Thu 30th April 2015

Posted on April 30, 2015 at 4:55 PM

Whilst I was away in the UK, I missed quite a few decent days of passage of migrants, but I managed to be here for the back end of it. On 15th April at Pulias, there was a very showy Tree Pipit perched in the brambles first thing in the morning by the top car park, and it was happy just sat there. I reached into my bag to get some awesomeish photos and discovered that I had left the memory card in the computer and not returned it to the camera. What a wally! This also meant I could not take any photos of the splendid male Whinchat nearby later in the day. Both great birds to get on the patch year list already. A couple of days later I had a Common Sandpiper on the pond, my first of 2015.

Unfortunately, by the time I had my first proper local birding session of the month, the numbers and variety had died right down, and on 18th I had a very quiet slog around Pleinmont, with only common species noted across the headland. I consoled myself by popping in to see the Spoonbill that had been present at the Claire Mare for a couple of days. I get to see Spoonbills on Guernsey once or twice a year nowadays. The birds in Holland migrate to winter in western France I think, and so the Channel Islands are sort of on their way if they travel via coasts.


Spoonbill - Claire Mare, 18 Apr 15 - doing what Spoonbills like to do - sleep.

Just after returning home around lunchtime, I received a grapevine text alert that a Short-toed Lark had been found on Vazon beach. A little frustrating news since I had driven past this spot twice that morning and decided not to stop as there were some cars in the car park. As it was probably quite easy to find, I persuaded the family that I should meet them at the park after lunch rather than go with them, and I would have a quick look at the lark. No-one else was there so I had to find it myself and after strolling around a short while, realised it was just below the car park and showing very well. I only had a few minutes however, plus the wind was so strong I could barely keep upright, and my photos were poor. It was nice to see a decent rarity however. Even though there had been 3 or 4 in the last few years on the island, I still class this species as rare and a quality bird to see and find.

Short-toed Lark

Short-toed Lark

Short-toed Lark - Vazon, 18 Apr 15 - This bird was much more orangey than others I had seen, which are generally paler and buffer, not this richly-coloured. It was great to see it raising his crest often.

The final part of the month became chilly and windy, and was not helping migrants' arrival. On 22nd three Common Terns battled their way east offshore at Pulias and a Golden Plover rested on the beach. The next day at lunchtime, I enjoyed watching a couple of hundred hirundines over Rue des Bergers, mostly Sand Martins, and amongst them appeared a singleton of my favourite species, a fabulous Swift. At the weekend, on 26th, I had another bash around Pleinmont, but again there was just the very common migrant species noted, with nothing even uncommon or unexpected, apart from a Snipe flushed from a clifftop field. It may be just rosy-tinted memories, but I am sure that April walks round Pleinmont were always better - more variety, bigger numbers. So with April at the end, nothing rare found and no megas twitched, perhaps May will end this losing streak.

Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit - Vazon wall, 27 Apr 15

Brassica Shieldbug

Brassica Shieldbug - Fort Hommet, 27 Apr 15

Categories: 2015 Spring, Other Rarities