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twentieth to twenty sixth June – Sturdy summer season winds


The wind was calm to start the week but picked up on Friday reaching up to 45mph. It was clear and warm up to the 22nd when it turned overcast with frequent showers.   

Mallards are still having young on the island with a new brood of nine ducklings seen by the Church Field ditch. Swifts were common this week with a high count of 29 seen screaming above the Village on the 23rd. An unexpected bird was seen on the 24th, a Quail was flushed by the path in South West Field. This small gamebird is only a bit bigger than a Skylark but spend the winter in Africa.

There was a noticeable movement of Grey Heron on the 21st. Four were seen flying west over Ilfracombe as the boat was boarded in the morning. Meanwhile three flew over the island and another two were seen flying over in the evening. Two Collared Dove were seen on the 22nd and the number of lost Racing Pigeons by Paradise Row increased from seven to 11 on the 25th.

Racing Pigeons, Paradise Row © Stuart Cossey

Most of the Swallows seen this week were the resident birds with the pair in the Church Porch now with small chicks. A single Sand Martin was seen on the 23rd. There is still no confirmed breeding from our Blackcap or Chiffchaff pairs, however there were at least two juvenile Whitethroat still by the Ugly on the 23rd.

A Rosy Starling was seen briefly by the Pig Sty on the 21st but did not hang around unlike the bird earlier in the month. Another island rarity at the Pig Sty was a male Yellowhammer on the 23rd. Some small finch passage was obvious on this week with a male Siskin present on the 23rd to the 25th. Five Goldfinches have been regularly seen feeding on the Thistles by the Water Tanks every morning in addition to the three families in Millcombe.

Goldfinch, Ackland’s Moor © Stuart Cossey 

Away from the birds, a large influx of Hummingbird Hawk-moths was seen on the 22nd with at least six seen across the island. At one point there were four at once on the Valerian in Millcombe. A Minke Whale was seen during the crossing on the 23rd and numerous Common Dolphins were recorded during the outward crossing on the 21st. In sadder news a 4m long dead Risso’s Dolphin was washed up by the Jetty on the 23rd much to the interest of the visitors coming off the MS Oldenburg. 

Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey 

Risso’s Dolphin, Landing Bay © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: S Cossey, R Ellis, Z Wait

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