon off La Rocque.

There have been no sightings of Osprey on the Island this Autumn, but this one certainly flew over last Saturday, albeit at over 2000 feet altitude. An interesting read, with thanks to Stewart Logan for the heads up:


Picture: The Norwegian-ringed Ringed Plover was one of todays birds in St Ouen's Bay. Thanks to Tony for the picture.


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 19.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A day of light north-west winds and variable cloud cover, feeling warm in the sun

It was regulation fare for mid-September, at Noirmont today. Counts included 940 Swallows, 11 Sand Martins, 224 House Martins, 18 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Tree Pipits, 250 Meadow Pipits, 4 Grey Wagtails, 9 alba Wagtails, a Snipe, 12 Chaffinches, 12 Goldfinches and 100 Linnets. Little was on the ground with just 6 Wheatears, 5 Stonechats, a Whitethroat and 5+ Chiffchaffs found.

At Queen's Valley were 15 Greenshanks, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons and a Buzzard.

Back to yesterday when a brief visit to the Ecrehous found 100+ Turnstones, 10+ Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, a Redshank and 10 Rock Pipits, but no other passerines. A Golden Plover was seen at Seymour.

Evening update: Lots more records for today: At Les Landes were 4 Wheatears, a Whinchat, a Firecrest, a Yellow Wagtail and 6 Stonechats and at Beaumont Marsh, 22 Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear.
In Grouville Bay were 67 Sanderlings, 19 Bar-tailed Godwits, 118 Ringed Plovers, 26 Dunlin, 40 Turnstones, a Yellow Wagtail and 28 White Wagtails.

31 Brent Geese were at West Park, also 8 Sandwich Terns and another Wheatear and 13 Redshanks were in St Aubin's Harbour tonight.
4 Ravens flew over the St John's Road area of St Helier this evening as well.

Picture: Bath-time at the Bunker. A Robin at Noirmont yesterday.

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 18.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

An improving day with northerly winds.

Visible migration past Noirmont was in fits and starts today, but did include the first 4 dark-bellied Brent Geese of the Autumn which flew into St Aubin's Bay. Overhead movement included an estimated 900 Swallows which were feeding as they went, making precise counting difficult. Also included in the passage were 18 Sand Martins, 50+ House Martins, 20 Yellow Wagtails, 12 Tree Pipits, 7 alba Wagtails, 400+ Meadow Pipits, many of which dropped into the field and 46 Linnets. Wheatears were arriving with 33 counted, joining a Wryneck ( near the car park at the south end), a Spotted Flycatcher, 5+ Chiffchaffs, a Whitethroat and 2 Stonechats on the ground.

11 Cirl Buntings, including 8 juveniles, were at their breeding site in Grouville while at Grouville Marsh were 40 Chiffchaffs, 40 Blackcaps, 4 Reed Warblers, 2 White Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 40 House Martins, 3 Water Rails, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Sparrowhawk.

In St Ouen's Bay Sandpits were 20 Mediterranean Gulls, 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 29 Cormorants, 6 Grey Herons, 10 Little Grebes, 16 Pochard, 27 Tufted Duck, a Snipe, 50 Swallows, a Peregrine and 2 Sandwich Terns while on the Pond were 2 Little Egrets, 13 Shovelers, 4 Snipe, an adult Lapwing, 8 Cetti's Warblers, 5 Marsh Harriers and 2 juvenile Water Rails plus another Sandwich Tern.

Picture: A male Cirl Bunting pictured in July by Romano.

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 17.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A second day of strong north-west winds on a dry day and far less in the way of migrants around the Island.

At Noirmont, one Wryneck was still present, on the Portelet side of the common, also a Whinchat, 16 Wheatears and several Chiffchaffs but little else. Passing overhead were just 244 Swallows, a Sand Martin, 14 House Martins, 17 Yellow Wagtails, 26 alba Wagtails, 2 Tree Pipits, 235 Meadow Pipits with another 100+ in the large filed, a Grey Heron, 2 Chaffinches, 9 Goldfinches and 30 Linnets. One Kestrel headed off south and a Marsh Harrier passed by.

At Grouville Marsh were a Whitethroat, a Willow Warbler, 14 Chiffchaffs and a Kingfisher and at Queen's Valley were 12 Greenshanks, a Common Sandpiper, 7 Chiffchaffs and a Kingfisher.

Around La Rocque on this morning's hight tide were 28 Grey Herons, 75 Little Egrets, 450 Oystercatchers, 107 Turnstones, 64 Curlews, 40 Grey Plovers, 2 Knot and a Bar-tailed Godwit. 7 Wheatears were in Robin Bay and 250 Black-headed Gulls plus 4 White Wagtails at Seymour. 500 Herring Gulls were at Pontac.

A visit to Icho Tower this afternoon found a Wheatear, a Blackcap and a Rock Pipit there.

At the football pitch by Trinity School were 2 Spotted Flycatchers and a Wheatear.

Evening update: A further check at Grouville Marsh found a Spotted Flycatcher, a Willow Warbler, a Reed Warbler, 6 Cetti's Warblers, a Snipe, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 10 Blackcaps, 20 Chiffchaffs, 2 Buzzards, 40 House Martins, 50 Swallows, 4 Water Rails and a Grey Heron.

In the Sandpits were 10 Grey Herons, 27 Mediterranean Gulls mainly adults, 17 Pochard and 30 Tufted Duck while on St Ouen's Pond were another 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Snipe, 2 Cetti' Warblers, 50+ Stock Doves, 11 Shovelers, 20 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal, 50 Coot and 2 Buzzards.

Picture: Willow Warblers are thinning out in numbers now. This one was on the Ecrehous two weeks ago.

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 16.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A cold front moving east brought rain till early morning followed by a much fresher airflow with a strong North-West wind.

Thousands of Swallows were over St Saviour late yesterday, presumably going to roost and were probably the source of the 1800 Swallows which moved west over Noirmont early this morning, fleeing the rain. There was less variety of species of visible migrants at Noirmont as expected with westerly air back on the scene, with 54 Sand Martins, 98 House Martins, 40 Yellow Wagtails, just one Tree Pipit, 112 Meadow Pipits, 27 alba Wagtails, a Hobby, 3 migrating Marsh Harriers, all sub adults, a Ringed Plover and 33 Lesser Black-backed Gulls seen. On the ground, one Wryneck was present but elusive to the east of the large field, with 10 Wheatears, 2 Stonechats and 3 Whitethroats also seen, despite the rattling wind.

Les Landes came up with 26 Wheatears, a Whinchat and 5 Stonechats with just a single Fulmar seen off Grosnez and a further 3 Wheatears were in St Ouen's Bay. In the shelter of the Sandpits were 8 Little Grebes ( plus one on the Pond), 14 Pochard, 30 Tufted Duck, a Little Grebe, 6 Grey Herons and 26 Cormorants.

Seen in Grouville Bay, off Gorey were 10 Mediterranean Gulls, 150 Black-headed Gulls and 30 Sandwich Terns and at La Sente were 2 White Wagtails and 8 Grey Herons.

Evening update: At Grouville Marsh today were 7 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts, 5 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 11 Yellow Wagtails, a Wheatear and 2 Marsh Harriers with good numbers of Wheatears and alba Wagtails scattered through Grouville Bay.
On the Scrape were 2 Teal, a Reed Warbler, 30 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Wheatears. On the Pond were 6 Shovelers and at Kempt Tower, 5 Wheatears.

The private ringing site in St John still has five pairs of House Martins with young in the nest, also 12 Yellow Wagtails, a Willow Warbler, 2 Bullfinches and 2 Marsh Harriers.

Yesterday, a flock of 24 Jackdaws was near the Little Egret colony in St Ouen's Bay.

Picture: Buzzard at Noirmont

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 15.09.2016   .Mick Dryden 

Overnight rain cleared after sunrise but leaving a cloudy and murky morning with variable light winds

As conditions seemed unpromising for visible migration, inevitably, a spectacular number of birds moved past Noirmont after the rain ceased. Not too much was grounded but those that were included 2 Wrynecks, 2 Redstarts, 2 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears, 5 Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler. Overhead was a different matter. Pick of the many were the 4 Tawny Pipits that flew through ( not all together), and the 3 Jack Snipe that accompanied 11 Common Snipe in a single flock. Swallows were to the fore with 6210 (under) counted with many moving high overhead, 922 House Martins, 9 Sand Martins, another late Swift, 4 Hobbys, 3 migrating juvenile Marsh Harriers, 468 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Grey Wagtails, 34 alba Wagtails, 30 Tree Pipits, 544 Meadow Pipits, 39 Starlings, 120 Linnets, a Redpoll, 5 Chaffinches, 2 Redshanks and a Ringed Plover. Also moving, offshore, were 9 Common Scoters, plus 39 Cormorants, 13 Sandwich Terns, 75 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 44 Black-headed Gulls.

At Gorselands were a Spotted Flycatcher, a Tree Pipit and a Wheatear and at Beauport 4 Tree Pipits. 2 Wheatears were at the Scrape.

Back to yesterday. A Sedge Warbler managed to find itself inside a shop in St Helier from where it was rescued by the JSPCA and released unharmed at St Ouen's Pond. Other birds at the Pond yesterday included 2 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Water Rails, 10 Reed Warblers, a Sedge Warbler, a Redstart, 3 Wheatears, a Kingfisher, a Snipe, 3 Grey Herons and 11 Marsh Harriers.
At Goose Green were 16 Yellow Wagtails, a Wheatear and a Whinchat.

Evening update: It seems the Island was full of birds today. At Les Landes were 42 Wheatears, 11 Whinchats, 4 Stonechats, a Whitethroat, 30 Meadow Pipits, 15 Linnets, 3 Golden Plovers, lots of Swallows and House Martins moving over and a Pied Flycatcher in a garden nearby. By M & S in St Peter were 2 Yellow Wagtails and 20 House Martins and at Goose Green, 23 Yellow Wagtails and 2 Wheatears.
On the East of the Island, 54 Wheatears and 13 White Wagtails were on Grouville Common and Beach with 88 Ringed Plovers, 8 Dunlin and a Sanderling. At Le Hocq were 4 Ringed Plovers and at La Sente, 24 White Wagtails, 12 Wheatears and 2 Whinchats. 800 Swallows were at Le Catillon and a further 500 in Vallee des Vaux. A Common Redstart was seen in a garden in Grouville.
In the St Ouen's Bay Sandpits was a juvenile Black Tern, a Common Sandpiper, 45 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 45 Great Black-backed Gulls and 20 Black-headed Gulls. On St Ouen's Pond were 6 Shovelers, a drake Gadwall, a Snipe and 3 juvenile Marsh Harriers.

Picture: Two Redstarts were at Noirmont again today, presumably yesterday's birds, one of which is seen here.

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