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 31.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A glorious day saw out October, with the temperature touching 20c and a warm south-easterly wind to boot.

A Cattle Egret at Grouville Marsh was a good new find. Also seen there was a Blackbird in song, a Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Cetti's Warblers, a Swallow and a Woodcock, in case anyone thought it was Spring. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in Vallee des Vaux too.

Seawatching at La Coupe produced a Black-throated Diver, 26 Brent Geese, 53 Razorbills, with 9 unidentified auks, 17 Black-headed Gulls, 23 Little Gulls, 4 Common Gulls, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Merlin. At La Rocque Harbour late morning were 7 Grey Herons, 8 Curlews, 105 Oystercatchers, and 10 Dunlin.

Visible migration at Noirmont saw 5 Swallows, 140 Redwings, 28 Song Thrushes, 7 Blackbirds, 81 Skylarks, 964 Chaffinches, 9 Siskins, 137 Linnets, 3 Bramblings, 73 Goldfinches, 22 Greenfinches, 18 Pied Wagtails, 104 Meadow Pipits, 304 Starlings, 11 unidentified ducks, 3 Snipe, 2 Little Egrets, 24 Stock Doves and 74 Woodpigeons. 3 Stonechats and 30 Robins were on the ground there, a Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 2 Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers and 7 Ravens were in the air.

Picture: Bramblings are very thin on the ground ( and in the air) this autumn, just 3 seen today at Noirmont - so just in case you don't see any, here's one I took earlier.

Onwards to November.......

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 30.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

The weather returned to fine and warm today with a south-east wind.

Migration at Noirmont was in the gentle category, stopping by late morning. A Wheatear was a new arrival there, also 3 Stonechats and lots of Robins were on the ground. Overhead, counts included 20 Skylarks, 5 Reed Buntings, 465 Chaffinches, 158 Goldfinches, 25 Siskins, 60 Greenfinches, 50 Linnets, 180 Woodpigeons, 13 Stock Doves, 215 Starlings, 11 Pied Wagtails, 76 Meadow Pipits, 14 Blackbirds, 9 Song Thrushes, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Snipe which dropped into the large field. 2 Ravens, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels and a Buzzard were among the locals there. 2 Peregrines were seen chasing each other over Red Houses this afternoon.

At Petit Port were 7 Purple Sandpipers, 55 Turnstones, 52 Curlews, 8 Grey Plovers and 169 Oystercatchers. A Merlin was seen at Les Landes and another, or the same, at St Ouen's Pond later.

Today's seawatching totals at La Coupe included a Balearic Shearwater, 16 Common Scoters, 113 Razorbills, 4 Guillemots, 12 Razorbill / Guillemots, 2 Common Gulls, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 21 Black-headed Gulls.

The ringing site near Handois had 2 Long-eared Owls, 20 Redwings and 5 Firecrests and the conservation fields at Crabbe, 150 Chaffinches, 60 Linnets, 25 Greenfinches and a Marsh Harrier. 2 Black Redstarts were at Belle Vallette which is opposite St Saviour's Hospital.

The 2 Wheatears were again at Fauvic and 24 Coot plus a Grey Heron at Grouville Marsh.

Insect news: A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was by the Powerhouse on Queen's Road today, also a Grey Wagtail there.

Picture: A male Stonechat at Noirmont.

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 29.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Slow moving fronts to the north of the Islands gave a cloudy day and reduced visible migration significantly today

The counts at Noirmont included a single Swallow, 624 Chaffinches, 5 Siskins, 108 Linnets, 78 Goldfinches, 6 Skylarks, 175 Starlings ( with another 150 feeding there), 24 Pied Wagtails, 140 Meadow Pipits, 15 Redwings, 50 Song Thrushes, 21 Blackbirds, a Snipe, 3 Stock Doves and 282 Woodpigeons.

Seabirds seen off La Coupe included the first Red-throated Diver of the Autumn, a Great Crested Grebe, 49 Razorbills, 2 Guillemots, 6 Little Gulls and 4 Mediterranean Gulls.

In Grouville Bay, 2 Wheatears were at Fauvic, a male Cirl Bunting was in song at the usual location, waders in the Bay included 8 Bar-tailed Godwits, 60 Grey Plovers, 20 Redshanks, 11 Greenshanks, 60+ Dunlin, 150 Sanderlings, 100 Turnstones, 3 Sandwich Terns, a Mediterranean Gull and 3 Great Crested Grebes. 166 Curlews were at Le Hocq.

In St Aubin's Bay 360 Brent Geese included 20 pale-bellied Brent Geese, at the Gunsite.

At St Ouen's Pond this evening were 19 Teal, 6 Shovelers, 21 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebes, a Kingfisher, 11 Marsh Harriers, a Buzzard, 3 Water Rails, a Stonechat, 5 Reed Buntings and 2 Swallows into roost. A Bittern was seen at the Pond yesterday.

Back to yesterday, when a Kingfisher was at the St Helier Marina, 2 Snipe and 10 Reed Buntings were at St Ouen's Pond and 32 Ringed Plovers were at Le Hocq along with 150 Sanderlings and 85 Turnstones.

Picture: This partial albino Pied Wagtail was trapped during a ringing session at the St Heiler Marina. 300 Pied Wagtails were present. Thanks to Dave for the picture.

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 28.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Another fine late autumn day and another bumper crop of migrants at Noirmont.

Among the many, the pick was a Short-eared Owl flying high to the north. Thrushes were to the fore early on with counts of 1686 Redwings, 112 Song Thrushes, a Ring Ouzel, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 4 Fieldfares and 33 Blackbirds. There were also 187 Skylarks, 2046 Chaffinches, 53 Siskins, 103 Linnets, 120 Goldfinches, 49 Greenfinches, 2 Bramblings and a Lesser Redpoll seen. Just 3 Swallows passed, a sign of the times. Others seen included a Tree Sparrow, 10 Reed Buntings, 597 Starlings, 60 Pied Wagtails, 104 Meadow Pipits, 2 Stock Doves, 76 Woodpigeons, 2 Merlins, 2 Peregrines and 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

16 Choughs did a circular tour of the western parishes, stopping for a while at Beauport before returning to the north coast - six of these being seen in St Ouen's Bay en-route.

At St Ouen's Pond, Lapwings had risen to 24, also 4 Teal, 5 Reed Buntings, 4 Little Egrets, 5 Goldfinches, 8 Linnets, 3 Snipe, a Buzzard and 400+ Starlings were there. 2 Peregrines and a Buzzard were at Grantez.

On the east of the Island, seawtaching at La Coupe produced 17 Brent Geese, a Great Northern Diver, a Black-throated Diver, 25 Razorbills, 12 Little Gulls, 3 Common Gulls, 3 Mediterranean Gulls and 2 Kittiwakes, with a Merlin seen above La Coupe, also 200+ Redwings plus a stream of Chaffinches flying over.

In Grouville Bay were 2 Wheatears, 630 Brent Geese, 100 Sanderlings, 5 Dunlin, 70 Turnstones, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Grey Plover, 3 Sandwich Terns and 3 Little Egrets.

Picture: Another day, another Reed Bunting - this one pictured at St Ouen's Pond, courtesy of Romano.

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 27.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A beautiful, fine day, warm if out of the south-easterly wind too.

A good crop of migrants presented themselves at Noirmont this morning. Counts there included 33 Swallows, 530 Redwings, 27 Song Thrushes, 16 Blackbirds, 205 Skylarks, 2 Woodlarks, 502 Starlings, 1530 Chaffinches, 32 Siskins, 102 Linnets, 118 Goldfinches, 18 Greenfinches, 16 Pied Wagtails, 111 Meadow Pipits, 2 Snipe, 31 Woodpigeons, 45 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 8 Black-headed Gulls. An interesting side visit was by 9 Red-billed Choughs, seen first at Devil's Hole, before heading south to the Desalination Plant at Corbiere then east to Beauport, back over the Airport ( seen from Noirmont) and via Devil's Hole to Sorel, this a first for the Noirmont bunker visible migration watchers. 6 Stonechats were on the ground at Noirmont.

Nothing was moving at sea, past La Coupe, but there was a stream of Redwings and Skylarks coming in from the French coast. In Grouville Bay were 590 Brent Geese and 2 Wheatears.

At Sorel was a Black Redstart, also 7 Skylarks. 200 Linnets and 2 Stonechats were at Crabbe.

500 Starlings, 5 Wigeon and a Stonechat were at St Ouen's Pond.

Picture: A Reed Bunting, seen at Eddie's Hide today, and ably photographed by Roy Filleul.

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 26.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

It was a mainly cloudy day, but good for visible migration in light south-west winds.

Seen this morning at Noirmont were 93 Skylarks, 798 Starlings, 5 Reed Buntings, 66 Siskins, 852 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 76 Goldfinches, 64 Linnets, 24 Greenfinches, a Grey Wagtail, 117 Meadow Pipits, 37 Pied Wagtails, 18 Swallows, 10 House Martins, 6 Redwings, 20 Song Thrushes, a Firecrest, 8 Stonechats, 18 Brent Geese, 47 Black-headed Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull. Raptors included a female Marsh Harrier, 8 Buzzards to the north, 2 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels.

Seawatching at La Coupe saw 3 Great Northern Divers, another diver sp, a Balearic Shearwater, a Razorbills, 3 auk sp, 2 Common Gulls, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 87 Black-headed Gulls and 4 Sandwich Terns, but no migrating Brent Geese.

Back to yesterday, when Redwings and Song Thrushes were in flight over the Island last night. Earlier, in Vallee des Vaux were 12 Siskins while at the ringing site near Handois, were 70 Siskins, 2 Skylarks, 5 Song Thrushes, a Reed Bunting, a Marsh Harrier and 2 Water Rails.

At Seymour, in Grouville Bay, were 20 Dunlin, 7 Redshanks, 7 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Stonechats.

Evening update: A Wheatear was on the seawall at Fauvic today, At Crabbe were 4 Skylarks, a Stonechat, 7 Redwings and overflying Chaffinches and Goldfinches. A Merlin was seen perched opposite the Watersplash in St Ouen's Bay. In Vallee des Vaux were another 42 Siskins, 2 Redwings and a Firecrest, while at the ringing site in St John were 25 Redwings, 35 Siskins, 2 Water Rails, a Firecrest, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Bullfinches, 10 Song Thrushes and 2 Jackdaws.

Picture: Siskins are appearing in good numbers now. This image was taken in 2011, when it was trapped and ringed by Dave Buxton

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 25.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A far better day than yesterday, with a light westerly wind.

A Rose-coloured Starling was seen with a flock of Starlings, at the top of the lane down to La Coupe, this morning.

A good selection of species seen at, or passing, Noirmont included 2 Merlins, 39 Swallows, 6 House Martins, 47 Siskins, 3 Bramblings, 736 Chaffinches, 41 Greenfinches, 221 Goldfinches, 155 Linnets, 16 Skylarks, 37 Pied Wagtails, 227 Meadow Pipits, 13 Song Thrushes, 6 Stonechats, 142 Starlings and a Black Redstart. Plenty of raptors were in the air as well as the Merlins, with a migrant Peregrine, 3 Kestrels, 3 Sparrowhawks, 6 Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers seen. Passing gulls included a Common Gull, a Mediterranean Gull, 26 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

A Short-eared Owl was at Les Landes this morning, 2 Kingfishers at the Scrape and 3 Swallows at La Pulente. A short count at Gorselands saw 127 Starlings and 43 Chaffinches passing.

Seawatching at La Coupe produced 39 Brent Geese, 2 Great Northern Divers, a Black-throated Diver, 3 Wigeon, 7 Razorbills, 3 Razorbills / Guillemots, 9 Mediterranean Gulls, a Common Gull, 3 Sandwich Terns and a Merlin. In Grouville Bay were 600+ Brent Geese, 760+ Black-headed Gulls, 160 Sanderlings, 10 Turnstones, a Dunlin and a Great Crested Grebe.

A ringing trip to Les Ecrehous found 2 Dunnocks, a Wren, a late Willow Warbler, a Chaffinch and 2 alba Wagtails.

Picture: A Great Crested Grebe at La Rocque, pictured by Trevor Biddle.

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 24.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A miserable day of rain and south-west winds, with reports thin on the ground- at least better is promised for tomorrow.

A soggy seawatch at La Coupe produced just a little, with 154 Brent Geese, 4 Guillemots, 12 Razorbills, 3 Sandwich Terns, a Common Gull, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 12 Black-headed Gulls, a Curlew, a Kingfisher, 5 Swallows, and 3 Ravens seen, with 2 Song Thrushes, 3+ Firecrests and 2 Chiffchaffs in the bushes there.

A Wheatear was at Noirmont, with another in Grouville Bay at the golf course, where 6 Pied Wagtails, 3 alba Wagtails, 10 Rock Pipits and flock of 250 Starlings were seen. Waders in the Bay included 30 Turnstones, 10 Sanderlings, a Greenshank, 4 Curlews, with 610 Brent Geese and 11 Great Crested Grebes also there. 17 Greenshanks were at Queen's Valley, where a Mandarin, 4 Little Egrets and a roost of 500, mainly Herring Gulls were also present.

A diver, probably a Great Northern Diver, was in St Aubin's Bay.

Picture: A second, rather undignified, image of the colour-ringed Ringed Plover caught at L'Etacq, to show the rest of it's fine array of rings.

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 23.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A grey and overcast day, feeling cooler than of recent.

Little was moving at Noirmont today, the best of the counts being 2 Pochard ( the first sighting of this species from the visible migration bunker), a Sandwich Tern, 3 Snipe, 4 Swallows, a House Martin, 223 Meadow Pipits, 24 Pied Wagtails, 48 Linnets, a Siskin, 15 Goldfinches, 68 Chaffinches, 5 Song Thrushes and 150 Woodpigeons. 6 Stonechats were on the ground there.

At Fauvic, in Grouville Bay were a further 5 Swallows, 2 Wheatears, 3 Pied Wagtails, 2 alba Wagtails, 490 Brent Geese and 10 Turnstones. At Queen's Valley, just 4 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons and 18 Cormorants were see.

Picture: This Ringed Plover, trapped at L'Etacq yesterday, was wearing colour-rings from Stavanger, Norway. Thanks to Dave for the information and images.

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 22.10.2014   .Mick Dryden 

The winds from yesterday's blow had reduced to a more moderate level by this morning and provided a decent morning of visible migration at Noirmont with a good range of species.

See at Noirmont this morning were 8 Ring Ouzels, including a very showy group of three juveniles, 3 Fieldfares, a Redwing, 13 Song Thrushes, 10 Blackbirds, a Black Redstart, a Wheatear ( not our tame friend), 8 Stonechats, 55 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 30 Skylarks, 14 Reed Buntings, 124 Woodpigeons, 15 Stock Doves, 122 Pied Wagtails, 290 Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, 6 Siskins, 314 Chaffinches, 243 Linnets, 215 Goldfinches, 21 Starlings, a Blackcap, 85 Black-headed Gulls and 49 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

At Grosnez, later this morning, 9 Gannets, 62 Black-headed Gulls, 8 Mediterranean Gulls passed, with 2 Stonechats also seen.

Brent Geese in Grouville Bay totalled 480 with 3 Wheatears and 10 Swallows flying through.

An interesting selection of birds at conservation fields at Crabbe included a late Whinchat, 5 Stonechats, 7 Skylarks, 30 Greenfinches, 50 Linnets, 15 Chaffinches and a Marsh Harrier. In St Helier Harbour was a Kingfisher and a roost 0f 350 Pied Wagtails plus a single White Wagtail.

Picture: This Black-necked Grebe was nicely pictured by Trevor Biddle at La Rocque on monday.

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