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Sun 25th April 2010

Posted on April 25, 2010 at 4:50 PM

birds : Even though we are smack in the middle of the migration season I was unable to do any proper birding this weekend as Rosie was away with her girlfriends in Jersey. Despite this, I was very pleased with my sightings on Saturday, which started with a Common Sandpiper circling high over the garden mid-morning. This is not my first house record as I have heard 2 or 3 previously fly over after dark, but this is the first one I've seen.

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After dropping off Rosie for her trip, I took the kids for a long drive and stopped off at Pleinmont for a quick run round the scramble track. This was quite a big deal as I have recently developed an irrational fear of heights - or more specifically a fear of me and/or my family falling off big heights - and we were very close to the cliffs. There was very little to see apart from a few Wheatears, but my bravery was rewarded when I returned to the car. Just as I strapped the little ones in, I saw a small passerine fly over the gorse towards me, which I initially thought was a warbler as it was so small. When I put my bins on it I saw that it was actually a streaky bird with a bright yellow head. First of all, Yellowhammer sprung to mind, then I realised that it's bill was barely noticeable and it was clearly a male Serin. It continued to fly past me at c.20 yards range and as it flew away I could see its plain yellow rump. It landed on the side of the scramble track but I wasn't able to get after it. Serins have been surprisingly rare here recently and this is only the second Guernsey Serin since 2004, so I was well-chuffed as they say!

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After this we drove back via the TV mast field where there were 5 Ring Ouzels feeding on the grass, which made up for the probable I'd had earlier in the week at Fort Hommet.

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The mystery wagtail was not to be seen at the Shingle Bank. I have not been able to find any photos on the internet of a similar-looking bird, so it is very interesting indeed. I drew some sketches from my photos:

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moths : Also pleasing this morning was getting a new species of macro moth for the garden on only the second night of trapping this year - a Tawny Pinion - which according to the database is only the 6th record for Guernsey. I have seen the species before when I found one in the Herm public toilets (!). The main other thing of interest was an unusually marked Early Grey - very cream-coloured and black, very unlike the greyish colour of most of them.

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Tawny Pinion

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cream-coloured Early Grey

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Pine Beauty

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V-Pug

Categories: 2010 Spring