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 22.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

A cold front overnight brought drizzle in overcast conditions and a strong Northeast wind, with fine weather returning by late morning.

Visible migrants were still moving, albeit in reduced numbers, through the morning.

A Yellow-browed Warbler was on the ground at Victoria Tower along with 40 Goldcrests and 40 Linnets. Pick of the visible migrants there was a skein of 31 White-fronted Geese which crossed the Island West to East, departing over St Catherine's Breakwater around 9 am. Other counts at Victoria Tower included 634 Redwings, 32 Fieldfares, 45 Song Thrushes, 1726 Chaffinches, 173 Linnets, 78 Goldfinches, 3 Bramblings, a Bullfinch, 3 Siskins, a Skylark, and 77 Starlings.

Noirmont's counts were also down on recent days but included a Merlin, 10 Fieldfares, 10 Redwings, 17 Song Thrushes, 4 Skylarks, 121 Starlings, 789 Linnets, 141 Chaffinches, 48 Siskins, 72 Goldfinches, 44 alba Wagtails, 132 Meadow Pipits, a migrant Kestrel, 81 Woodpigeons, 4 Stock Doves, 46 Black-headed Gulls and 38 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Little was on the ground, but a Wheatear arrived mid-morning and single Stonechat and Firecrest were seen.

At St Ouen's Pond were 38 Shovelers, a Wigeon and 3 Teal and at Plemont, a Raven. This evening at the Pond was a roost of 12 Marsh Harriers, 40 Reed Buntings, 7 Lapwings. a Wheatear and 2 Stonechats.

One for the archive: In what was a better than average year records of the species on the Island, a late report ( with picture) of a Wryneck which visited a garden in Don Farm St brelade for five days in late September was a bonus today.

Picture: A first winter Mediterranean Gull at St Ouen's Pond last week.

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 21.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

As nice a late Autumn day as can be imagined, with blue skies and light Easterly winds, touching 18c

Such conditions are often not the best for migration, but although less birds were moving there was still a decent showing.

At Noirmont, raptors featured well with a juvenile Hen Harrier the pick, a species so rarely seen these days due to the illegal killing of the British population in the interests of the game bird shooting fraternity. Also, a Merlin 2 Peregrines, 2 Sparrowhawks, 7 Buzzards and 2 Kestrels were seen. Among the visible migrants were 2 Swallows, a House Martin, 64 Skylarks, 16 Song Thrushes, 2 Redwings, 59 alba Wagtails, 805 Linnets, 793 Chaffinches, 229 Goldfinches, 4 Siskins, 3 Bramblings, 35 Greenfinches, 16 Reed Buntings, 1016 Starlings, 19 Stock Doves and 182 Woodpigeons. On the ground were a few Goldcrests, Firecrests, Robins and 2 Stonechats.

Victoria Tower weighed in with 1196 Starlings, 762 Chaffinches, 295 Woodpigeons, 21 Fieldfares, 29 Redwings, 27 Song Thrushes, 18 Skylarks, 2 Bullfinches, 62 Goldfinches, a Brambling, 3 Grey Wagtails, a Firecrest and a Black Redstart.

Early this morning, a Short-eared Owl was at Gorselands, presumably the one seen yesterday at Corbiere.

The Scrape at St Ouen's Pond held 5 Lapwings, a late Green Sandpiper, a Snipe, 3 Grey Herons, 100 Starlings and 2 Wheatears while nearby, at Kempt Tower was a Stonechat and at the Cutty Sark, 2 Wheatears.

Les Landes held 2 Lapwings, a Golden Plover, a Wheatear and several Skylarks while at Plemont were 50+ Meadow Pipits and a Stonechat.

At Grouville Marsh from first light were a Barn Owl, a Long-eared Owl, a Woodcock, 20 Chiffchaffs, 10 Blackcaps, 15 Cetti's Warblers, 12 Siskins, 6 Bullfinches, a Reed Bunting, 2 Stonechats, 2 Firecrests, an increase in Wrens with 10 new birds ringed, and a possible Little Bunting. Flying over there were 2 Swallows, a House Martin, 2 Skylarks, 10 Song Thrushes, 2 Redwings, 40 Woodpigeons and 15 Stock Doves.

On the North coast, a Woodcock was at Le Saie and 35 Skylarks were in a field near La Coupe where a Swallow flew over. At Egypt were 2 Firecrests, 2 Stonechats and 2 Ravens.

In Vallee des Vaux were 8 Siskins and 2 Firecrests.

Yesterday, 380 Brent Geese were in Grouville Bay.

Picture: A Chiffchaff on Les Minquiers earlier in the month.

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 20.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

A cloudy start to a mainly fine day with a light Easterly wind.

Visible migrants were seen all around the Island today, although overall numbers were down on recent days. Seen at Noirmont were 2 Tree Sparrows, 5 Swallows, 86 Skylarks, a Bullfinch, 1443 Linnets, 436 Chaffinches, 215 Goldfinches, 22 Siskins, 2 Bramblings, 6 Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush, 31 Song Thrushes, 9 Redwings, 14 Reed Buntings, 116 Starlings, 246 Woodpigeons, 19 Stock Doves, 5 Grey Wagtails, 48 alba Wagtails, a Snipe and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. 4 Ravens including our friendly one, 4 Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Kestrels were also seen. 3 Stonechats and several Chiffchaffs were on the ground but most of yesterday's birds had departed.

An early morning watch at Victoria Tower saw 316 Redwings, 101 Song Thrushes, 10 Blackbirds, 269 Starlings, 539 Chaffinches, 87 Linnets, 8 Siskins, a Redpoll, a Brambling, 71 Goldfinches, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Ravens.

A Short-eared Owl was at Corbiere early on and a Ring Ouzel plus 4 Wheatears were at Gorselands. Another Wheatear was at St Ouen's Pond Scrape. A Black Redstart was at Vermont Farm in St Brelade.

On the North coast, a Snipe, a Golden Plover and 7 Skylarks were at Les Landes, and 15 Song Thrushes, 11 Skylarks and 6 Stonechats were at Sorel.

In Vallee des Vaux were 6 Siskins, 2 Skylarks, a Bullfinch, 8 Redwings and 45 Song Thrushes.

4 new Cetti's Warblers were ringed at Grouville Marsh today with 40 Chiffchaffs.one of them an abietinus ssp, a Reed Bunting, 25 Siskins, 5 Blackcaps, a Firecrest, 2 Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers also there. In conservation fields near Queen's Valley were 250 Linnets, 20 Chaffinches and a Reed Bunting.

3 Wrens, a Stonechat, 2 Blackbirds, a Robin, 7 Song Thrushes, 8 Linnets, and 2 Chiffchaffs were seen on Les Ecrehous.

In St Aubin's Bay, 301 Brent Geese were between West Park and First Tower and another 75 were at St Aubin, also 25 Redshanks and a Turnstone.

Evening update: 6 Great White Egrets headed Northeast over St Ouen's Pond

Picture: A juvenile Buzzard flying low across St Ouen's Pond.

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 19.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

An increasingly fine day with a Northeast breeze and still warm for the time of year.

After yesterday's migration bonanza, today was more measured, but still with some nice birds on offer

Pick of today at Noirmont was a Yellow-browed Warbler which dropped in by the bunker mid-morning before heading off towards Portelet. Counts at Noirmont today included 2 Merlins, a Woodlark, 125 Skylarks, 56 Song Thrushes, 7 Mistle Thrushes, 18 Blackbirds, 9 Swallows, 224 Starlings, 2720 Linnets, 342 Chaffinches, 23 Siskins, 2 Bramblings, 235 Goldfinches, 17 Greenfinches, 78 alba Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 13 Lapwings, 3 Golden Plovers, a Snipe, 56 Woodpigeons, 13 Stock Doves, 54 Black-headed Gulls and 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Among birds dropping in were 2 Wheatears, a Black Redstart, 8 Stonechats, several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. Local raptors today included a Marsh Harrier, 4 Buzzards, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Peregrine and 2 Kestrels.

Seen flying over at Victoria Tower during the first half of the morning were 476 Redwings, 165 Song Thrushes, 12 Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush, 430 Starlings, 7 Skylarks, 6 House Martins, 352 Chaffinches, 90 Linnets, 15 Siskins and 2 Lapwings.

In Ville de Bocage at St Peter was a Black Redstart, but no signs of any House Martins still visiting the late nest site there.

Seen at St Ouen's Pond were 20 Reed Buntings, 2 Skylarks and a Stonechat.

At Grouville Marsh were 32 Jackdaws, 2 Firecrests, 15 Chiffchaffs, 30 Siskins and a Reed Bunting and at a Queen's Valley conservation field were 400 Linnets.

Picture: Looking way out of it's comfort zone, this Song Thrush was pictured on Les Minquiers earlier this month.

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 18.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

A promising scenario of overcast conditions with some light drizzle and a Northeast wind, and the date, did not disappoint today.

Visible migration was heavy and with a good variety of species, At Noirmont one was "head and shoulders" above the rest - a Black-shouldered Kite which flew over the bunker watchpoint, gliding characteristically away to the Northeast. Decent views were obtained by two watchers with considerable experience of the species from other parts of the World of what will be the first record of the species in the Channel Islands if accepted. There were lots of other good birds on offer which included 4 Woodlarks, 179 Skylarks, 110 Song Thrushes, 38 Redwings, 6 Fieldfares, 3 Ring Ouzels, 9 Mistle Thrushes, 5 Wheatears, 3 Stonechats, 71 Swallows, 14 House Martins, 2134 Linnets, 312 Goldfinches, 845 Chaffinches, a Redpoll, 12 Bramblings, 8 Siskins, 10 Reed Buntings, 130 Starlings, a Golden Plover, 24 Lapwings, a Merlin, a Peregrine, a Marsh Harrier and 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Victoria Tower did not miss out either and as is usual, far more thrushes were seen there than at Noirmont. Counts obtained included 1191 Song Thrushes, 715 Redwings, 154 Fieldfares, 6 Mistle Thrushes, 152 Skylarks, a Woodlark, 1084 Chaffinches, 36 Siskins, a Redpoll, 9 Lapwings and smaller numbers of the other finches. 4 Ravens, a Peregrine, 4 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk were also seen.

At La Coupe, large numbers of thrushes were passing over as well as 60 Woodpigeons while, out at sea were 76 Brent Geese, a Common Scoter, 24 Cormorants, 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Common Gulls, 14 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Kittiwakes. Raptors there included a Peregrine, a Sparrowhawk and 4 Buzzards, with a Wheatear at the conservation field above the headland.

A Black Redstart was at Le Marais Avenue where Magpies were busy nest-building and another Black Redstart was in a garden at Beauport. Along the road at Gorselands during the day were 2 Swallows, a Lapwing, 41 Starlings and 21 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

The Zoo reported large numbers of thrushes and finches flying over early morning, also 4 Swallows this evening.

Also this evening, at Les Landes were 15 Lapwings, a Snipe, a Golden Plover, 2 Skylarks, 15 Song Thrushes, a Stonechat and, at Grosnez, a Wheatear and a Black Redstart.

Picture: dark-bellied Brent Geese appear to have drawn a near blank on the breeding front this year, so it was good to see at least one juvenile in this flock passing La Coupe this morning ( third from right). Thanks to Richard for the image.

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 17.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

A beautiful Autumn day with a light Southerly wind.

Visible migration was measured but less frantic than the last two days at Noirmont. Counts included 123 Swallows, a late Sand Martin, 13 House Martins, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 14 Song Thrushes, 12 Blackbirds, 33 Skylarks, 31 Starlings, 1378 Linnets, 910 Chaffinches, 14 Siskins, 43 Greenfinches, 437 Goldfinches, a Brambling, 9 Reed Buntings, 15 Stock Doves, 35 Woodpigeons, 68 alba Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 137 Meadow Pipits, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 17 Cormorants. Raptors included 2 Peregrines, 2 Kestrels, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Marsh Harrier and 5 Buzzards.

At Gorselands this morning were 2 Wheatears, 8 Skylarks, a Firecrest, 2 Siskins and a steady passage of Chaffinches.

Sorel held a Redpoll, 2 Reed Buntings, 2 Stonechats, a Wheatear, 70 Linnets, 45 Meadow Pipits, 5 Song Thrushes, 15 Robins and 2 Marsh Harriers.

Scattered around St Ouen's Pond this evening were 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 37 Shovelers, a Snipe, 3 Lapwings, 3 Grey Herons, 12 Reed Buntings, 5+ Water Rails, a Skylark, 6 Pied Wagtails and a roost of 11 Marsh Harriers.

In St Peter's Valley were singles of Buzzard and Grey Wagtail and at the reservoir there, 8 Coot and 4 Moorhens with one young,

Picture: A fine male Greenfinch at Noirmont today.

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 16.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

It was a murky and overcast day, with rain after lunchtime, but with light winds made for a good scenario for visible migration.

Among the 7500 birds counted at Noirmont through the morning the picks were 2 Richard's Pipits which overflew separately and another 3 Woodlarks. 223 Skylarks passed in good sized flocks and thrushes were represented by 83 Song Thrushes, 21 Redwings, 14 Blackbirds, a Fieldfare and a Mistle Thrush. Finches were to the fore with 3670 Chaffinches, 2171 Linnets, 237 Goldfinches, 64 Greenfinches, 15 Siskins and 3 Bramblings. Other counts included 186 alba Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails, 372 Meadow Pipits, 74 Swallows, 4 House Martins, 4 Reed Buntings, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 17 Cormorants, The Barn Owl was seen again and other raptors included a migrant Kestrel as well as two residents, a Sparrowhawk, a Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard. On the ground were 2 Wheatears, c50 Robins, 2 Stonechats, a Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Blackcaps.

39 Skylarks flew over the Elms in St Mary, but these were not part of those counted at Noirmont, given the timing

Redwings were heard in the dark at both Les Landes and Mont les Vaux overnight while in St Aubin's Bay this morning were 168 dark-bellied Brent Geese, 11 pale-bellied Brent Geese and 5 Sandwich Terns.

Seen at Le Hurel were 8 Swallows and a House Martin as well as Meadow Pipits moving overhead, while in Grouville Bay were 2 Greenshanks, 6 Redshanks, 6 Grey Plovers, 20 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plovers, 100 Turnstones, 82 Sanderlings, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and 220 Brent Geese. At La Rocue, even more Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Chaffinches were moving over as well as 2 Skylarks, 32 Swallows and 15 House Martins,

Evening update: 100 Meadow Pipits, 2 Stonechats and a Wheatear were at Beauport today, while in the St Helier Marina were 2 commic terns, a Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail, a Kestrel and an evening roost of 200 alba Wagtails.

Picture: The Barn Owl was hunting at Noirmont again this morning, before sunrise and seems to have taken up residency there. Many thanks to Chris Stamper for this nice image, taken in very poor light, a few days ago.

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 15.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

An overcast but dry day with a generally Southeasterly wind.

A Hoopoe was seen flying over Augres Water Plant in Trinity this morning.

The cork came out of the migrant bottle today after several unsuitable days. Pick of today's birds at Noirmont were 11 Woodlarks in three groups, a nice male Ring Ouzel which landed briefly, 2 Great Northern Divers which crossed the Island towards St Aubin's Bay and a second winter Little Gull which overflew the headland from the Northeast. There was plenty more interest as well with counts of 153 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 1802 Linnets, 1185 Chaffinches, 1571 Meadow Pipits, 6 Grey Wagtails, 334 mainly Pied Wagtails, 32 Skylarks, 23 Song Thrushes, 32 Starlings, 3 Siskins, 94 Goldfinches, a Reed Bunting, 6 Blackbirds, a Golden Plover, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 45 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. 3 Stonechats, 70 Starlings, 100+ Linnets and many Robins were on the headland too. Also seen were 3 Ravens, a Marsh Harrier, a Sparrowhawk and 5 Buzzards.

2 Redwings and 3 Song Thrushes flew over Vallee des Vaux at first light, 2 Wheatears were at Sorel and 100 Linnets plus 100 Goldfinches were at Crabbe.

An adult House Martin was still feeding young at Ville de Bocage in St Peter, with 6 Siskins also seen there and 4 Choughs were at Corbiere. 52 Brent Geese plus 2 Little Egrets were at West Park in St Aubin's Bay.

On Saturday night, Greylag Geese were heard calling over Mont Les Vaux in St Brelade.

Evening update: This evening a Wheatear was at the Pinnacle, Les Landes where a Peregrine was also present and earlier, a Barn Owl was found dead at le Braye, having been hit by a car and a pale phase Buzzard was at Mont Matthieu.

Picture: Being seen around the Island in good numbers at the moment, this adult Mediterranean Gull was picture passing La Coupe two day ago.

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 14.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

An awful morning of heavy rain and some thunder with a gusty North wind, drying uo this afternoon, but still feeling cold by recent standards.

Pick of the day was a Yellow-browed Warbler with a roving flock of tits and crests in a garden in Vallee des Vaux. Song Thrushes were heard moving overhead there last night.

At La Rocque and a relatively sheltered Grouville Bay were 240 Brent Geese, 2 Great crested Grebes, a Red-breasted Merganser, 19 Cormorqnts, 12 Turnstones, 6 Grey Plovers, a Redshank, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Common Gulls, 3 Sandwich Terns, a Grey Wagtail and a trickle of 15 Swallows flying in from the South. At Pontac were 473 Oystercatchers, 97 Curlews, 7 Brent Geese, 7 Redshanks and 7 Mediterranean Gulls.

A further 132 dark-bellied Brent Geese and 15 pale-bellieSt Helier Marina.

On the West side of the Island, 30 Shovelers, 10 Snipe, 2 Lapwings, a Common Gull, 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 84 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Skylarks were around the St Ouen's Pond area with 43 Ringed Plovers and 5 Dunlin on the grass by Big Vern's. In the Sandpits were 10 Little Grebes, 20 Pochard and 162 Coot.

This afternoon, 2 Choughs were at Corbiere and this evening 250 mainly Pied Wagtails and a Kingfisher were at the the St Helier Marina and 15 Ringed Plovers were at West Park..

Picture: Today's Red-breasted Merganser in La Rocque Harbour.

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 13.10.2018   .Mick Dryden 

A day of clear conditions and strong Southerly winds and warm again for October

The value of seawatching is dropping off by the day, although a change to Northwesterly conditions by tomorrow may affect that.

Seen today passing La Coupe was a single Great Northern Diver, 51 Gannets, a Razorbill, 8 Brent Geese, 38 Shags, 15 Mediterranean Gulls, 9 Common Gulls, 44 Black-headed Gulls, a Grey Wagtail and a Song Thrush.

Corbiere fared little better with counts of 11 Razorbills, 46 Gannets, a Mediterranean Gull, a Sandwich Tern, and at roost, 57 Curlews, a Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit.

A few birds were heading off past Noirmont from mid-morning. Seen there were 61 Swallows, a Merlin which chased the Swallows briefly, 3 Skylarks, 2 Song Thrushes, 53 Linnets, 26 Chaffinches, 12 alba Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail, with 2 Stonechats and 75 Starlings on the ground and a Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzards and a Raven in the air.

5 Mistle Thrushes were feeding on myrtle berries in a garden above Rozel, close to where they breed and a Wheatear was at Grantez this morning..

At Grouville Marsh were a Merlin, 6 Siskins and a Stonechat and in or over Vallee des Vaux were 3 Song Thrushes, a Redwing, a Siskin, several Chaffinches, 2 Firecrests and 3 Grey Wagtails. 8 Swallows were over Vallee des Vaux later yesterday.

Evening update: A few extras from Grouville Marsh with 2 Firecrests, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Marsh Harriers and 6 Swallows seen, also a Cattle Egret was at Les Landes

Picture: A super shot of a first year Gannet passing Corbiere yesterday, taken by Tony.

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