Wednesday 31 March 2021

31st March 2021

 Weather: SE force 0/1    slight mist

The early morning exodus of the Pink-footed Geese continued this morning with about 2,500 taking part, we expect this to carry on for the next few weeks. Today was a great early spring migration day with 50 bird species being recorded, but with the wind forecast to veer to the north the next few days may not be so productive. There were plenty of  exciting sightings including a Collared Dove which was the only new species for the islands this year, it made itself known by singing in the obs garden and then the lookout. 

No less than eleven Wheatears were down, including a bunch of 5 together (only 3 could be seen in one camera frame).


A single singing Chiffchaff was the sole warbler, together with 3 Goldcrests, but passing were 8 Sand Martins and another Swallow, while 5 White Wagtails were here and about 200 Meadow Pipits passed through. Single Reed Bunting, Stonechat and House Sparrow were other visitors with an increase of Siskins (8) notable in addition to the other finches which were several Linnets, 6 Greenfinches and 7 Goldfinches. Larger species arriving included the previously mentioned Collared Dove, 2 Jackdaws, 4 Woodpigeons, a Merlin moving south and a Sparrowhawk flying east. The calm sea enabled good viewing of sea birds, chief amongst which were 29 Little Gulls, also 12 Guillemots, 500 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 Goosanders and an outstanding 26 Red-breasted Mergansers and 55 Great Crested Grebes.

 Four Little Egrets were on the shore. The Eider did not show, neither did any Purple Sandpipers but 210 Brent are still remaining here. The warm sunshine encouraged 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies into the air and enhanced the show of Daffodils.

The large amount of water in the main island pond reminded us of the wet winter now behind us.

Thanks to Matt Thomas for Wheatear photos

Tuesday 30 March 2021

30th March 2021

 Weather: ENE force 2 later variable    warm and sunny


A lovely day with early spring migrants popping up here and there. Just after dawn many skeins of Pink-footed Geese flew north out of the estuary, typically being very vocal as they went. About 1,800 were estimated during the first hour of daylight. Five Wheatears were there right from the off but with little evidence of a later passage, in fact most of the migration had all but ceased by mid-morning.

The first Sand Martin of the year flew north passed the top paddock, it's unusual to get 2 Swallows before a Sand Martin as we have this year. Two Chiffchaffs were in the gardens, also a couple of Goldcrests, while 3 Woodpigeons, 2 Jackdaws and a few dozen Meadow Pipits passed through. A good variety of finches were logged today: 2 Siskins, 5 Greenfinches, 5 Goldfinches, and 2 Chaffinches calling about the island, and of course the breeding Linnets, in addition to a few migrant Linnets. In the afternoon 3 more White Wagtails landed and fed about the north end rocks.

Sea birds were noted, even on the calm sea, for instance 5 Red-throated Divers and 8 Guillemots, however no sighting today of the male Eider but others present were a Little Egret, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers and 3 and then another 4 Canada Geese.

Only a single Purple Sandpiper seen today on the massive tide, most may have gone or they were hiding elsewhere. One member spent most of the day securing some of the newly installed netting in the SK trap

Monday 29 March 2021

29th March 2021

 Weather:  WSW force 6/7  dropping SW 4/5

A Raven hung about the islands most of the day, at one time interacting with a female Peregrine on the ground. The best wader sighting today was a flock of 18 Golden Plover in flight, although as always the most numerous at high tide were the Oystercatchers.



 Forty seven Turnstones fed in the sunshine.

 Fifteen Purple Sandpipers roosted the tide at the north end, as usual showing superbly well.


The second Swallow of the spring came through and a Chiffchaff was present on the island. A sea watch produced 8 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 50 Common Scoter, 4 Guillemots and a Razorbill. The Eider was still here and 2 more Canada Geese flew west. A Peacock butterfly was an early sighting.

Sunday 28 March 2021

28th March 2021

 Weather:WSW force 6/7    rain

 A brave visit in vile weather understandably produced no new spring records for the island, the best sightings were probably 270 Common Scoter and the male Eider . 

 Two Shelduck flew south.

Small numbers of the regular waders were logged, for example 7 Purple Sandpipers, 80 Turnstone, 200 Dunlin and 57 Curlew. Present were at least 4 Rock Pipits and 2 Dunnocks.

Saturday 27 March 2021

27th March 2021

 Weather: W force 7/8

A westerly gale killed off any hopes of migrants this morning but blew in a number of sea birds near to the island. No Little Gulls were amongst them although 35 Gannets, 13 Red-throated Divers, 12 Great Crested Grebes and 11 Kittiwkes came within view. A pair of Goosanders sheltered on the east side below the obs giving excellent views.

Twelve Purple Sandpipers and 105 Turnstone saw out the tide and the male Eider is still hanging about. Repairs were made to the SK trap that had suffered through the winter, luckily today it was in a sheltered position for the work.

Lion Rock lived up to its name in the dramatic light this morning


Friday 26 March 2021

26th March 2021

 Weather: SSW force 2/3  rain showers

No sign of the Red-legged Partridge this morning but fine compensation arrived in the form of the first Wheatear of the year to the islands. First seen between the islands it worked it's way south down the east side of Middle sheltering from the wind and rain.


The single male was not the sole record for long as 2 more males were found on the main island.

The first Wheatears were soon joined by the first Swallow of the year and another White Wagtail following the first on Wednesday. In general passerine movement was otherwise quiet apart from several dozen Meadow Pipits passing through. There have been frequent spring Canada Goose records in the last week or so and today was no exception as a single bird joined the Brents and Oystercatchers feeding at the tide edge.

Highlight of the sea watch were 4 Little Gulls and 6  newly arrived Gannets; also seen were 120 Common Scoter, 3 Red-throated Divers, 8 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Guillemots and 5 Razorbills. Waders today included 354 Curlew, 18 Bar-tailed Godwits, 10 Sanderling, 12 Purple Sandpipers and 150 Turnstone. The Eider is still about the island.

Thursday 25 March 2021

25th March 2021

Weather: SSW force 1

The elusive Red-legged Partridge was still on the main island early morning.

More regular fare for this period of early spring were similar to yesterday but in larger numbers. There were no less than 30 Woodpigeons, 2 Jackdaws, and 6 Magpies.


The Merlin which was also found was no doubt eyeing up some Meadow Pipits coming through. Four Goldcrests were down on the island and together with the Meadow Pipits and the odd alba wagtail were the only small migrants. Sea birds seen included 2 Little Gulls, 2 Red-throated Divers, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers, 5 Razorbill, 4 Guillemots,120 Common Scoter and a single Gannet. Eleven Purple Sandpipers are still hanging on, and 525 Curlew was an impressive count.

Wednesday 24 March 2021

24th March 2021

 Weather: WSW force 1/2

The partridge species on Middle appeared again this morning on the main island and was identified as a Red-legged Partridge, only the fourth ever on the islands. Photo below is the bird here in spring 2020

 A White Wagtail landed on Wheatear hill, the first to be picked out from the many alba wagtails passing this spring. Typical migrants for us at this time of year included Jacdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, 2 Skylarks, 4 Goldfinches a Siskin and a Reed Bunting. A Goldcrest was down on Middle.


Brents totalling 324 pale and 2 dark-bellied included the regular colour ringed bird TXRB.


Twelve Shelduck were about today, also 5 Wigeon flew east. Two more Little Gulls, 3 Red-throated Divers, 3 Great Crested and 8 Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea were upstaged by a fine summer plumaged Shag that flew closely passed the north end and landed on the rocks. 

Two Little Egrets were on the shore and a Kestrel was about, this time not the regular female but a male.