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 25.07.2014   Plemont saved!Mick Dryden 

The news that the purchase of Plemont was completed in the Royal Court today, overshadows anything else. It's future is now secure in the hands of the National Trust for Jersey and it will be returned to a natural state for the benefit of all who wish to use it. Congratulations to all concerned for refusing to give up on it when all seemed lost.

It was another clear and very warm day, but with a fresher feel than yesterday, the wind still in the north-east.

A Spoonbill put in an appearance at the St Ouen's Pond Scrape early this morning.

A little more was moving past Noirmont than yesterday, notably a Little Ringed Plover, 29 Swifts, 38 Sand Martins, a House Martin, 80 Swallows, a White Wagtail, 5 Meadow Pipits, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 23 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Clouded Yellow butterflies. 3 Ravens paid a visit to the sheep field and a Peregrine was hunting the area.

At sea, off Corbiere, 25 shearwaters, both Balearics and Manx, were seen.

Evening update: At the usual Cirl Bunting site, 3 birds were calling today. In Grouville Bay, at Le Hurel were 2 Knot, 3 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plovers and 5 White Wagtails. In the west, the last two Marsh Harrier chicks at Kempt Tower have fledged. A White Stork was seen flying north through Grouville Bay also 14 Grey Herons, 7 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Great Crested Grebes, a Whimbrel and a White Wagtail. ( with thanks to Steve Blake for the report).

Back to yesterday and an evening visit to the St Ouen's Pond area found a Willow Warbler at Kempt Tower, 2 Water Rails, 5 Bearded Tits, a Snipe and 2 Pochard at the Pond with a roost of 130 Swallows and 75 Sand Martins there and over 50 Swifts in the air.

Picture: The current state of Plemont - soon to be changed for ever, for the better.

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 24.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

The pick of a hot and humid July day was an Osprey, flying south over Egypt at 5.30. It is likely to still be here tomorrow morning.

At Noirmont, a trickle of Swifts and Swallows, plus 2 Sand Martins continued until mid-morning. A Clouded Yellow butterfly was also seen there.

At St Ouen's Pond, a female Teal, 5 Lapwings, and a Shoveler were at the Scrape, a Little Grebe, a Shoveler, 5 Pochards, 21 Tufted Duck, 161 Coot and several Bearded Tits on the Pond. In the Sandpits were 5 Common Sandpipers, two waders unidentified due to distance, but probably Wood Sandpipers, a Little Grebe, a Grey Heron, a Little Grebe, 77 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Lapwings and a juvenile Marsh Harrier.

6 Greenshanks were at Queen's Valley along with 5 Grey Herons, a Little Egret and 23 Cormorants.

Insect news: A Purple Emperor butterfly was found moribund on the tide line at St Catherine's yesterday. Likely to have been blown over from France, this is only the second record for the Island- the first also having been found dying at Noirmont by G F B de Gruchy in 1940. This follows on from the recent report of another Map butterfly near Rozel Woods.

Picture: This juvenile Kestrel has been giving good views of recent, near Mount Bingham in St Helier. Thanks to Vikki for the nice image.

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 23.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A mostly fine and very warm day, with a small earthquake for good measure, was the order of the day

Bird of the day was a juvenile Purple Heron at St Ouen's Pond which was still present at 5 pm. Also at the Pond were 8 Grey Herons, 5 Pochard and endless Coots.

It was a quiet day on the visible migration front with Noirmont only recording totals of 11 Swifts, 14 Sand Martins, 31 Swallows, a Whimbrel, a White Wagtail and 2 Meadow Pipits. A juvenile Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk and 4 Buzzards were also seen.

At Queen's Valley were 9 Greenshanks, a Grey Heron, a Little Egret and 22 Cormorants.

Picture: A silhouette shot of the Purple Heron, this afternoon.

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 22.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A fine and warm day with the wind in the east

The first grounded autumn migrants of significance at Noirmont this year came in the form of an adult Cuckoo and a Wheatear ( plus a probable Willow Warbler). Visible migration there included 116 Swifts, 62 Sand Martins, 5 House Martins, 3 White Wagtails, 2 Whimbrels, 9 Mediterranean Gulls, 25 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Sandwich Terns and 112 Gannets. 6 Buzzards were flying in the area and a Clouded Yellow butterfly was also seen.

Seen from a fishing boat four miles off Grosnez was a raft of up to 300 Balearic Shearwaters.

In the St Ouen Sandpits were 6 Common Sandpipers and a Little Ringed Plover and at the Pond, a Bearded Tit.

Elsewhere, a pair of Mistle Thrushes were at Rozel Manor, a Green Sandpiper in a pond nearby, and a juvenile Sparrowhawk chased off by an angry Blackbird at Maufant.

Yesterday evening in the Sandpits were 75 Sand Martins, with a juvenile Peregrine chasing them, 5 Pochard, a female Tufted Duck with chick, a Cetti's Warbler, 300 Starlings, 20 Linnets, 3 Dunlin, 2 Redshanks, 11 Common Sandpipers, 4 Whimbrels and a male Marsh Harrier.

Picture: It must be autumn: Wheatear at Noirmont today.

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 21.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Another clear day with a cooler north-west wind today.

Off Grosnez this morning, 212 Balearic Shearwaters and 11 Manx Shearwaters moved east in two hours. There was little else, just 115 Gannets, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 3 Sandwich Terns of note. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was hunting at Les Landes.

In the St Ouen's Bay Sandpits were 11 Common Sandpipers, a Little Grebe, 3 Lapwings, 65 Black-headed Gulls, 17 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 2 White Wagtails and 25 Sand Martins. 2 Shovelers were again on the Scrape, with another 2 juvenile Marsh Harriers in flight there too.

Seen from a kayak near Le Hocq were 10 Redshanks, 10 Turnstones, a Whimbrel and another Common Sandpiper.

Yesterday, in Waterworks Valley was a family party of 6 Bullfinches with 2 Buzzards high overhead. 2 Kingfishers were in the Zoo ( Durrell) today, with one having been present since the 18th.

Picture: Common Sandpiper by Paul Marshall.

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 20.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A cloudier day with a cooler north-west wind, but Jersey again dodged the showers.

More early season migrants at Noirmont included 45 Sand Martins, 47 Swallows, 40 Swifts and 4 White Wagtails. The only waders there were 5 Curlews with 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 11 Black-headed Gulls and a juvenile Marsh Harrier and juvenile Peregrine were also seen. Finches appear to have bred well in the Noirmont area with good numbers of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Linnets in the area.

In St Ouen's Bay this morning, a Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper and a Redshank at the Sandpits, a Green Sandpiper and 2 Shovelers at the Scrape. Yesterday on the Pond were 6 Little Grebes, probably a family group.

Picture: Thanks to Dave Nuth for this image of a Balearic Shearwater sitting off the west coast of the Island a couple of days ago.

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 19.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Thunderstorms surrounded the Island this morning. Little was moving compared to yesterday, possibly because of the storms.

It was quiet at Noirmont, but a Great White Egret did fly west mid-morning, presumably yesterday's individual realising that west is best. Otherwise, 75 Black-headed Gulls, 24 Cormorants in a single flock, a Whimbrel, a Green Sandpiper, 18 Swifts, a House Martin and 11 Swallows were of note with a pod of at least 10 Bottle-nosed Dolphins heading east through St Aubin's Bay at 10:40.

2 Mediterranean Gulls flew past Grosnez but nothing else was moving at sea.

In the St Ouen's Sandpits were singles of Green Sandpiper, Redshank and White Wagtail.

A summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe was off Le Hurel slip in Grouville Bay.

Evening Update: A juvenile Cuckoo was watched feeding on caterpillars near Sorel today, 2 Little Grebes were on St Ouen's Pond and 2 Snipe at the Scrape, this evening.

Picture: A perfect opportunity for a picture of Great White Egret - this one was taken earlier this month in Kruger National Park, South Africa as it leapt from a perch.

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 18.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Another warm, but cloudier day today.

A visible migration watch at Noirmont ( many more to come!) saw a Great Egret fly east towards La Rocque mid-morning. Early migrants there included 226 Swifts, 9 Sand Martins, 37 Swallows, 5 Meadow Pipits, 112 Black-headed Gulls, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 2 Green Sandpipers, 5 Redshanks, 3 Greenshanks and a Grey Plover.

In St Ouen's Bay this morning, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Grey Herons, 4 Little Egrets and a Mediterranean Gull were in the Sandpits and 2 Green Sandpipers were at the Scrape. 3 juvenile Marsh Harriers were flying at Kempt Tower and a juvenile Buzzard at Grantez. 25 Balearic Shearwaters were seen offshore west of Grosnez from a fishing boat.

Evening Update: Up to 1000 Balearic Shearwaters were offshore in Grouville Bay into this evening, with a Dunlin, Sanderling and 8 Greenshanks also seen

Catching up on recent sightings not yet reported here, yesterday at White Rock Rozel, 43 Common Scoters, 12 Balearic Shearwaters, a Guillemot a Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull were seen.

On the 16th, 2 rafts of Balearic Shearwaters near the North-east Minquiers buoy totalled over 500 birds. A visit to Les Ecrehous on the same day found all barring a single young Common Tern gone, and 17 new nests in a different location, the first nests, presumably having failed. Little Egrets had 6 young of varying sizes, but another 7 dead juveniles were also there. Both Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls were flourishing ( unusually for the Herring Gulls there) and also seen were 50 Oystercatchers, 25 Turnstones, 5 Redshanks and 2 Sandwich Terns. A Common Sandpiper was at Rozel Harbour.

Picture: This Mediterranean Gull, one of many passing through the Island at the moment, was colour-ringed in Hungary and pictured here in Grouville Bay this week.

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 17.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A hot and sunny day with temperatures reaching 30c, but thunderstorms looming from the south this evening.

It was far quieter for seabirds off the east coast with the north-east wind seemingly not to their liking. Seawatching from La Coupe produced just 30 Balearic Shearwaters ( a reasonable count in other times). Also seen passing at seas there were 49 Gannets, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, a Guillemot, a Common Sandpiper, a Redshank, and a Whimbrel. Some movement overhead included 30 Swifts, 85 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins and 5 Meadow Pipits.

Waders scattered around rthe south-east included 6 Greenshanks at Queen's Valley and 3 Whimbrels, another Greenshank, 5 Redshanks, 5 Grey Plovers, and 61 Oystercatchers with 25 Sandwich Terns roosting at Le Hocq.

Further wader records from the west of the Island included a Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper at the St Ouen's Sandpits and another Green Sandpiper at the Scrape.

A check on the Grouville Cirl Buntings found the male in full song and a young juvenile in the same tree with a third bird calling from gorse nearby, so they have bred successfully for the third year. The birds seen nearby recently are very likely to have been at a second breeding location.

Picture: Following yesterday's picture - the learning curve may be steep but some are coping! This juvenile Peregrine was pictured while hunting at La Coupe this morning.

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 16.07.2014   .Mick Dryden 

On a near perfect summer's day, most reports are from the sea.

A spectacular count of 801 Balearic Shearwaters was made from Seymour this morning, almost all moving southwards over a four hour period. Also seen were 75 Gannets, 4 Common Scoters, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Common Terns, 26 Sandwich Terns, a Guillemot, 7 Mediterranean Gulls and 160 Black-headed Gulls - both the latters' numbers much down on yesterday. A Swift, 6 Sand Martins, 27 Swallows and 3 White Wagtails also flew by. Waders in Grouville Bay included 74 Oystercatchers, 28 Curlews, a Redshank, 2 Greenshanks and 2 Sanderlings.

Seen from a boat, five miles south of St Helier were the first two Sooty Shearwaters of the year, 13 Common Scoters and 3 Guillemots and form a different boat, off Corbiere, 20 Manx Shearwaters and 7 Balearic Shearwaters.

Waders featuring elsewhere were 8 Greenshanks at Queen's Valley, also 3 Grey Herons and 80 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Redshanks, a Green Sandpiper and 4 Common Sandpipers in the St Ouen's Sandpits. No report of the Little Gull from there today, but a Mediterranean Gull was present. Another Common Sandpiper was on the Scrape.

An adult White Wagtail was at the green waste site at La Collette.

Picture: Steep learning curve: This juvenile Peregrine was found dead at Jersey Airport a few days ago. Given it's pristine condition ( apart from being dead), it looks likely to have been the victim of wake turbulence from an aircraft. Durrell have the corpse and are still investigating. Many thanks to Jersey Airport for both the information and the picture.

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