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 24.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

Hill fog welcomed in the day, turning to moderate rain for most of the morning with winds from the south-east.

A surprising number of birds were giving it a go at Noirmont, especially thrushes. Counts there included 22 Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush, 110 Redwings, 74 Song Thrushes and 37 Blackbirds. Also seen passing at Noirmont were 2 Swallows, a Reed Bunting, 2 Skylarks, 133 Starlings, 13 Pied Wagtails, a Rock Pipit, 77 Meadow Pipits, 8 Siskins, 170 Chaffinches, 2 Bramblings, 31 Goldfinches and just 23 Linnets. 18 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 2 Common Gulls also passed. On the ground were at least 40 Robins, 20+ Goldcrests, a Firecrest, 7 Dartford Warblers, a Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaffs.

400 Starlings and 560 Brent Geese plus 10 alba Wagtails were in Grouville Bay.

Seen from Eddie's Hide at St Ouen's Pond were 15 Teal, 5 Lapwings, a Grey Heron, a Water Rail, 2 Water Pipits, 3 Skylarks, 3 Song Thrushes, a Stonechat, 5 Chiffchaffs and 8 Reed Buntings. At the Wetland Centre were 2 Water Rails, a Reed Bunting and a Bearded Tit. A Greenland Wheatear and 46 Ringed Plovers were near the Cutty Sark/ Kempt Tower in St Ouen's Bay

Evening update: At In Vallee des Vaux today was a Ring Ouzel, several Blackbirds, 10 Song Thrushes, 5 Redwings and a Woodcock.

4 Reed Buntings and 2 Marsh Harriers were at Grouville Marsh, while at Les Landes were 2 Golden Plovers, a Peregrine, 17 Goldfinches and 100+ Meadow Pipits. 7 Swallows were at Le Sente in Grouville Bay.

Picture: Thanks to Romano for this stunning image of the Water Rail on a windy St Catherine's Breakwater yesterday.

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 23.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

The day started fine but rain appeared from the South by lunchtime, with an Easterly wind increasing to F6.

Lots of birds were on the move despite, or some because of the wind.

Seabirds passing La Coupe included the first Red-throated Diver of the season, 220 Razorbills, 2 Guillemots, 16 unidentified auks, 9 Teal, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Common Gulls and overhead, 55 Redwings.

Prize for odd locality of the day goes to a Water Rail on St Catherine's Breakwater, also 3 Mediterranean Gulls were seen. At Queen's Valley were 10 Greenshanks, the male Wigeon, 6 Teal, a Kingfisher and 20 Siskins.

Two hours of visible migration watching at Victoria Tower produced 544 Redwings, 34 Fieldfares, 52 Song Thrushes, 315 Starlings, 574 Chaffinches, 27 Skylarks, a Brambling and 3 high-flying Blue Tits. At La Sente were 15 Grey Herons and at Le Hurel, a juvenile Merlin.

Counts at Noirmont in increasingly difficult conditions ( for the observer) included 8 Greylag Geese, 2 Brent Geese, 6 Golden Plovers, 9 Swallows, 2 Woodlarks, 49 Skylarks, 507 Starlings, 582 Linnets, 793 Chaffinches, a Brambling, 6 Siskins, 3 Reed Buntings, a Grey Wagtail, 25 Pied Wagtails, 7 Redwings ( compare with Victoria Tower), 3 Fieldfares, 22 Song Thrushes and 61 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

A good garden tick in Vallee des vaux was a Ring Ouzel with 6 Siskins, 7 Redwings and 2 Firecrests also seen. At Val de la Mare were 22 Tufted Duck, 43 Coot, 32 Cormorants, a possible Yellow-browed Warbler, 10 Firecrests, 20 Goldcrests and 25 Skylarks in a field close by.

At St Ouen's Pond were 46 Shovelers, 2 Little Grebes, 2 Grey Herons, 10+ Teal, 20 Snipe, 10 Bearded Tits and 2 Stonechats and in the Sandpits, 8 Grey Herons, 7 Little Egrets, 29 Pochard, 30 Tufted Duck, 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 4 alba Wagtails and 2 Stonechats.

A few more from yesterday included 27 pale-bellied Brent Geese at St Aubin, 4 of them juveniles, along with 100+ dark-bellied Brent Geese with 5 juveniles included.

Picture: Christmas is coming! Thanks to Alex Vautier for this image of a partial albino House Sparrow in St Mary.

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 22.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A fine day with an Easterly wind and good visible migration

Among the many good birds to report at Noirmont were 240 Swallows, 6 House Martins, a Lapland Bunting, a Ring Ouzel, a Mistle Thrush, 34 Fieldfares, 85 Redwings, 52 Song Thrushes, 134 Skylarks, 467 Starlings, an arriving Black Redstart, 1150 Linnets, 43 Siskins, 840 Chaffinches, 142 Goldfinches, 28 Greenfinches, 6 Reed Buntings, 54 Pied Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 132 Meadow Pipits, 12 Stock Doves, 31 Woodpigeons, 6 Great Tits, 4 Blue Tits and a Common Gull. 4 Stonechats, 6+ Blackbirds and several Chiffchaffs were on the ground. Raptors seen from the bunker at Noirmont included 8+ Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrels.

In Grouville Bay were 560 Brent geese, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Swallows.

100 Redwings were flying over St Mary this morning and 4 Skylarks were over Les Landes.

22 Snipe, 2 Water Rails, 2 Grey Herons and a Stonechat were at St Ouen's Pond and 200 Oystercatchers, 25 Turnstones, 60 Curlews and 2 Little Egrets were at Petit Port.

At the private ringing site in St John were 7 Fieldfares, 50 Redwings, 2 Firecrests, 5 Chiffchaffs, 20 Goldcrests, 2 Grey Wagtails, a Snipe, 40 Siskins, 6 Bullfinches plus 7 Skylarks flying over.

This evening, a Long-eared Owl was sitting on a washing line in a garden at Gorselands.

Yesterday evening, at St Ouen's Pond were 15 Reed Buntings, 2 Bearded Tits, a Fieldfare, 37 Shovelers, 5 Snipe, 10 Water Rails and 6 Grey Herons.

Picture: A Buzzard receiving the usual welcome at Noirmont this morning.

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 21.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A pleasant and clear October day with a light North-east wind.

There was another decent showing of birds at Noirmont this morning. Among those passing were 63 Swallows, 6 Fieldfares, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 11 Redwings, 32 Song Thrushes, 43 Skylarks, 150 Starlings, 8 Reed Buntings, 476 Linnets, 5 Siskins, a Redpoll, 186 Chaffinches, 16 Greenfinches, 107 Goldfinches, a Brambling, 42 Woodpigeons and a migrant Kestrel. On the ground at Noirmont were 15+ Blackbirds, 10+ Stonechats, 2 Greenland Wheatears, 10+ Blue Tits, a Blackcap and several Chiffchaffs.

4 Skylarks were at Les Creux and another 5 Skylarks plus a Stonechat at Gorselands. Seen from the Wetland Centre at St Ouen's Pond were 48 Shovelers, 2 Little Grebes and 16 Snipe.

Morning seawatching at La Coupe produced 2 Common Scoters, a Common Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 46 Razorbills, 2 Guillemots and 56 other auks.

In Grouville Bay were 580 Brent Geese, 2 Sandwich Terns and 2 Swallows feeding at the fauvic end. At Queen's Valley were 2 Teal, a Grey Heron, a Grey Wagtail and a Jay.

A report from Les Ecrehous with, on the 18th, 5 Brent Geese off the Gorey Bank and a Guillemot,plus a Grey Plover, 7+ Ringed Plovers,a Grey Heron, and 2 Song Thrushes ( one of them dead) on the 19th, a Stonechat and a Wren and yesterday, a 3 Razorbills on the return to Jersey.

Picture: Yesterday's drake Wigeon at Queen's Valley with thanks to Romano.

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 20.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A cloudy day with a light northerly wind.

There was a nice selection of species to be seen at, or flying over at Noirmont this morning. A juvenile Hen Harrier flew in from St Aubin's Bay and headed into the Island and 2 Merlins went south. Pick of several good sightings has to be a male Cirl Bunting which flew over calling before returning to land briefly to the east of the bunker, before heading off east over St Aubin's Bay. Also passing were 26 Swallows, 4 Ring Ouzels, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 55 Redwings, 11 Fieldfares, 13 Skylarks, 43 Pied Wagtails, 87 Starlings, 440 Linnets, 64 Siskins, a Brambling, 330 Chaffinches, 104 Goldfinches, 2 Grey Wagtails, 143 Meadow Pipits, a Reed Bunting and 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. On the ground were 6+ Stonechats, 10+ Blackbirds, 4 Blue Tits, a Firecrest and 2 Chiffchaffs.

At Queen's Valley today were 4 Greenshanks, a pair of Wigeon, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, a Grey Heron and 3 Teal at the top end, where 22 Siskins were also seen.

A Greenland Wheatear was at Pontac, present for the last 3 days and also at Pontac were 12 Dunlin, 4 Curlews and 2 Sandwich Terns.

Some late extras were 70 Grey Plovers at Le Bourg on the 18th and 5 Wheatears, a male Stonechat plus a male Cirl Bunting at Grouville Common on the 17th.

Picture: This morning's juvenile Hen Harrier arriving at Noirmont in dull conditions.

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 19.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A cloudy day with the wind having shifted to the North-West, inviting a much wider range of species on the move past Noirmont.

Stand-out birds passing Noirmont this morning were 3 Ring Ouzels, a Richard's Pipit and a Lapland Bunting. Among the rest of the birds were 6 Swallows, 10 Skylarks, 11 Reed Buntings, a Brambling, 102 Pied Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 162 Meadow Pipits, 478 Linnets, 233 Chaffinches, 5 Siskins, 121 Goldfinches, 24 Greenfinches, a Mistle Thrush, 2 Redwings, 34 Song Thrushes, 12 Woodpigeons, a Snipe, 7 Black-headed Gulls and 21 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. On the ground was a Yellow-browed Warbler by the fence in the wooded area, 2 Firecrests, 15 Goldcrests, 10+ Blackbirds, 10 Stonechats and 15+ Chiffchaffs. Raptors seen included 3 Marsh Harriers, a Sparrowhawk and 3 Kestrels.

150+ Brent Geese were at West Park and 7 Greenshanks plus 2 Grey Herons at Queen's Valley.

At the St John ringing site were 12 Redwings, 8 Song Thrushes, 10 Goldcrests, 4 Grey Wagtails and 3 Bullfinches.

In Grouville Bay were a further 340 Brent Geese, 9 alba Wagtails, 3 Rock Pipits and a Wheatear and at Plemont were 3 Stonechats.

Picture: A local Kestrel hunting at Noirmont today

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 18.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

There were short periods of heavy rain as a cold front crossed the Island this morning, then an improving day with a brisk westerly wind.

Common migrants were keen to be somewhere else and were passing Noirmont in good numbers. These included 550 Meadow Pipits, 104 Pied Wagtails, 4 Skylarks, 108 Starlings, 451 Linnets, 453 Chaffinches, 2 Siskins, 79 Goldfinches, a Reed Bunting, 5 Song Thrushes and 2 Grey Herons, but no Swallows for the first time this Autumn - there should be more to pass yet, with the last date usually in early November. 3 Stonechats and 6+ Blackbirds were on the ground there.

Around St Ouen's Pond, 43 Shovelers, a Little Grebe, 18 Snipe, a Water Rail, a Bearded Tit and 10 Meadow Pipits were seen from the Wetland Centre, 7 Lapwings and a Golden Plover were at the Scrape and 18 Pochards plus 3 Little Grebes were in the Sandpits.

At Les Landes were 11 Stonechats, a Greenland Wheatear and 25 Meadow Pipits.

One report missed for yesterday was from Queen's Valley where 14 Greenshanks roosted. This seems to be our local wintering population now, much reduced on just a few years ago.

Picture: Wheatears are also getting thin on the ground as October rolls on. Thanks to Romano for this picture of a Greenland ssp bird, at Kempt Tower.

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 17.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A better day than yesterday with a little less wind and a mild south-west wind.

Seen from the Wetland Centre at St Ouen's Pond were 23 Snipe, 22 Shovelers, 5 Teal, a Little Grebe and 2 Bearded Tits and from Eddie's Hide at the Scrape, a Golden Plover, 7 Lapwings, a Redshank, 2 Stonechats and a Sparrowhawk. A Greenland Wheatear and 20 Meadow Pipits were at Kempt Tower.

Common migrants on the move at Noirmont this morning included 3 Swallows, 878 Linnets, a Siskin, 253 Chaffinches, 82 Goldfinches, 30 Greenfinches, 2 Skylarks, 34 Pied Wagtails, 162 Meadow Pipits, 11 Starlings, 13 Song Thrushes, a Grey Wagtail and 3 House Sparrows which obligingly landed to allow positive identification before heading off again. Raptors included 9 Buzzards, a male Marsh Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine and 3 Kestrels and Red Admiral butterflies are still common with 17 flying by today.

A female Merlin flew west across Gorselands late this afternoon. At Sorel were 2 Stonechats, a Reed Bunting, a Dartford Warbler, a Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine.

Some extras for yesterday, in the Sandpits, included 9 Mediterranean Gulls, 15 Pochard and 4 Little Grebes. 2 Peregrines were still present on St Thomas' Church in St Helier.

Picture: A 12 metre ( 39.4 feet ) tide today with a full moon, seen here from Noirmont before sunrise.

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 16.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

Overnight rain gave way to a bright day with occasional heavy showers, but with a strong and gusty southerly wind which deterred most migrants.

Two raptors were the picks of the day with a Red Kite seen drifting over St Martin, near Haie Fleurie around 10 am being mobbed by a Kestrel and a beautiful male Hen Harrier which flew west in bright sunlight over Red Houses, mid-afternoon.

Odds and ends in a choppy Grouville Bay on the morning high tide included a Black-necked Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Sandwich Terns, a Common Gull, 500 Black-headed Gulls and a Swallow. Another Common Gull and a Mediterranean Gull passed La Coupe.

Only a few hardy souls passed Noirmont and these included 4 Grey Herons, 3 Swallows, 2 Skylarks, 42 Linnets, 2 Pied Wagtails, 55 Meadow Pipits, a Song Thrush and 31 Starlings.

20 Swallows were in the shelter of Grands Vaux and a Firecrest plus 3 Redwings were in Vallee des Vaux. A Wheatear and 120 Brent Geese were at Archirondel.

Picture: Jays are very prominent at the moment, out collecting their acorns for hard times. This one was at Pont Marquet this morning.

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 15.10.2016   .Mick Dryden 

A change in the weather today, with rain overnight and again this afternoon, and winds from the south to south-west.

Grouville Marsh this morning held 3 Water Rails, 2 Teal, a Snipe, 3 Marsh Harriers, 5 Buzzards, a Firecrest, 6 Siskins, a Reed Bunting, 10 Cetti's Warblers, 25 Chiffchaffs, 15 Blackcaps, 12 Linnets and a Sparrowhawk with 2 Skylarks flying over.

There was far less visible migration over Noirmont with counts of just 15 Swallows, 3 Skylarks, 51 Song Thrushes, a Reed Bunting, 17 Pied Wagtails, 145 Meadow Pipits, 388 Linnets, 316 Chaffinches, 2 Siskins, 22 Goldfinches, 28 Greenfinches, 29 Starlings, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 21 Black-headed Gulls. Raptors included a Marsh Harrier, a Sparrowhawk and 5 Buzzards, one of which was the very pale individual.

That pale Buzzard was also seen at Ouaisne along with 4 Swallows and 2 Buzzards. 9 Ravens were flying together at Gorselands, where 2 juvenile Long-eared Owls are still in situ.

Evening update: In Grouville Bay this evening were 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 600 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Common Gulls, 20 Swallows and 20 Grey Herons near Le Sente and a Firecrest at Le Hurel.
On St Ouen's Pond were 37 Shovelers, 25 Pochard, 8 Teal and11 Little Grebes.

Picture: This Common Sandpiper was at Anneport today. Thanks to Alan for the image.

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