Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Latest bird news.

A period of continued light easterly winds brought some good weather, then some thick fog and, on Sunday, our warmest day of the year so far with temperatures over 17 degrees. Monday saw the winds switch to the NE, bringer cooler conditions but the distinct feeling that there are birds to be found.

The last of the fog lingers around the base of Sheep Rock. When it cleared it revealed flat calm seas, but sadly no cetaceans, in what has been a quiet spring for them so far.
In what has been a very enjoyable spring for birding, the last few days have seen more highlights, Including our second Thrush Nightingale of the spring (trapped in the Roadside trap on 25th), the Red-rumped Swallow lingering to 25th, a female Subalpine Warbler (26th – 27th, trapped on the latter date at the Obs, with the measurements suggesting an ‘Eastern’ bird) and a Spotted Crake (expertly caught by Jason on 28th).
This Thrush Nightingale was a much more heavily marked bird than last week's individual.
The female Subalpine Warbler played hard to get in the Plantation until it appeared in the mist net late on it's second day on the island.
An impressive fall on 23rd saw 9 Red-backed Shrikes (with smaller numbers lingering after that and eight ringed so far), 10 Icterine Warblers (again, smaller numbers lingered and six have been ringed), 2 Bluethroats, 2 Dotterel (in Bull’s Park, with one until 24th), 2 Wryneck, Quail, 64 Spotted Flycatchers, 12 Chiffchaff, 15 Willow Warbler, 19 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Whitethroats, 8 Redstarts and a Woodcock.
Last year was a poor one for Red-backed Shrikes, but this year has made up for it with some good numbers around.

A peak of ten Icterine Warblers (although one of those was found dead) was noted, with several birds adding a splash of colour to the cliffs.

And they brightened up a few trap rounds as well.
 The 24th saw a peak of 5 Common Rosefinch (including males in red, orange and brown!), Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer and Lesser Redpoll, whilst small numbers of Siskin and Mealy Redpoll were recorded throughout and Chaffinch and Brambling both lingered until 27th. A Wood Warbler was in South Harbour on 26th (one of the few highlights of a very foggy day).
The first Turtle Dove of the year was seen on 27th, when there were also 2 each of Long-eared and Short-eared Owls, Black Redstart, 2 Whinchat, Crossbill and another 17 Spotted Flycatchers.
Up to 18 Dunlin were noted, a Knot lingered from 22nd to 25th, Arctic Tern numbers have started building up, although to no more than 200 have been counted so far and Storm Petrels were back on the colonies from 25th.
Gannets are seemingly having another good breeding season, although it is too early to judge how most of the seabirds will do this year.
A Cormorant fishing in the flat calm waters of South Harbour quickly attracted attention from the local Herring Gulls hoping to steal its food.
The light easterlies have continued his morning and there remains a positive feeling around the Obs that a good spring’s birding could still be topped by a biggy in the next day or two…

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