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ninth to fifteenth Might – A wonderful spring for breeding passerines and a short Bluethroat

Another week with mostly beautiful warm and
clear days. Some heavy rain on 10th. Moderate westerly wind for the first half
of the week with a shift to the east on the 15th.

At least
four broods of Mallards were seen this week with families on Pondsbury, Barton
Ponds and Church Field gully. A male Teal was seen on Pondsbury on 11th and
15th and a female on the 14th. It has been an excellent week for Swifts with
records every day. The highest count was 18 on the 11th. A male Cuckoo was
heard on the 9th and another was seen flying over the East Side on the 15th. A
male Collared Dove has been singing in Millcombe Valley all week, being briefly
joined by a second bird on the 10th.

There was
good variety in waders this week. Singles of Golden Plover were recorded on the
13th, 14th and 15th. Whimbrel were recorded on 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th
and a Curlew was heard over Ackland’s Moor on the 13th. Last week’s Bar-tailed
was last seen on the 9th in the rush at the west of High Street Field. Single
Dunlin were seen on the 14th and 15th, a Common Sandpiper was in the Landing
Bay on the 13th and a Purple Sandpiper was present at Brazen Ward at high afternoon
tide on the 15th. The first ever May record of Woodcock was on the 13th as one
was chased by a Peregrine over Pondsbury. Unfortunately the Peregrine was
successful and it carried the Woodcock off towards the West Coast.

Bar-tailed Godwit, High Street Field © Stuart Cossey

Puffins are
back along the West Coast in high numbers with a count of 258 around Jenny’s
Cove and St Mark’s Cove on the 15th. There was a count of 61 Shag on the 15th
and two and three Cormorants were reported on the 9th and 11th respectively.
Paul St Pierre and Antony Bellamy of the RSPB are currently on the island
undertaking a population census of the gull colonies. This is very important as
many coastal gull colonies are declining.

Manx Shearwater, MS Oldenburg © Richard Campey

The pair of
Kestrel are still being seen around the south end of the island and a high
count of 10 Peregrine on the 15th suggests at least 5 pairs are present. A
Merlin was seen on the 13th and 14th near Halfway Wall. Hobby were seen briefly
as they flew over on the 11th and 15th. A Hooded Crow was in the Aerogenerator
Field on the 12th.

Hooded Crow, Aerogenerator Field © Richard Campey

There have
been several days of strong hirundines passage with totals on the 14th of 28
Sand Martins, 1000 Swallows and 200 House Martins. Another high count of Sand Martins
was on the 10th with 32 counted.

numbers of warblers are dropping off there is still a good variety. Two Wood
were present on the 15th with a male singing in Millcombe and another
seen at the bottom of Gannet’s Combe. One or two Willow Warbler were seen on
the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th. Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler were singing
in Millcombe every morning. High counts of six Chiffchaff were on the 13th and
14th and seven Sedge Warblers on the 14th. A Reed Warbler was seen on the 14th,
Grasshopper Warblers were present on the 10th, 11th and 14th and three Garden
were recorded with one on 13th and two on the 14th . Blackcaps and Whitethroats
were seen every day with the highest counts on the 15th of five and seven
respectively.  A female Goldcrest was
present in Millcombe from the 9th to the 11th.

Wood Warbler, Millcombe © Richard Campey

It appears
to be an excellent year for breeding Starlings. At the moment chicks are
calling from nearly every wall and at least 60 nests have been noted around the
Village. There are Stonechats breeding all across the island with at least 15
pairs noted. The first fledgling Blackbirds have been seen in Millcombe this
week. It seems that the rat eradication was not only beneficial to the seabirds
but also for many breeding landbirds.

have begun to arrive again after a quiet period between the 4th and
9th. Three were seen on the 10th and 11th, six on the 12th, seven on the 13th,
eight on the 14th and 15 on the 15th. A female Redstart was recorded on the 13th
and a female Whinchat was ringed on the 9th. Low numbers of Wheatear still seem
to be heading north through the island with a high count of 35 seen on the

Spotted Flycatcher, Millcombe © Richard Campey
Female Whinchat, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

The best bird of the week was a female Bluethroat seen by Tim Davis and
Tim Jones on the Lower East Side path below Gannet’s Combe. Flight views
clearly showed the classic tail pattern and brief perched views allowed
confirmation with a slight blue throat and strong white supercilium.

One Yellow
was heard on the 14th over the Lodge and then three were counted on the
15th including a Blue-headed Wagtail and male flavissima in Barton Field. Grey Wagtails were heard over the
island on the 12th, 14th and 15th and two White Wagtails were seen from 10th to
13th with three on the 14th and one on the 15th. A Tree Pipit was in Millcombe
on the 10th and then two were seen in Millcombe on the 12th.

Yellow Wagtail, Barton Field © Richard Campey
Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Richard Campey
Tree Pipit, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Numbers of
Linnet are still high for the time of year with a flock of 70+ being seen in
Barton Field on the evenings of 13th to 15th. A Hawfinch was in Millcombe
Valley on the 13th and Lesser Redpoll were seen in Millcombe on the 12th and

In non-avian
news, other than the usual butterflies, a Painted Lady was seen on the 15th,
Peacock on the 12th and Brimstone on the 9th. The first Small Heaths were
recorded on the 12th. The first Green Tiger Beetles of the year were seen on
the 15th along the West Coast. Highlights from the moth trap include Galium
(first island record), Small Angle Shades and Pale Tussock as well as
numerous Marbled Coronet.

S Cossey, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, R Duncan, D Kiatley, J Dunning, R
Campey, T Davis, T Jones, P St Pierre, A Bellamy, K Dobie, J Boyle.

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