• Common Rosefinch

    Common Rosefinch © D Jones

  • Sora
  • Baltimore Oriole

    Baltimore Oriole © T Wright

  • Great Northern Diver

    Great Northern Diver © S Cossey

  • Pale-bellied Brent Goose

    Pale-bellied Brent Goose © R Taylor

  • Lapland Bunting

    Lapland Bunting © R Campey

  • Hoopoe

    Hoopoe © D Jones

  • Red-rumped Swallow

    Red-rumped Swallow © D Fox

2024 03 16 Merlin OldStoneCrusherSite ThomasWestonFemale Merlin near the Old Stone Crusher Site. ©Thomas Weston

Today was a good day for birding. The low hazy fog that hung over the Devon and Welsh coasts remained for most of the morning, but the visibility on the island was good and compared to the last few days we could see quite a distance. Census counts were split due to our annual feral stcok counts being undertaken this weekend, but combined counts showed a nice arrival of migrants. The higher coverage of the island also led to some really nice counts across the whole are.

To begin, some notable sightings:

  • Two female Merlin were seen with one along the Southwest Field boundary and one at the North End.
  • Our first Swallow of the year flew south from ¼ Wall towards the Village.
  • An arrival of 6 Wheatear with the first female seen.
  • An arrival of Chiffchaff along the East coast with birds noted from Millcombe to ¼ Wall.
  • 2 Puffins off Jenny’s Cove

Our resident pair of Mallard remained on Rocket Pole scrape where a pair of Stonechat were seen gathering nesting material. The pair along Quarter Wall were seen but not showing signs of breeding yet. Waders are always few and far between on census, but a pair of Oystercatchers were in the Landing Bay and a Snipe was flushed from the Airfield. Out on the coast, a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls, 77 Herring Gulls, 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, single Guillemot, 240 Razorbills, 2 Gannet, 6 Shag and our lovely duo of divers (Red-throated and Great Northern) were both in the Landing Bay first thing. A surprise sighting of 4 Cormorants first seen over Millcombe and then over ¼ Wall heading North were the first of the year and a nice migrant species for the island. With the weather being more favourable than recent, birds of prey were using this opportunity to show well. The female Merlin pictured above was a welcome sight as well as a female Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine too.    

 Down in Millcombe, our small population of 5 Woodpigeons were spotted, a Water Rail was heard charming at the bottom of Smelly Gully, 2 Chiffchaffs were a good precursor to the others who arrived later, 5 Goldcrest were in the trees, 17 Wren were either heard singing or spotted coming out of the gorse bushes, 6 Blackbirds of both sexes were seen, a singing male Song Thrush, 2 Robin, 7 Dunnocks and the singing male Goldfinch were all seen. In the fields, 31 Carrion Crow were mostly in Brick Field, 8 Skylark were noted with some displaying 138 Starlings commuted between the Village and Tillage, 4 Stonechat with one pair nest building, 33 Meadow Pipits potentially included some migrants, and a Pied Wagtail were spotted. In the Village, 27 House Sparrows and 7 Ravens were seen.