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 27.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Another mild and cloudy day with a decent range of species reported.

A Hen Harrier was seen at Faldouet this morning, also 8 Fieldfares and 2 Skylarks were there.

La Coupe came up with another decent list which included 3 Great Northern Divers, a Red-throated Diver, 2 unidentified divers, 2 Greylag Geese, a Slavonian Grebe, a Shoveler, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Gannets, 6 Dunlin, 53 Little Gulls, 6 Common Gulls, 14 Mediterranean Gulls, 39 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns, 55 Razorbills, 17 Guillemots and 12 unidentified auks.

At the Happy Hens in Grouville Bay were 59 Brent Geese and 2 Little Egrets, at La Sente, 34 Little Egrets and at Grouville Marsh, 34 Coot and a Sparrowhawk and in Grouville Bay, 420 Brent Geese and 150 Dunlin. A Marsh Harrier was seen at Fountain Lane.

The conservation fields at Crabbe continue to fare well with 6 Bramblings, 350 Chaffinches, 50 Goldfinches, 25 Greenfinches, 100 Linnets and 80 Starlings there today.

At the St Helier Marina were 200 Pied Wagtails and a Kingfisher.

Good numbers of thrushes were around on the Island yesterday, with 100+ Fieldfares and Redwings seen in Trinity, for example.

Picture: Brambling in a previous conservation field.

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 26.11.2014   Thank Heaven for Little GullsMick Dryden 

An occluded front brought wet and dismal conditions with a light wind today.

Not a promising scenario, but La Coupe came up with the goods in the form of 367 Little Gulls, including flocks of 109 and 66 birds. Also seen passing were 2 Great Northern Divers, 3 Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, a Slavonian Grebe, a Red-breasted Merganser, 6 Common Scoters, a Ringed Plover, 13 Kittiwakes, 3 Common Gulls, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 26 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 5 Razorbills, 2 Guillemots, 9 unidentified auks and 2 Sandwich Terns.

Scattered around in Grouville Bay were 4 Little Egrets at La Sente, 40 Brent Geese and 2 Little Egrets at the Happy Hens and 24 Coot plus 2 Buzzards at Grouville Marsh. In Grouville Bay, at Fauvic, were 250 Brent Geese, 300 Dunlin, 20 Sanderlings, 10 Turnstones and 3 Grey Plovers.

In the west of the Island, around St Ouen's Pond, a wet Wheatear, 2 Stonechats, 3 Wigeon, 4 Shovelers, 10 Tufted Duck,19 Pochards, 22 Teal, 45 Lapwings, 10 Snipe and 3 Little Grebes were seen, with 2 Stonechats at Kempt Tower.

Picture: From the Gallery, a Little Gull with a Mediterranean Gull. Thanks to Romano for the image.


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 25.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Sunday's weather returned today, so more rain and rain ( and rain) this morning

Hardy seawatching at La Coupe produced 4 Great Northern Divers, 2 Red-throated Divers, 4 dark-bellied Brent Geese, 4 Greylag Geese heading north, 6 Common Scoters, 8 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Gannets, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 21 Black-headed Gulls, 8 Kittiwakes, 41 Razorbills, 16 Guillemots and 76 unidentified auks.

At Grouville Marsh were 17 Curlews, 31 Coot, a Grey Heron and 2 Redwings and at La Sente, 21 Little Egrets and near the Happy Hens, 23 Brent Geese and a Lesser Black-backed Guls.

Picture: A Redshank.

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 24.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Today's weather offering had to be better than yesterday's, and was.

Counts from seawatching at La Coupe this morning included 8 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, 8 pale-bellied Brent Geese, a Slavonian Grebe, a Red-breasted Merganser, 3 Common Scoters, 2 Common Gulls, 8 Mediterranean Gulls, 11 Black-headed Gulls, 37 Kittiwakes, 69 Razorbills, 5 Guillemots and 129 unidentified auks.

At Fauvic, in Grouville Bay were 380 Brent Geese and up at Queen's Valley, where water levels are rising rapidly, were 16 Greenshanks, 6 Teal, 2 Grey Herons, a Little Egret, 8 Coot, a Kingfisher and a Bullfinch.

Picture: From the archives, an aerial view of Grouville Marsh and Common, taken in December 2008.

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 23.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

It was a truly awful day of rain and northerly winds, for the first co-ordinated Brent Goose and wader counts of the winter.

Full figures will follow later, but, in Grouville Bay and at La Rocque, 770 Brent Geese included a single pale-bellied Brent, also a possible Black Brant which could not be confirmed in the conditions. Other birds of interest in Grouville Bay included a Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Lapwings, 94 Sanderlings and 765 Dunlin among the waders, also 10 Great Crested Grebes, 22 Red-breasted Mergansers, 18 Sandwich Terns and 700 Black-headed Gulls. Extras at La Rocque were 112 Grey Plovers, a Kingfisher, and a Black-necked Grebe, with another Great Crested Grebe and 2 Sandwich Terns further to the west.

Inland, at La Rocque were 38 Little Egrets behind the Seymour Inn and a further 24 al La Sente. 19 Grey Herons were also at Seymour. A Firecrest was at Victoria Tower, with good numbers of Redwings in the air, but not looking like they were going anywhere.

A miserable seawatch at La Coupe saw just 3 Great Northern Divers, 6 Common Scoters, 9 Razorbills, a Guillemot, 4 Kittiwakes, a Mediterranean Gull and a Common Gull in three hours.

At the east end of St Aubin's Bay were 3 Sandwich Terns, a Black-necked Grebe and 200 Sanderlings.

Picture: A Black-tailed Godwit on a better day.


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 22.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Rain this morning, ahead of mist and fog, offered little promise, but La Coupe provided some excellent birding.

Grey geese are not seen that often, on passage, presumably passing high over the Island in the main, so 145 Greylag Geese ( 135 in one flock), was a real bonus. Other good wildfowl sightings included 48 Brent Geese, 5 Shelduck, 10 Pintails, 4 Teal, 6 Wigeon, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and 3 Common Scoters. Also passing La Coupe were 317 Razorbills, 49 Guillemots, 8 Great Northern Divers, 3 Black-throated Divers, 3 Red-throated Divers, a Black-necked Grebe, 5 Gannets, a Sandwich Tern, 74 Kittiwakes, 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 14 Common Gulls, 7 Little Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Very few passerines were flying there, just a few Song Thrushes, Redwings and Chaffinches, with 3 Firecrests and a Chiffchaff still present.

A visit to Fountain Lane found 32 Snipe, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, 2 Stonechats, 15 Reed Buntings, a Cetti's Warbler in song, 11 Meadow Pipits, 3 Skylarks, a Blackcap and 5 Water Rails.

Picture: Drake Teal.

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 21.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A day of cool overcast conditions, interspersed with a period of rain and a south-east wind.

Early passage at La Coupe was brisk, but faded away as the weather worsened. Pick of the morning was a juvenile Pomarine Skua which attacked a Kittiwake and 6 Greylag Geese heading south-east. Other counts included 3 Great Northern Divers, 4 Black-throated Divers, a Slavonian Grebe, 48 Teal, a Shoveler, a Pochard, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 90 Brent Geese ( 29 of them juveniles), 6 Shelduck, 25 Little Gulls, 92 Kittiwakes, 19 Mediterranean Gulls, 15 Common Gulls, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 458 Razorbills, 41 Guillemots, just 75 Redwings, 7 Song Thrushes, a Skylark, a Dunlin, 4 Grey Plovers and 5 Curlews. 2 Firecrests and 2 Chiffchaffs were still in the bushes there.

At the St Helier Marina was a roost of 350 Pied Wagtails, with 5 White Wagtails also there, 2 Kingfishers and a Little Grebe.

700 Brent Geese were in Grouville Bay

Picture: Gallery image of a Little Gull, with thanks to Romano da Costa.

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 20.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A fair day with light eastern wind allowed some more good passage at La Coupe.

Among a wide range of species seen were a Short-eared Owl, a Merlin, 2 Peregrines, 3 Marsh Harriers, 23 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great Northern Divers, 3 male Eiders, a male Pintail, 4 Shelduck, a Mallard, 4 Shovelers, a Red-breasted Mergansers, 9 Common Scoters, 66 Brent Geese, 255 Razorbills, 18 Guillemots, an Arctic Skua, 21 Little Gulls, 22 Mediterranean Gulls, 12 Common Gulls, 86 Kittiwakes, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 7 Dunlin and 3 Curlews. Among the passerines passing were 12 Fieldfares, 1337 Redwings, 30 Song Thrushes, 805 Woodpigeons, a Grey Wagtail, 6 Meadow Pipits and 104 Chaffinches. 2 Firecrests and 2 Chiffchaffs were also there.

Scattered around St Ouen's Pond were 15 Teal, a pair of Gadwall, 20 Shovelers, 2 Little Grebes and a Water Rail at the Pond, 10 Reed Buntings, 2 Stonechats, 5 Chiffchaffs and 120+ Stock Doves at the Scrape and 35 Lapwings in the Sandpits.

The conservation fields at Crabbe held 200+ Chaffinches, 100+ Linnets, 50+ Goldfinches, 50+ Greenfinches, 6 Lapwings, 10 Skylarks, 15 Redwings, 30 Song Thrushes, 2 Stonechats, a Merlin and 4 Jackdaws.

580+ Brent Geese were in Grouville Bay and a Black Redstart on the seawall at Fauvic, while in Queen's Valley were 11 Teal, a Mandarin, 6 Tufted Duck, 6 Coot and a Grey Heron.

Picture: A beautiful Gallery image of a drake Shelduck, taken by Miranda Collett.


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 19.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

Cloudy but colder, with a fresh south-easterly wind was the order of the day.

Pick of the day at La Coupe were 12, apparently wild, Barnacle Geese which flew over heading south-east late morning ( no dodgy hybrids were involved ). A further 140 dark-bellied Brent Geese and 2 pale-bellied Brent Geese also flew by as well as 2 Shelducks, a Teal, 8 Common Scoters and 3 Red-breasted Mergansers. Other birds seen offshore included 4 Gannets, 5 Great Northern Divers, 157 Razorbills, 12 Guillemots, 21 Little Gulls, 15 Mediterranean Gulls, 60 Kittiwakes, 9 Common Gulls and 54 Black-headed Gulls, 41 Lapwings, a Dunlin and 2 Curlews. Birds overhead included 1280 Redwings, 104 Fieldfares, 45 Song Thrushes, 3 Blackbirds 9 Skylarks, 52 Woodpigeons, 90 Starlings, 152 Chaffinches, 4 Greenfinches and 15 Meadow Pipits. The conservation filed above La Coupe had 3 Marsh Harriers hunting across it. 3 Firecrests and a Chiffchaff were on the ground at La Coupe.

A further 120 Redwings flew over Gorey this morning.

La Haule at St Aubin was mobbed with Brent Geese again, with over 800 dark-bellied Brent Geese there, also 100+ pale-bellied Brent Geese.

Picture: From the Gallery, Barnacle Geese in flight.

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 18.11.2014   .Mick Dryden 

A day with a light easterly wind and no rain produced some excellent visible migration past La Coupe.

Brent Geese were to the fore, with 665 dark-bellied Brent Geese and 2 pale-bellied Brent Geese arriving from the north. A Short-eared Owl flew over high towards the east and other counts there included 4 Shelduck, 6 Common Scoters, a Pintail, a Mallard, 4 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers, 202 Razorbills, 7 Guillemots, 75 Little Gulls, 91 Kittiwakes, 24 Mediterranean Gulls, 27 Black-headed Gulls, 14 Common Gulls, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Sandwich Terns, 14 Lapwings, 21 Dunlin, 2 Curlews, 7 Gannets and 2 Bottle-nosed Dolphins moving south around mid-day. Overhead migration included 10 Fieldfares, 330 Redwings, 4 Song Thrushes, 140 Chaffinches, 142 Starlings, 30 Woodpigeons, 13 Stock Doves, 5 Skylarks and 7 Greenfinches. Raptors there were 2 Peregrines, 2 Kestrels, 2 Sparrowhawks and 4 Buzzards. 3 Firecrests and a Chiffchaff were calling.

The conservation fields at Crabbe held a bumper crop, which included a Short-eared Owl, 350 Chaffinches, 350 Linnets, 3 Bramblings, 2 Reed Buntings, a Stonechat, 5 Skylarks, 10 Redwings, 15 Song Thrushes, a Golden Plover, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Peregrines - one carrying a Starling.

At Grouville Marsh were 3 Water Pipits, a Jack Snipe, a Woodcock, a Siskin, 2 female Cetti's Warblers, 35 Reed Buntings, 15 Water Rails, 3 Greenshanks, 20 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps and 4 Marsh Harriers.

Last night there was a heavy passage of Redwings over St Helier and Vallee des Vaux after dark.

Picture: More Brent Geese pass La Coupe, inbound this morning. Dark-bellied Brent Geese have had a good breeding year with 20+% juveniles coming in with the adults. This flock of 15 had 7 juveniles included. 800+ Brent Geese at St Aubin this afternoon included 105 pale-bellied Brent Geese, only one of the pale birds was a juvenile. Different continent, different fortunes. Given today's arrivals, over 2000 were on the Island today, probably the highest ever day count, but many will move on to winter elsewhere.

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